Today most of Kitesurf Beginners purchase a 2nd hand Kite, the problem starts when they could not evaluate STATUS & PRICE of the Kite to purchase.
In this Tutorial, we will provide you with a guideline on how to evaluate first the status of the Kite and its price.
Before starting description and required check list of the Kite purchase we will provide an anatomy of a KITE and Jargons to be used in this tutorial.
1: Leading Edge.
2: Noseline / Front Lines
3: Dump Valves
6: Back Pigtail / back line
7: Front Pigtail/ front line
in Kitesurf, each Kite is composed of the above, kite include bladder inside so when you inflate it it takes the form above, some kite with bigger size has struts, they connect the leading edge and the canopy and they include bladders also.
Main important parts of the kite are the Canopy, the bladder, the valves, the front and the back lines.
Front line increase and decrease power and the back line control the kite direction. These lines are connected to the Kite Bar or the control bar.
For this tutorial we have used North Kiteboarding Kite Model Mono 2017.
Kite Model & Year
First evaluation is to check the model of the kite, original manufacturer and the construction year, for example you can find an old model (Launched since 05 years), but manufactured last year. So its status will be normally good.
Before purchase of the Kite, check the original owner / the seller, some owners take care of their Kite Gears (Cleaning them after each session, protect them from sun lights…), so to make evaluation check the owner behavior, does it take care of his gears or not.
To make this check, it’s easy to see if it takes care of his gears, just check the kite if there is presence of salt / sand behind the leading edge, and struts mainly this is the area which is not cleaned very well.
Check the colors of the Kite, all Kite Manufacturer, produce Kites with shining colors to make them visible, if the kite was used and not protected very well from sun lights these colors become colder and not so much shining.
Many checks could be done, and only professional knows strength and weakness of each 2nd hand Kite, in below list we will provide you with overview of this checks and how could be done, all of them are mainly visual inspections.
Presence of Patch
Once kite is used it could be damaged, all kites could be repaired using Patches and even the reparation status could be evaluated so you know if it was repaired by a professional or not, so you have to check if the canopy of the kite or any other surface there is a presence of Kite Repair Patch or not. Too much Patches means the Kite has been repaired several times so avoid it.
Usually Kite patch are provided with Kite during first purchase so you have to check if it is already included or not.
Kite Repair Patch Kit includes usually the followings:
- Fiberglass patch,
- 01 tube of super glue resistant to water and heat,
- 01 pair of stainless steel cutters or scissors
- 01 rolls of adhesive mask.
- 01 felt maker
- 01 marouflage card to better spread the glue on the surface and to catch air bubles
- Alcohol wipes to clean the surface before spreading the glue
- Tie Wraps mainly used to repair and fix valves.
Symmetry of the Kite
Kite when used with beginners they drop a lot of times and hits surface and water several times, they are always subject to shock, this shocks change the symmetry of the Kite. Due to this change of symmetry the Kite will not be very well operational, for example when this KITE is on Zenith so normally there is no lifting power you feel that the Kite is powered.
So to check the symmetry of the KITE, you have to inflate the Kite, put the Tip side on a flat surface and observe it (from the tip side) as per above picture, if both sides are in the same plan without any deviation so the Kite still have a good shape, if there is some deviation so the Kite is not good and there is no mean for its repair. So avoid to purchase it.
Kite Bladders are the inflated system that provides the shapes of the KITE, two types of bladders exist in this industry.
- Complete Bladders: on which both leading edge and struts have same bladders, advantage you can inflate only one time all the bladder, they are used with low surface Kites.
- Single bladders: Leading edge and struts has single bladders in this case you have to inflate each bladder alone.
If possible you can check the Bladder status, just remove it from leading edge and check if there is presence of patch or not. If the bladder was subject to sun lights for several times it will more flexible.
Inflation of the kite bladders requires a pump, connection between pump and the bladder is assured by valves, and each manufacturer has a kind of valve that is suitable for his kite. All kite bladders are connected within adhesive to the valves, due to inflate / deflate of each session, kite shocks and sun light this adhesive connection could be damaged and the Kite deflates while you are surfing.
So always check the kite valves status before your purchase and before each session, to check the status, just inflate your kite and drop a mixture of water soap in the valve, if there is a leak the zone will starts bubbling.
When inflating your kite you have to close your valve to avoid deflation of the Kite, manufacturers of kites make a system that air enters from one side and could not return and attach a fixing scratch system so the valve could not open while surfing. Always check the status of this scratch.
All Kitesurf Kites has 04 or 05 lines, 02 lines are the back line or directional lines used to control the kite flying direction and front lines used to power and depower the kite, connection between this lines and the rider are assured within the Kite Bar. So when purchasing a used Kitesurf Kite always checks the status of these lines.
These lines are sharp and strong so check them visually if there is any scratch or unusual forms.
- Check the length of each side (Left and Right), they shall be similar.
- Check the lines knots; all new kites have steering and flying lines different to avoid mix up when rigging.
- Check the color of the lines, left back line is red and right back line is blue.
Evaluate Number of Sessions
This is the hard part for evaluation of a used Kitesurf Gear, usually a kite is used between 20 to 30 session max per year which is fair enough but some riders used more than that so the kite deteriorate quickly and easily but how to evaluate how much session a Kitesurf gear was used.
- Check the rider and the owner if he is always Kitesurfing or not, check his Facebook profile, ask some common friends…
As described above before purchasing a 2nd hand Kite you have to check the followings:
- Kite Model & Year
- Symmetry of the Kite,
- Kite Lines
- Kite Valves
- Kite Bladders
Usually a 2nd hand Kite costs at least 20% less original price on the first year and 40% on the 2nd Year, so invest half of price for a Kite used since 02 years is good option.