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Let’s get the training out of the way. I would be taking some lessons. That being said. What’s the opinion on buying used gear, especially as a beginner. I understand that technology is rapidly improving safety and wind ranges and performance of the kites. However, would it be ill-advised for a beginner to purchase a few years old kite from an individual? Does your answer change if purchased from a dealer?

What is the expected service life of a kite assuming decent care and not thrashing with it?

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I'm a beginner

most kite companies have a model in the lineup that is aimed at beginners. It's okay to get something that is beginner-intermediate too. go to the websites and read the descriptions. generally speaking.., bigger kites are easier to fly (they fly slower) than small kites, so in the bigger sizes it's okay to go more intermediate than with smaller kites.

I wanted the latest in safety and release technology, so i bought used kites and bars that are current models - they were sold as used/leftovers.., but were basically new. i actually think none of my gear was ever used. some people will buy a quiver of kites/bars at the beginning of the season, but never get around to using one or two of them. 

I ended up getting Ozone Catalyst V1 kites - they seem to be pretty high quality, but the problem is that it is not a high-volume brand, so it's a bit harder to find good used gear than with, say, Cabrinha, which is huge in the USA. I think the safety features on the newest models of all the big brands are pretty good

as far as lifespan - i think it's a lot like sails, spinnakers in particular. look at and feel the material - how crispy is it? you can get a sense of how used it is. look for stitching that is coming undone, wear spots, patches, UV damage, and so on. it's harder to inspect the bladders but that is a common failure mode. They can be patched or replaced though. with the bars, the main issue is the lines - which can be replaced, but it's expensive to do so. 

i would take the lessons before buying anything

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