Kiteboarding is an exhilarating sport that is growing in popularity annually. If you’re considering whether to start a kiteboarding club for fellow enthusiasts or even buying or opening a kiteboarding school as a business venture, take note of the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started:
Let’s start with the basics. You’re going to need a selection of kites for rental so that riders with a range of abilities can practice. Experienced enthusiasts are more likely to have their own equipment, so focus on versatile inflatable models for beginners who want to try water-riding, such as bow or delta kites.
For land, snow, or light wind riding, foil kites are a more popular choice.
You’ll also need a selection of boards to cater to the different types of riders who want to loan or rent your equipment. Choose boards of different lengths: long ones are best for beginners, while shorter ones are for more experienced riders and strong winds.
Also, having a variety of shapes thicknesses, rockers, and flexes will enable you to select the ideal board for each type of rider.
If you’re going to loan out or rent equipment, it’s essential to have a supply of helmets. Beginners who don’t have full control of their kite are at risk of accidents and injuries. So, think of the potential damages that could be done, not just to the rider, but also to your reputation and your insurance costs. Wearing a helmet should be a requirement before using any of your equipment.
Choose a range of sizes so that riders can feel comfortable and unencumbered while protecting themselves.
4. Wetsuit Boots
Again, most experienced riders will already have invested in a pair of round or split-toed wetsuit boots. These aren’t only to help them remain stable on the board, but they also protect the feet from rocks and other underwater hazards.
Given that riders come with feet of all shapes and sizes, if you want to hire out complete sets of equipment, you’ll need to invest in a good range of boots.
5. Printed Marquee
When your club is setting up at different locations, you need to make your presence highly visible to create interest and attract people to come to you. Investing in a ‘base-camp’ that you can easily transport, such as a large 3x6m printed marquee, will allow you to promote your club or business to all passers-by. Encouraging people to find out more and try kitesurfing is, after all, what will allow your club to thrive and grow. Having your own design, logo, contacts, and branding messages displayed in bright, eye-popping colors on the roof and walls will promote a clear and professional identity.
If you’re concerned about safety on windy beaches, a large printed marquee, which weighs only around 54kgs, should be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 75km per hour. Beyond this, you can purchase additional leg weights, which will anchor it safely to the ground.
6. Storage Racks
Once you’ve decided to buy the ‘hardware,’ which is the gear you need to set up your club, it’s important to consider how and where you’re going to store it safely. Do you have a secure, lockable storage stage space? Does it have adequate shelving and racking to allow you to store the kit in such a way that it’s organized, easily accessible, and will protect it from being damaged accidentally?
How are you going to transport it from the storage facility to your different locations? If you have a truck, have you installed suitable racking inside to allow you to load and unload all your gear in an organized way? Throwing everything into the back of a van when you’re packing up is likely to result in damage. Not to mention that it’s also the quickest way to make your gear look old and worn before its time.
A good signage is really important in letting people know where you are. Attractive sandwich boards placed nearby can make your presence known and direct the public to you. If you have a marquee, consider adding brightly printed walls so that you’ll be visible from a distance. Walls can also be printed with highly visible safety notices or other messages, as well as high-resolution photo images, sponsors’ logos, price lists, or operating hours. Use them to create interest and promote your professional image.
8. Camera/Video Equipment
One of the most powerful ways to promote your club is via social media. To do that effectively, you’re going to need a regular supply of action shots of your riders. Close up whenever possible. If you’re going to use a camera, rather than your mobile, it makes good sense to buy a waterproof housing for it. This will allow you to get into the water with the riders and take exciting close-up shots without the risk of water damage. A wide-angle lens and a powerful zoom are also a great help.
Once the main elements are in place, there are a lot of small essentials that can make your club run more smoothly and professionally in the long run.
You may not have started your kiteboarding club because you love paperwork, but you will have to deal with some basics: membership details, disclaimers and waivers, receipts, and sign-out forms for the equipment. Get these prepared, store them in a portable file, and have copies available at all times. The more organized you are, the less hassle you’ll have.
First Aid Equipment
Go for a well-stocked first-aid kit and make sure that it’s checked before each event so that missing items can be replaced. In addition to the usual disinfectants and bandages, if you’re in extreme summer temperatures, add a few sachets of mineral salts to use in case someone displays symptoms of dehydration.
Of course, there’ll be more things to consider when you’re starting your kiteboarding club. As it’s probably the love of the sport that gave you the idea in the first place, just ensure you leave yourself enough time to practice and enjoy it!