- Make sure your kiteboarding pump is in working order and well greased before the season starts. There is nothing worse than having to pump up a kite with a pump that feels like it’s full of sand. Also check the hose and connection points for holes and leaks. If your pump hose is cracked or worn, go to Home Depot and pick up some 1” clear tubing, which will never break and allows you to see if you have sand in the hose.
- The control bar is one of the most neglected pieces of kiteboarding equipment. Most kiteboarders will never look at their bar until the chicken loop is about to break or has broken. The control bar should be checked every month to three months depending on usage. First, start with the chicken loop, look for wear and thin spots in the line, if you’re unsure about when to replace it, it’s probably time. Next go the leader lines, and inspect the connection at the bar, look for any frayed spectra and replace if unsure. Lastly, look over the center strap or center cleat that allows micro adjustments to the kite. Remember rinsing your bar in fresh water can extend the life of your bar and keep all parts in working order.
- Little lines that require big attention. Whether you’re riding four lines, five lines or an original two line kite (yes, they made two line kites), it is important you inspect your flying lines once every three months or after a major crash. One knot in a flying line can reduce the strength of that line by 50%. For those of you that haven’t started kiting yet, one line breaking while flying a power kite is like flying an airplane with one wing, not a good experience. If your lines do have knots or show signs of wear, be sure to replace both lines, this is due to the fact the flying lines stretch unevenly. Remember; when in doubt change them out!
- Almost every kiteboarder has had a foot strap blow out with no screwdriver in sight, ruining what could have been an epic session. Always check your foot strap screws and fin screws before going out, if you don’t want to bother, try applying a little blue lock tight to the screw threads when you first put your board together. Make sure you purchase the BLUE lock tight, any other lock tight and you will never be able to unscrew your foot straps or fins again.
- Those little colored loops at the wing tips are ticking time bombs just waiting to pop. Be sure you check them every three to four months and replace at the first sign of wear. Most kiteboarding manufacturers supply extra pigtails, however you can also make you own out of spectra line.
- Whether you wear a waist harness, seat or impact vest it is important you check the stitching
where the spreader bar attaches once every six months. In our experience harness only last about two seasons after which the harness begins to wear out.
- Why would a piece of metal fail? Because ten percent of kiteboarders are still using
aluminum windsurfing spreaders bars or have a swivel spreader bar that can fail unexpectedly. If you or
someone you know is using one of these it’s time for an intervention. Let them know how dangerous they are and help them replace it immediately.
- Imagine the fright when your kite starts to fold in half because its leading edge bladder just went flat. Always know what your bladders are doing and if you have a bladder problem fix them immediately.
- The holy grail of all the parts of a kiteboarding rig. There are many things that can go wrong with a
simple piece of rip stop. Be sure to check for any small tears in the canopy as well as any stitching that may be unraveling. One small tear can turn into one long rip. Always tape both sides for small tears less than two inches and have the kite repaired professionally if the tear is on the leading edge or cannot be repaired with tape.
- Make sure your ready for the conditions at hand. Many beginners as well as advanced riders are very anxious to hit the water but sometimes forget to do basic safety checks before they ride. Always make sure you run though the four preflight safety checks before riding and before launching someone else. Remember; when in doubt don’t go out.
We decided to write a “how to article” after watching so many people trying to stuff sand covered, half inflated kites into tiny kite bags. After several frustrating minutes, the kite is unceremoniously stuffed back into the bag ending up looking like a big overstuffed rip-stop burrito.
The key is to get all the air out of the kite and fold it up tight.
- Begin by deflating your leading edge, next deflate the struts. If your struts have deflation stems be sure to
remove them before folding.
- Take care not to allow sand inside the bladder valves.
- Start at one wing tip, holding the batten.
- Create a flat fold about a foot long making sure the batten is at the front of the leading edge.
- If you don’t keep the batten even with the leading edge – it won’t fit in the bag when you make the final fold.
- DO NOT ROLL… Rolling your kite can cause the leading edge bladder inside to twist and eventually
explode. Fold it into flat panels. You’re folding a kite not making a Cuban cigar.
- Fold one side of the kite toward the center valves. Go slow and get all the air out.
- Now move to the other wingtip and repeat the process until both sides meet.
- Finish by folding the kite on top of itself then folding in half at the center.
If you did everything right the kite should slide into the kite bag. You’re done. Remember, stowing your kite properly will extend the life of your kite and lead to fewer inflation issues. Now get out there and kite!
Spring is a great time of year to learn how to kiteboard. Great wind and warm waters make the Spring season a blast! Book your next kiteboarding vacation in Sunny South Florida and learn to kite with the pros. Call 954-874-8272 book your holiday kiteboarding trip today!