Your kite is your engine. Research kite characteristics that will suit your style of riding and skill level and make your selection carefully. Don't buy a second hand kite that you know little or nothing about then attempt to use it. Some stores will push particular kite brands so it is worth shopping around to seek different opinion and kite options.
Some factors to consider when choosing a kite:
Read the manual that comes with your kite so you thoroughly understand its controls and characteristics.
UV light will damage and weaken kite fabric. Don't leave it on the beach in the sun for long periods when you are not using it.
Attach a small cord loop on your depower adjustment (if it is above the bar) so that you will know instantly which it is, and to make it easier to reach.
C-Kites were the first type of inflatable kites used for kitesurfing.
Bow kites first appeared in 2006 (such as the Cabrinha Crossbow) and offer very good depower
Delta kites have a delta (triangular) shape and have good power and depower characteristics
Hybrid kites combine characteristics of bow, delta and C-kites
Ben Wilson Noise and Slingshot Octane 2010 hybrid kites
Foil kites use the wind to form their shape. They do not have bladders for flotation.
Choosing the right kite size for the combination of wind conditions and your body weight is a critical for safe and enjoyable kitesurfing. Getting overpowered is no fun at all, and you might get hurt.
If in doubt, use a smaller kite rather than larger kite. For more details see Choosing the right kite size.
For details on kites suitable for use in light wind see Light wind kites.
Every year, the authors or their friends trial a number of kites to bring their equipment up to date and keep track of the latest trends in the industry. The reviews section contains reviews of the latest kites, boards and accessories.