When buying used equipment it is important to check specific aspects of that equipment in order to avoid disappointment. A kite or board that appears to be in good condition can sometimes hide some unsuspected wear or defects. As a golden rule, It is always better to buy from someone who is accountable (shop/dealer) as this will guarantee you always have someone to turn to if there is a problem…However if you are buying from an individual here are the main points you should check.
Trailing edge : The best indicator of wear on a kite is the trailing edge. This is the first area of the kite were the material will start breaking down. This happens naturally on all kites when it is left flapping in strong wind for a long time or if flown outside it’s wind range.
Bladders: Check for air leaks by inflating the kite for at least an hour. Some brands are notorious for defective valves and if one is leaking it will not be long before they all do. An expensive repair ! Also look out for loose valve caps and degradation of the one pump connectors between leading edge and struts.
Leading edge : Any cuts or holes on the leading edge must be repaired immediately by a trained professional (no glued patches). With the kite inflated special attention should be given to the area in contact with the beach when it is parked and also near the wing tips were the kite can scuff the ground on launches and landings.
Canopy : Repairs made by a sailmaker or small pin holes in the canopy will not affect the flight characteristics of a kite. Be aware though of any repairs made using glue and patches as they greatly devalue the price of a kite and make it more difficult to repair properly in the future.
Bridal lines : Take a close look at the area were the pulleys rolls on the bridal lines. Any wear in the lines must be immediately replaced.
Bar and lines: They are usually a good indication of the use and care taken by the previous owner. Look out for knots and wear in the flying lines especially in the area 3 meters above the bar as this were the lines cross during kite loops and back flips. Any rust or corrosion on the bar and quick release system must be avoided like hell. Check for general wear of the de-power line and leash attachment line.
Twin tips : They are usually tough and not much can go wrong even on older models. Look out for dings along the rails as these can sometimes lift the bottom/top skin and cause water infiltrations which will lead to delamination. On very old boards make sure the foot strap and fin screws are not ceased or over turning.
Surf boards: Check for cracks on the rails and around the fin boxes (can be fixed). With see through boards, any change of color under the skin (brown or yellow) usually indicates water infiltration or delamination, not good… Heel dents on the deck are an indication of heavy use but don’t affect the boards integrity.