Last updated 6-09-2024

Brand Loyalty?

The case to mix gear.

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Can I mix kiteboarding brands? 

One of the most common questions that often pops up is, "Can I mix kitesurfing brands?" The answer is a resounding yes! You can mix and match, but knowing the trade-offs and considerations is essential. It's generally recommended to match all of your kiteboarding equipment, such as your kites and bars. However, when it comes to boards and foot straps, the choice is yours to mix and match.

Kiteboarding designers have an end goal in mind and a vision for their product. Sometimes, matching your kiteboarding control bar with the brand's kite is best to ensure everything flies the way the designer tested and intended. For example, you don't want to use something other than a low Y bar on a high Y kite. But what about mixing up brands across your quiver of kites? Do you have to use the same brand for your light wind or big air kite? Should you match your kite harness with your board?

There is a case for mixing things up, though. Sometimes, the majority gets caught up in a trend and misses out on what is truly the best thanks to the tribe hype mentality. If you want to know the real story, ask your local shop about all the different kites they use and why.

The crew testing all the gear will know the actual ins and outs of all the other brands and models. In 2024, Shop loyalty and a commitment to your community will take you a lot further. New riders want to know the truth about gear, not the hype. You can always be the leader and get to know a few different brands. This blog won't tell you what is best, but it will share what to consider when mixing and matching gear and why brand loyalty should be the last consideration unless you're a sponsored rider.

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Table Of Content

  • Can I mix kiteboarding kites?
  • How to find the perfect kite.
  • Should I use the same kiteboard brand as my kite?
  • Can I mix kitesurfing footstraps?
  • Leveraging Local Knowledge.
  • Get an Expert Recomendation. 

Can I mix kiteboarding Kites?

You can mix up your kites across your quiver. For example, if you love one brand's big air kite but another brand has the best hydrofoil kite or the best light wind kite, there is no shame in using the best tool for the job. The only real con is that you might need adaptors to match up your kiteboarding control bar. Not all kites and bars are perfectly compatible, but they generally work.

Sometimes, a kite will fly differently than the designer intended if you use another brand's control bar. If you're using inline gear that is less than a couple of years old, chances are it will work fine.

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Hydrofoil Single Strut Kites: Kite Foiling became popular about a decade ago, and competition for the best single strut has been fierce. They all have their own flavor. Some have lots of low-end grunt, some drift better, and some can pin-wheel and do foil tricks better than others. Each has its own pros and cons. Talk with the shop or research to see what people are talking about. Think the legendary Airush Ultra, the Core Xlite 2 or the Niash Boxer.

Wave kites: Wave kites are excellent tools for getting into the waves. Some brands play it safe and have more of an all-around design, while others have highly specialized tools. Think the Airush Session or the Naish Triad.

Freestyle kites: Most brands have some style of freestyle kites, but few brands make true five-line C kites. These days, the discipline is practiced mainly by pro riders and a handful of people worldwide. The crossover 4-line freestyle kites are decent enough, but consider a 5-line if unhooked riding is all you're interested in.

When building a kite quiver, consider using different models from different brands. Go to kiteboarding demos and try the different gear when you can. Even if you're not looking for a new kite, it's good to know what is out there and what you might consider later.

Types of kiteboarding kite models.

All-Around Free Ride: These are the do-it-all kites in kiteboarding. They are usually three or five struts and designed to do everything well. Most brands have one, and they each have their own unique feel and benefits. Think kites like the Airush Lithium, the Core XR or the Naish Pivot.

You can find Freeride Kites here.

Big Air Kites: A popular style of kite that has been evolving for the past five years is the five-strut looping kite. Some have more loft, some loop with more power, and others might be more user-friendly. If you want to add a big air kite to your quiver, don't feel you must commit to one brand. Just because you love the freeride kite you're using doesn't mean another brand might not have a better kite. Think kites like the Airush Lift V3, The Core XR PRO or the North Orbit.

How to find the perfect kite.

General Recommendation: It's good to match kites and bars from the same brand for optimal performance, but be bold and try what else is out there. Many riders mix control bars. If you want to learn more, we have an entire blog article titled "Can I mix kiteboarding control bars?". With pigtail adaptors, you can mix any bar with any kite.

