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Kite 2012

Kitesurfing News Year 2012-2016!

Second hand kite? Think twice before you buy!

Posted by kite2012 On December - 12 - 2011

Thought about buying a second hand kite? If you like me are a poor student without a fat salery that drops down in the end every month, then buying a brand new kite might not even be an option.

I have bought several second hand kites throughout my kite career. I have usually been happy with my kites, but I bought some really crappy stuff a few times. If the person that sells the kite lives in another state or even country, then maybe you don’t feel for spending hours in a car + expensive gasoline to go and buy the kites when it´s easier to ask the seller to just send the kites by mail. The drawback with this is of course that you can’t check the kites and you have to rely on photos and words from the seller. In most cases this is fine. Kitesurfers are in general an honest race and will let you know in what condition the kites are if you don’t have the possibility to check the kites in forehand. However, there are always a few that withholds deficiencies with the kites they are selling. I am now going to tell you about my last buy, that could have cost me a visit at the hospital.

2010 Slingshot RPM 8m and 12m with two bars.
That’s whas the title of the ad. The two kites had apperantly been used abroad in some warm country during the winter in 2010 and were well used, but in good condition. The 8m kite was repaired in the canopy, but that was all. The seller also pointed out that they were holding the air. The price was ok too, $990 for them both with shipping included. Here are some images that I got from the seller.

slingshot rpm 8mslingshot rpm 10mslingshot rpm control bars








Looks pretty nice huh? But once I got them, the kites turned out to be salty and the metal pieces on the bars were rusty and sandy, the safety release was completely stuck on one of the bars. However, I could deal with that. Some fresh water for the kites and oil for the bars fixed made them look nicer.

So one day it was blowing about 25 knots and gusty like hell. I decided to try the 10m kite. I pumped it up and got out in the water. About 30 minutes later I notice how the kite is acting flapping and very hard to keep stable, it wants to go left even though I steer right. I go back onland, bring down the kite and notice how it is soft, apperantly it´s leaking somewhere. In almost all cases kites that are leaking air are leaking from the LE bladder, so I pumped it up again and closed the valves to the struts just to be able to exclude the struts from the air leakage investigation. 5-10 minutes later I give an OK-sign to my buddy to launch my kite. Now I did expect to launch the kite smooth and controlled in the edge of the wind window up to 12 o´clock. Instead it quickly turns to the left and rushes through the power zone. I barely had time to react before I was torn up several meters in the air. I remember that I stayed in the air long enough to have time to think “This can not end well … it is now I will break a bone”, but luckily I landed in shallow water and soft sand. For once I was launching the kite when I was standing in the water, otherwise I normally stand on land when I launch the kite. This is something to keep in mind, if you ever feel uncomfy with launching the kite or if you aren’t 100% whether the kite is correctly set up and in good condition, do not launch on land! If something goes wrong would you rather crash on land among stones, trees, building, people… than in water? Just don’t be stupid lazy and put yourself in to danger when you easily can prevent it. Ok, back to me. So, it turned out that one of the struts was leaking air and was almost completely drained with air when I launched the kite, which made the kite almost uncontrollable, imagine driving a car with a flat tire.

Once back home I took out the strut bladder and noticed that there was a big fucking hole, which was poorly repaired. Was a little bit pissed of of course, but didn’t bother to contact the seller, I fixed the hole and waited for another windy day.

So came another day, when it was blowing even more, around 25-30 knots and 4 degrees celsius in the air and maybe 6-7 degrees in the water. Not the most perfect conditions, but I just had to kitesurf this day and knew from before that the 8m kite at least was holding the air, time to try it! Once on the spot, the kite was pumped up, the lines where lined up and all I had to do was to attach the lines to the kite. While doing this I notice that the right wing tip had a blue short line attached to the attachment point. I did suspect that the red line was missing on the left wing tip, but I wanted to kite so badly that I decided to believe that the blue short line simply was there for no reason, so I removed it, to make the steering lines in equal length…

wingtip_leftIt was time to launch. Do you think I went out in the water? Hell no, I stood on land and made thumb up to the guy holding the kite… Have you ever launched a kite in strong wind with the bar sheeted in to the max? Even if you havn’t you can probably guess what happens. The blue line should of course not be removed and doing so results in way to short steering lines, just like you have full power and a bit more when the bar is sheeted out to the max.

So what happened? I launched the kite, but instead of going to the edge of the wind window above my head it stayed in the power zone, about 60 degrees from the ground. The kite immediately started to pull me forward, I took a few steps and then got airborn. I released the bar, but this didn’t depower the kite, now I only had full power in the kite. I landed with my feet in the ground and slided on my feet about 15 meters before I came to a stop only a meter from a fence. The ground was a muddy mess from an earlier storm and heavy rains so I got covered in mudd, it sprayed up in my face and in my eyes as I slided through the mudd.

Miraculously, neither me or the kite got hurt. I did learn another lesson and hopefully will I be more careful in the future. I´ve seen many accidents that occur on land. You learn from them, but they are sometimes painful.

With this said I hope that you as reader, especially if you are a beginner, have learned something. If you buy second hand kites or other gear, check them carefully and don’t tempt fate if you´re somewhat doubtful with your gear, wind conditions or whatever. Kite safe and don’t hurt yourself due to stupidity.

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