Kitesurfing in the UK is not quite bikini or shorts weather. Even on the hottest of summer days you will need a wetsuit.
How does a wetsuit keep you warm? It works by firstly insulating the body from the air, water and wind chill. The neoprene
prevents heat loss from the body and allows a layer of water to lie between the body and the suit. The water next to the
skin is warmed and acts as a further insulator.
A winter suit, known as a steamer or “5/3”, tries to prevent water getting into the suit with tight seals, waterproof zips,
seams and thicker neoprene. The 5/3 means that the neoprene is 5mm thick over the chest and back area and 3mm thick where
you need more flexibility and movement like in the arms and legs. A summer suit usually has 3mm and 2mm thicknesses. If
it stops at the knees, it is called a ‘shortie’.
The quality of wetsuits varies enormously and you get what you pay for. The warmer you want to be, the more money you spend
so consider what times of the year you will be kitesurfing to begin with and buy one suit.
Summer suits (3/2) range from £50 - £170 depending on make and quality.
Winter suits (5/3) range from £100 - £250 depending on make and quality.
‘Boardies or trousers worn over your wetsuit.’ - A fashion garment!!!
Although they are probably not going to save your life they are the one thing that will mark you as a kitesurfer rather
then a windsurfer on the beach. When using a seat harness they will protect your wetsuit from wear and tear. Plus they
Some kiters have never worn wetsuit boots, others never kite without. It is personal preference although most clubs and
schools will insist you wear them to protect your feet. If you are sailing in the depths of winter, you will need them!
Kitesurfing can be dangerous if you do not keep your wits about you at all times. It is not hard to make a mistake. Also
with dramatically varying weather conditions that we often are subjected to in the UK you can never be 100% sure what
is going to happen. We strongly recommend that you invest in a helmet or quality head protector and wear it at all
times while kite surfing. It could save your life!
Buoyancy Aid/ Impact vest
Crash protection! Although not essential, these serve several purposes. The main thing they do is reduce the impact of
the water on your body when wiping out! They also provide extra buoyancy which can only be a good thing when learning
or if you hurt yourself. They also help to keep you warm. Impact vests are more suited to seat harnesses than waist
harnesses, but some are available that can be worn with both. Some companies make a waist harness combined with an
Choosing the right harness is essential. Below are a few points to help you pick the right one for you.
- Restrictive when you start to learn advance moves.
- Hell wedgie (sometimes).
+ Better for holding down power.
+ Stays down in the correct position.
+ Can be worn with a buoyancy aid /Impact jacket
- Can ride up, so uncomfortable for beginners.
- Can be particularly awkward for girls.
- Strong Stomach muscles required
+ Less restrictive so better for more advanced moves
+ Easier to put on
+ Absorbs some impact after a wipeout
A seat harness is generally recommended for beginners.
Harnesses range from £40 - £120 depending on the brand and style