best starter kite

New to Kiteboarding? Here are the Top 7 Features to Know When Buying Your First Kiteboarding Kite.

Here is how to choose the best beginning kite.

You’ve taken your introductory kiteboarding lessons, you’ve learned the basics of the sport, the adrenaline buzz of kiteboarding is in your veins, and now you’re ready to buy your own gear, including your first kite. Yes! To quote Willem Dafoe’s character Sergeant Elias from Platoon: “Well, then the worm has definitely turned for you …”.

How do you choose the BEST BEGINNING KITE? A kite is going to be the most expensive piece of equipment in your kiteboarding arsenal, and the shopping experience—with all the jargon and design-speak—can definitely be a bit overwhelming for someone just entering the sport. Buy the wrong kite and you could be inadvertently making the learning curve that much steeper for yourself. So, before you drop hard-earned cash on your first kite, make sure you understand the essential features you should be looking for in a kite that’ll not only get you started but also progress with you.


Kites can be divided into three basic categories: Bow, C-Shaped, and Hybrid. All of them have their benefits and ideal uses, but, as a beginner, you’ll want a Hybrid—this shape is a versatile, all-around style, both manageable and predictable for learning and progression. The Hybrid shape provides the ideal balance between friendly and responsive handling with smooth, steady power.


When you’re learning, you want a kite that stays in position and doesn’t react at the slightest touch of the control bar. A smooth, slow-turning kite is best as it’ll absorb most mistakes you make with control-bar input and lets you feel where the kite is at or where it’s going. Also, look for a kite with at least three struts—this will help provide stability in gusts and rough conditions, which are tricky to manage while you’re progressing your skills.

Broad Wind range

You’ll want to select a kite with a wind range of at least 10 to 15 knots. This broad range will allow you to control the kite safely and confidently even if the wind is gusty, picks up or drops off.

Quick De-power:

Having a kite that quickly de-powers is essential when you’re learning and progressing as it allows you to confidently regulate the kite’s power and not get overwhelmed if you make a mistake. As a beginner, your ideal kite will definitely be a bow or hybrid shape as they provide the best de-power—when you sheet out the control bar, a bow- or hybrid-shaped kite responds immediately and drifts safely to the edge of the window, parked there until you’re ready to sheet in and power it back up.

Ease of Water Re-launch

Fact: As you proceed along the path of learning and progressing as a kiteboarder, you’re going to be crashing the kite in the water quite often. Knowing that, it’s then crucial to have a kite that pivots to a wing tip and dependably water re-launches. You want a kite that will get back up in the air ASAP, so look for a hybrid kite with swept wing tips—this shape provides the quickest and easiest re-launch.


Another fact: Kiteboarding progression is tough on a kite—you’ll absolutely want a kite that is built with quality materials and strategic reinforcements. Here at Slingshot, we take pride in our reputation for building the most durable kites on the market. Just a few details that go into all of our kites include: Kevlar scuff patches, reinforced Dacron trailing edge material, reinforced leading edge seams, and our 4×4 Canopy Tech—reinforced ripstop material that is the strongest, stiffest and most durable canopy material on the market.


Yes, this final point is about the control bar and not the kite, but most people will buy the same brand control bar and lines as their kite, so it’s worth mentioning here the importance of a control bar’s safety system. You’re going to want a safety system that is extremely quick, easy, reliable and intuitive to operate—both to trigger and to re-set. While other brands have added a confusing array of gimmicks and gizmos to their control bars, we have designed our Compstick Control Bar to have the best and cleanest interface—in an emergency, a quick one-handed push on the safety release will immediately flag out your kite on a single line, completely depowering it. Safety should be simple and we trust that our Compstick Control Bar delivers on that adage.

Decision Time

Which 2020 Slingshot kite is the best for you and your voyage toward becoming a dedicated, self-sufficient kiteboarder? Without question, it’s our all-new Rally GT—with its hybrid shape, overall stability, excellent wind range, rapid de-power, speedy water re-launch, bomber construction, and a reliable safety system it’s the perfect first kite. And as an all-around freeride kite, the Rally GT will progress with you as you round out your skills to boosting airs, slashing the surf, or light-wind foiling.


Get stoked! Once you make the Rally GT your first kite, your life is never going to be the same (and we mean that in that best possible way!). If you have any questions about choosing the best size Rally GT for you or need more information, no problem. We are here to help! Just contact our knowledgeable customer service crew and they’ll help dial you in on the Rally GT, as well as all-things Slingshot.


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How to Pack Your Kite.