Let’s be honest; most often it’s not the kite that is limiting you – it’s you. Although still a very young sport, the wild west days of kitesurfing are gone and kites that are produced today are all good performers. Some of them perform better than others, no doubt, and there is definitely difference in material and build quality but you get my point right? If you suck – don’t blame your kite, go out and practise more or live with it.
With that in mind the price tag becomes one of the most important factors when going kite shopping. I find it hard to justify the high kite prices that is the norm, when brands like Switch have proven that you can get quality and performance for half the price. This was the main reason I bought my first Switch kite 2 years ago and that was the best decision ever made if you ask my wallet. I thought it would be interesting to have a look at other small kitesurf brands to see where they stand price wise. You might think that a higher price means better quality but don’t take that for a given, and the reasons I’m saying that are because I know how whitelabeling and branding work, and I can vouch for the quality of Switch products, despite their low price tags. The way the small brands keep their prices down is almost always a direct-to-market business model, cutting out the middleman, and I think we will start to see more and more of this trend.
So after a quick search online, here is the list of how much “small and cheap kitesurf brands” charge for their all-round model in size 9.
For some mid-range brands check out Star kites, Zeeko, Epic, Blade, CrazyFly and Boardridingmaui. Most other brands end up around £850 to £950 for their 9m kites, regardless if you buy them from the brand’s website like Core and Mutiny, or from a retailer. Having said that, one can get great deals on new, unused kites that are 1 or 2 years old (Have a look at Kitesurfwarehouse: Blade Trigger 9m – 2014: £759, 2013: £469). It’ll be harder to sell if you want to upgrade but personally I rather squeeze all performance out of a kite for 3 – 4 years and then upgrade rather than having to put stuff on ebay every year. Although improvements are made from year to year I can assure you that a Bandit 5 won’t suck only because there’s a Bandit 7 available, just as an example. A good quality kite that is looked after is an investment that will last for years so don’t cut corners to save a few quid. But doing your research, comparing kites and prices could save you enough to throw in one more kite or even a kite trip and that is worth more than brand loyalty.