Take care of your kiteboarding gear and you will prolong its life span
If you have spent a thousand bucks on a new kite then you probably want it to last longer than a few sessions. Here are some tips that prolong the life span of your kite and that give you maximum value for the money.
Ironically a kite’s worse enemy is sand, sun and water. All three are quite hard to avoid. The sun is perhaps an exception here in Sweden since it tends to become cloudy when you’re having a session here. Anyway, here are some tips that your kite will appreciate 🙂
Avoid the sun. Sometimes easier said than done, but there is no reason to leave your kite on the beach for hours only because you’re too lazy to pack it down for the moment. UV light bleaches and breaks down the material in the kite just like most other, by human, produced materials. As the kite isn’t in the air, then it belongs in the shadow, preferably packed down in its bag.
The wind also wears out the kite. As the kite is in the air and stretched out by the wind then it barely wears. What is much worse is when you leave a kite on the beach where it can flap more or less constantly along the trailing edge. Have you ever seen a flag in the wind that is completely ragged at its end? Exactly the same thing happens to your kite even though it takes some time before you’ll notice it visually. So once again, pack down your kite if you don’t intend to use it in a long as well as short time.
Sand – with no doubt your kite’s number one enemy! I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people pack down sandy kites for reasons I do not grasp. Lazyness or stupidity is my qualified guess. Sand works as sandpaper and will effectively wear out both seams and the canopy. If possible land the kite on grass to easily avoid the problem with sand. Else it’s not hard to brush off most of the sand from your kite.
Water is another villain that can make you kite moldy yet discolor it. Sometimes rain, wet grass and other circumstances leave you with no option but to pack a soaked kite. No harm as long as you unpack it and dry it once you’re home, or if you know that you will use your kite again within a few days. However, to pack down a wet kite and leave it in its bag for weeks is not too smart. The moisture will part from making your kite filthy and smelly break down the material. Even if the kite feels dry as you pack it down in the bag, there might still be moisture in the seams which in the long run will weaken the seams if you’re unlucky. To crash your kite in water during a session is a part of the game, but perhaps do you not have to practise on that trick that you always fail right before you’re about to end your session. You’ll effectively air dry your kite by endin each session with just cruising along for about 15-20 minutes.
Heat is another kite destroyer. To leave a kite in a boiling hot car in the middle of the summer can cause the glue between the vents and the bladder to melt which in turn can create small holes. Next time you pump your kite then you notice that your kite in some mysterious way have been hit by a slow deflating that can be very hard to locate. The problem is easy to avoid and does hopefully not need any further explanation.
As you rig your kite, then make sure that the bridles, pigtails and pulleys are free from sand. Small grains of sand that have penetrated into the highly loaded anchor points where the kite lines meet the bridle lines wears down fabrics like hell. Sand stuck in the pulleys is also not a hit. The sand wears down both lines and pulleys and it’s never fun when one of these snap in the middle of a session.
Leave the deflate and inflate valves open as you pack down your kite so that you don’t unnecessary stretch themout which can lead to air leakage.
Some words about the control bar
The control bar itself is just as important as the kite. It’s not fun in an emergency situation to suddenly notice that the Quick Release (QR) is jammed or that the lines don’t hold for the load. Always rinse the control bar in freshwater so that metal parts don’t rust and so that sand doesn’t wear down the lines. Spray some C-56 or put some grease on moving parts in the QR to keep them it good condition. Regarding the lines, always wind them up as perfect as possible. If you’re careless then you’re more likely to have tangled lines the next time you’re about to unwind them. Tangle + curses = jerks and pull = wear. As you’re rinsing the control bar then take the opportunity to rinse your harness too since its locking mechanism easily becomes sluggish from sand and water.
There’s a debate wether you should rinse your kite after a session. Some argue that the salt from the water leaves small salt crystals that wears down the fabrics, something I can agree with. At the same time salt has a preserving effect that prevents the formation of mold and bacterias in the kite. However, the water in Sweden is not salty, at the most brackish, so there’s not really any reason to rinse your kite with freshwater in our country. One can say that lazyness and comfort in this matter easily overcomes the pain of once your home to packing up, rinsing, drying and packing down your kite again.
No matter how pedantic you are, the lines will normally wear down by time. Lines that are slighly worn out and a little bit ragged is usually nothing to worry about, at least if you’re not pushing it too hard as you’re surfing. Nevertheless, if the lines becomes too worn out (and especially if you belong to the group of people that likes to kitesurf when the wind is howling) then it can be vice to change your lines to new fresh lines before an accident happens. Surfspot has a great range of both lines and control bars ett stort utbud av både to good prices.
Did you know that a single knot on a line reduce its durability? Exactly how much I cannot tell, but 30-50% is my estimation according to different sources though it for sure has to do with the type of knot and fabric in the line. No matter what, you don’t want to have a knot on any line. To untie a rock hard little knot might seem like an impossible project, but there is a trick! Put the lines over a cutting board or some other solid underlay. Grab a hammer and start working the knot with gentle hammer blows and you’ll see how the knot suddenly comes lose. If the knot is a real bastard then pour a drop of cooking oil and it will come lose easier. Use a forks, nails, awls or similar tools with care since we don’t want damage the line as we untie it.