It’s August, the kite brands are starting to tempt us with oh so sweet new kit coming out for season 2016 and if you’re a regular kiter you know that means you can start to get your hands on some of the new gear even now! It also means the 2015 gear is largely being discounted so it’s also time to snatch up a bargain! As a result, the 2nd hand market becomes more buoyant too (online forums like ‘Kiteforum’ and ‘KiteBay’ see a healthy flood of new goodies for sale); it basically becomes a kit buying frenzy out there!
But, do we fall for the carrot and buy the new 2016 gear, or do we benefit from the discounts of the 2015 gear (or even buy 2nd hand)? I’ve struggled with the same conundrum so hopefully this low down might help you out!
New season 2016 gear
You’ll be buying the most technically advanced kites and the latest evolution to kiting. That means you should be getting better safety, better usability, better feel and better performance (definitely true when it comes to wave riding or racing)- who’s to argue with that?
However, kite development in the more established areas (freestyle/wakestyle and beginner/freeride) has already come on a long way and over the past few years some might argue that there’s not much fundamentally left to change; maybe the odd design tweak, type of bridles, valves, bar grips etc, but not anything major to affect the performance of the kite, so why keep shelling out for minor tweaks and a change of colour?
Even if you prefer last year’s colours, you’ll undoubtedly catch the eye of the other kiters down your local spot as you’ll be scoring top style points here – think of it as the new ferrari of the beach – and if you get the new kit 1st, then extra style points awarded by the flash gang!
Even though you may have shelled out, if you plan to sell the kit on within the year then providing they’re in good condition, you should get a decent amount back on the 2nd hand market. The other consideration with resell value is brand. Bigger brands generally hold their value better than smaller less known brands, but they can also be more expensive to start with.
However, buying the latest new kites of course comes with the biggest price tag. You may especially want to think twice if you’re new to kiting and will still be crashing them on the beach a lot.
New but current year (soon to be ‘last season’) gear
Fresh and crispy new giving you every faith in design and quality. You shouldn’t really be compromising on performance here and should be 100% confident with your purchase.
As soon as the newer gear starts to come in (or even be advertised) the brands will start to sell off the current season styles. Often you can bag at least 25% off the cost of new gear which will be a big saving. If you are looking for 2 new kites that could lighten your pockets by around £500 easily, compared to buying next season’s styles (enough for a flight somewhere warm and windy!).
However, just remember you may not get quite so much for them if you sell on again next year!
2nd hand gear
A great option if you are new to the sport and want to first make sure you are fully committed and able to progress before you shell out big time. I bought my 1st kites when I was only body dragging and at that stage I had no idea if I’d ever get to the stage I hoped to, or love it as much as I had hoped for that matter. Kite gear isn’t cheap and you may be crashing a lot, potentially causing a bit of damage – you’d be more upset if you tore an expensive new season kite rather than a cheaper 2nd hand kite (and a repair job will look more like you’ve got a well loved kite with character).
However, buying 2nd hand and making sure you have purchased a safe, quality item, especially if you’re new to the sport and don’t know what to look out for, can be more risky to get it right – see our guide on kite buying your 1st kite.
Be warned that a lot of local kiters may be wanting to sell off their gear to you (and will undoubtedly think theirs is the best to buy), but it might not suit your level – seek advice and shop around first. Back issues of popular kiting magazines will have reviews of most kites so some research here can help to give you an unbiased view on the target audience for older kites.
Occasionally manufacturers will phase out a specific design feature of a kite that you really liked. You may not be able to get the same favourite bar (for example) new so you’ll need to look to the 2nd hand market to replace your beloved quiver.
Also if you already have a couple of kites from a particular year and range, getting another size from that exact same model will probably compliment your quiver far better and be easier to move between sizes.
Equally some brands will vary the sized kites it offers and you may find your favourite 13m no longer exists in the new range. You never know, someone may have a mint replacement tucked in their garage somewhere that you can buy.
2nd hand gear will be the cheapest and will also have the biggest variety of kites on offer. However markets vary and depending on the country you would like to buy in, there may not be so much availability or movement on price.
It’s entirely a personal decision, and not an easy one to make. Once you’ve bought your 1st quiver you’ll find it a lot easier to know what to buy, your preferences, what type of kiter you are and how much use you’ll get from your kit.
If you’re looking for a bit more unbiased advice on kites, boards and harnesses, take a look at the guides we offer in the equipment section of our blog! For more detail on kite equipment and terminology, check out the chapter in our Beginner Collection of instructional videos, available via the Progression Player App.