Kitesurfing is a pastime that combines flying a kite and surfing on waves into a unique and exhilarating sport. However, like any sport, the equipment is one of the most important parts. If the kitesurfing kites aren’t made of the proper material, they could get damaged in the action.
The best kitesurfing materials are nylon and polyester. Polyester is UV resistant and durable, meaning it can withstand both the sea and the sun when it’s in use. Nylon is resistant to moisture and the cheaper material of the two, so it will keep your kite in good shape for a good price.
The following article is a more in-depth description of the most common materials used to make kitesurfing kites. It also includes the advantages and disadvantages of each material and the best one for kitesurfing kites overall.
What Are Kitesurfing Kites Made Out Of?
Nylon and polyester are the most common materials that kitesurfing kites are made out of, but there are two variations of each material. These variations are:
- Ripstop nylon and regular nylon
- Ripstop polyester and regular polyester
The most common nylon that is used is ripstop nylon. While regular nylon is easier to puncture and rip, ripstop nylon does exactly as the name suggests. It has a grid of thicker threads that are sewn into multiple layers of regular nylon to make it increasingly harder to rip.
Polyester is somewhat like nylon and even includes a ripstop variety. Normal polyester is commonly used to make smaller kites since smaller kites don’t have as much pull and don’t need extra reinforcement to keep from tearing.
Ripstop polyester does the same job as ripstop nylon. It’s more commonly used for kitesurfing kites that are designed for children and families to use. This is because it’s more resistant to rips and can hold more weight. The main difference between ripstop nylon and ripstop polyester is that polyester is more resistant to the UV rays of the sun.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Nylon and Polyester?
Each of the materials has good things about them that make them good fabrics to make kitesurfing kites. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their fair share of disadvantages as well.
The Pros of Nylon
The main pros of the nylon fabrics include:
- It’s incredibly durable
- Resistant to moisture
- Cheaper than other materials
Kitesurfing kites experience multiple abrasions throughout any given day on the waves. The material must endure the slamming of harsh waves against them and the weight of an average athlete, all while still needing to be able to pick up air. Nylon, especially ripstop nylon, is built to withstand everything and anything that gets thrown at it.
Since kitesurfing takes place in the water for the most part, even in large freshwater lakes, the material the kitesurfing kite is made from must be able to withstand moisture. Nylon is probably the most moisture-resistant material on this list. Water bounces right off of it, so the kite isn’t held down by water weight, making it easier to stay afloat and in the air longer. Nylon is also good for kitesurfing kites because it’s so lightweight and easily floats on water and in the air.
Lastly, kitesurfing kites made out of nylon are also pretty cheap compared to the other materials on this list. A kite made out of regular nylon or ripstop nylon can cost anywhere from $25 to $40, depending on the size of the kite.
If you want a material that is strong and sturdy but still allows you to catch good air and stay on the water for a long time, nylon is the best material to choose.
The Cons of Nylon
The primary con of using nylon for kitesurfing kites is that it isn’t resistant to UV rays
Nylon, regular and ripstop, isn’t very resistant to the UV rays that are emitted from the sun. It can cause the shape of it to crack and become brittle, making it unsuitable to ride and much easier to break. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to avoid this. Simply keeping your nylon kite in a shady and cool spot when not in use will limit the amount of UV exposure it gets.
Aside from UV rays, nylon is the most durable and long-lasting kitesurfing material on the market.
The Pros of Polyester
The second material isn’t as popular as nylon, but it’s still fairly sturdy and can be the better option for your kitesurfing kite, depending on where you live.
The main pros of kitesurfing kites being made from polyester include:
- It’s UV resistant
- Stain-resistant and easy to clean
The first advantage of polyester is what separates it from the other materials. Polyester is the most resistant to UV rays, and won’t crack or become brittle over time. Both regular polyester and ripstop polyester are UV resistant and will last through the most brutal of sunny days.
Polyester is also resistant to any kind of stains, making it much easier to clean than nylon. It’s highly recommended for children and family kitesurfing kites since it can withstand any stain that’s thrown at it.
Lastly, polyester is also pretty cheap. Compared to nylon, it’s slightly more expensive, with kites ranging from 30$ to 60$ depending on the size of the kite. But for the durability and how long it will last you, it’s definitely worth the price.
The Cons of Polyester
The main con when it comes to using polyester for kitesurfing kites is that it’s not environmentally friendly
Polyester isn’t the most environmentally friendly of the materials. They aren’t the most biodegradable, so if you ever have to get rid of your kite, then you’d be contributing to already overflowing landfills. If you’d rather not leave a bigger carbon footprint than need be, then it’s recommended that you stay away from using polyester.
Other than that, polyester is a solid and long-lasting material that would make a great kitesurfing kite.
Best Kitesurfing Material Overall
When comparing the two materials, nylon is the better material out of the two. Polyester is still a pretty good material to use for kitesurfing kites. But the main things that make nylon better than polyester are:
- It’s less expensive
- It’s more durable
- The one con that it has can be easily fixed
Nylon and polyester are in the same price range, with only 5 or so dollars separating them. But considering that kitesurfing requires much more equipment than just the kite itself, the cost of each piece of equipment can rack up fast. Saving five dollars on the kitesurfing kite can mean putting that money towards other pieces of equipment that are high quality.
While both materials are pretty durable, nylon is much more durable than polyester. Since nylon is much stretchier than polyester, it is extremely durable so that it won’t tear or rip. You don’t have to worry about nylon breaking when you’re out on the water or up in the air.
Nylon does have the one con of being non resistant to UV rays, but as stated before, it can be easily fixed. Storing it in a cool and shady place and making sure it’s exposed to UV rays as little as possible when not in use will prevent the kite from cracking and breaking.
Kitesurfing kite materials are all different and have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Depending on how often you go kitesurfing and the type of weather that’s common in your area, both materials can word equally well for a kitesurfing kite.
Now that you know about kite materials, take a look at all the various kiteboarding transitions you should be out practicing and mastering!