Do your due diligence: Visit the brand's website to read about the kite. You will be surprised by how much you can learn by reading the official information. Try to read between the lines. Look past the marketing hype and get a good idea of what the kite is aimed at. For example, most kites make good all-around kites, but all brands will have one kite made specifically as an all-around kite. If you want something specialty, see if they call it out as such. Is it a performance big air kite? How about a performance wave kite? Once you get educated, talk with someone at the shop who has used the gear. Ask them how they feel it compares to similar models. Have they used both?

Go to Demos: Get information when the shop is having demo days. Take advantage of demos and try different kites every chance you get. You only know what you like if you expand your horizons. Don't be the person who only rides what everyone else uses when you could be on a kite you absolutely love.

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Design Vision: Kitesurfing gear is designed and marketed for a specific riding style. See what aligns with your aim.

Control Bars and Kites: Ensure compatibility; using the wrong combination (e.g., low Y bar on a high Y kite) can cause issues.

Avoiding Hype: Consult local shops for unbiased advice on various brands. Be a leader and learn what you like so you can help others.

Local Knowledge: Experienced testers provide valuable insights. The shop has access to private demos, insider information, and years of insights. Utilize their knowledge to your advantage.

Practical Tips:
Adaptors: May be needed when mixing kites and bars from different brands.

Compatibility: Most modern gear (within a few years old) should work fine together.

Should I use the same kiteboard brand as my kite?

Like kites, every brand has a range of kiteboards with different design objectives. Each brand has a familiar feel, thanks to CAD templates and material choices, but the models can vary wildly.

We encourage you to try different boards to see what you really like. In 2024, all kiteboarders are quite good at their intended discipline. If you want a big air board, try a few different big air boards from other brands to see what resonates with you.

Some brands have better light wind boards, and others might have a freeride kiteboard that really pops. Keeping it brand-consistent is fine, but it would be a mistake not to try what else is out there.

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Can I mix kitesufing footstraps?

Footstraps, like harnesses, are an essential point of connection. Some brands have wildly different foot straps. You can mix straps with most boards as long as the inserts match. Be careful if you use straps made for off-center inserts on a kiteboard with inline inserts. You'll likely not have the full range of adjustments.

Beyond that, you can try on different kitesurfing foot straps to see what fits you the best and what stays on your feet when wearing booties. Everyone is shaped differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all foot strap.

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Brands offer a range of kiteboards with varying designs. Try comparable models across brands. For example, try two big air boards or freeride boards.

Experiment: Try different boards from various brands to find what suits you best. You never know who has a hidden gem board that lights you up. Designers put a lot of personal touch into kiteboard features and make a huge difference.

Big Air Boards, Light Wind & Freestyle: Each brand will have its own style, and it's worth experimenting with. A freeride board might suit you better than a big air board, or some other nitch board may feel perfect.

Leveraging Local Knowledge.

Choosing the right kitesurfing gear involves understanding your riding goals and options and testing them for yourself. Leveraging the shop's local expertise is imperative, as they have years of experience trying different gear.

 It's tempting to talk with random people on the beach or online, but chances are they are too hyped about their tribe to look objectively at gear. You can learn a lot from talking with everyone but try to see things for yourself with unbiased eyes. Always try kites when shops and brands put on demos so you can stay well-rounded and knowledgeable.

In 2024, we live in a time of abundance; all kites from major brands are great but have their own flavor. The only essential brand loyalty is your community and finding what works best for you.

Where can I buy a kiteboarding kite?

The expert team at Elite Watersports is here to serve. If you have any kiteboarding related questions call us. We can build custom kiteboarding packages, book kiteboarding lessons or simply offer helpful advice. We're your one stop shop for kiteboarding knowledge.
Swing by the shop and you can try on different kiteboarding harnesses and more. 

If you need help deciding on your first kiteboarding kite give Elite Watersports a call. We're happy to set you up with your first kiteboarding kite.



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Ryan "Rygo" Goloversic



Kiteboarding Quiver

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