How Kitesurfing Works

Kitesurfing Basics: Equipment

To kitesurf, you're going to need some basic equipment, including a board, kite, control bar and harness. Let's take a look at how to choose each piece of equipment.

Board: When selecting a kitesurfing board, you'll want to take into account your skill level, the wind speed at your kitesurfing destination and your body weight. If you're a beginner kitesurfer, you'll want a long and wide board. The bigger the board, the easier it will be for you to sharpen your kitesurfing skills. A large board will allow you to use a smaller and more manageable kite. It'll also stay afloat longer if you make a mistake or lose kite power. Additionally, bigger boards can stay afloat in lower winds and will help you to learn to go upwind more easily.


If you're a more advanced kitesurfer, you can use a smaller board, which will enable you to harness more kite power to jump and perform tricks. In general, boards for advanced kitesurfers feature concave bottoms and step tips, which will help you to ride with more power and perform tricks. Although kitesurfing boards for advanced riders look similar to wakeboards, they have different rocker systems and are flatter and ride the edge more than traditional wakeboards.

Kitesurfing boards feature bindings that will help you remain stable on the board. These sandal-like straps make it easy for you to attach and detach the binding, which will come in handy when you do off-board tricks.

Control Bar: The control bar is attached to the lines that lead to your kite. You hold onto the bar, and by pulling on its ends, you can steer the kite. Because they must be very strong so that you can control the power of the wind, control bars are usually heavier than water and thus have floats attached to them so that they don't sink.

Harness: The harness attaches to the control bar. The harness allows the surfer to do tricks and jumps while staying attached to the kite. While waist harnesses are most popular among advanced kite surfers, seat and vest harnesses give beginner kitesurfers more protection from impact and can serve as flotation devices. In addition to allowing you to do tricks, the harness also helps to redistribute the stress of the kite's force. Instead of concentrating all of the force of the kite on your arms, the harness helps spread out some of the pressure of the kite's force to the rest of your body.

On the next page, we'll take a look at how to choose a kite.