The essential guide to kite pumps
How to choose a good kite pump? What are the general care and maintenance steps you need to follow to extend it?
Riding a kite is a fundamental skill that every kiteboarder should master.
The whole process can take a few minutes and involves several pieces of equipment and gears. There is no room for error.
The faster you rig your kite, the more you will sail.
The best place for inflate your wing – and the most common – is on the beach or on the grass.
Ultimately, you’ll want your kite to be pumped sufficiently at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI).
Kite pumps are one of the most underrated kitesurfing items out there, but they are an essential tool in every kitesurfing backpack.
While it is true that pumping a kite is not the most enjoyable part of kitesurfing, it is also inevitable, so riders have to do it the right way.
Without this item, you cannot pump your kite, launch it, and go on a boat.
The anatomy of a kite pump
In the past, kite pumps weren’t as efficient and functional as they are today, but in less than a decade the whole design has been redesigned.
A modern single, double-acting kite pump system includes the following replaceable parts:
1. Pump chamber;
2. Pump shaft;
5. Pressure gauge;
8. Adapters and spare parts;
9. Seals and anti-sand filters;
10. Single to double stroke inflation switch;
There are several models and sizes of kite pumps. In volume, they range from two to six liters per stroke.
The most popular kite pumps feature rider-facing footrests, an ergonomic handle, a flexible and durable hose, and an easy-to-read pump gauge.
The taller models – in the three-liter range – are less comfortable for smaller riders, because when they pull the pump up, the handle can get too high.
Most kite pumps come with several accessories, including pump adapters, so they will work with any model or brand of kite.
Some kite pumps have a valve adjuster to make it a two or one way pump, and they will even work on inflatable paddle boards (SUPs).
The general design does not change much from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the quality of materials and plastics should be taken into account.
Dual kite pumps are less popular, but they create a lot of air and are really sturdy and comfortable to use.
What makes a good kite pump?
Modern kites are equipped with inflation / deflation valves connected to bladders and spacers.
After unpacking the kite, unrolling it and securing it, you connect the pump leash and fill the entire structure or skeleton with the correct air pressure.
And that’s when you can really assess the performance of the inflator.
A high-end kite pump should be efficient, deliver a large volume of air with each stroke, and be well sealed.
As a general rule, the wider the shaft, the more air is pumped with each stroke.
The best kite pumps inflate while pumping up and down and generate low friction between the shaft and the chamber tube.
Smart ergonomic shape and design are essential, along with an accurate and reliable pressure gauge.
A good, high quality kite pump will also automatically switch from dual inflation to single action inflation when the pressure increases, for example above six PSI.
Finally, it must also be constructed from strong materials to withstand the test of sand, wind and salt water.
The accessories – leash, hose, nozzle and adapters – should also be ready to be fully functional in strong wind conditions.
Kite pumping tips
Kite pumps can be sensitive, so you need to know how to use them properly.
The first thing you should know is that you should always use both hands and feet to operate it.
If you don’t have a pump leash, hold the clamp / 5th line or even the front tube while pumping with one of your hands centered.
In the end, you want to have enough pressure so that the kite keeps its shape and doesn’t bend.
Regular pumping strokes are recommended to avoid breaking the handle or plastic base.
Remember that pumping involves friction and therefore generates heat. If you notice that the components are getting hot, take a 30 second break.
Electric kite pumps and compressors can speed up inflation time, but they’re usually not a good idea and never really gained widespread fame.
The price for a standard quality kite pump ranges between $ 40 and $ 60, but an electric kite pump could very well run up to $ 600.
WMFG, Slingshot, Mystic, Cabrinha, F-One, North, Naish and Core are some of the best kite pump manufacturers.
Kite pump maintenance
Traditionally, kite pumps never last long due to several technical issues.
In most cases, the interaction between the sand grains and the friction dries up the lubricant around the shaft and the pump loses its initial efficiency.
In addition, the pipe begins to leak and the entire structure and joints are no longer airtight.
One thing is for sure: the less efficient the kite pump, the more exhausted you will feel after filling the bladder with air.
So keeping your kite pump clean and fully functional is paramount, and it requires regular maintenance.
Remember that a kite pump is always near – or in contact with – sand and salt water, so you will need to remove dirt, grease, unwanted residue and other corrosive elements from the weather. in time.
Depending on the generation of kite pumps you are using, you may want to unscrew its top cap and remove the entire pump for cleaning.
Once you’ve done that, rinse the chamber with fresh water and dry it with paper towels.
Then clean the pump shaft and O-rings with a dry cloth.
Finally, lubricate the inner chamber, pump shaft and o-rings with lithium grease, reinstall the pump and close the cap.
Check if the airflow is coming out from both directions and you are good to go.
One of the things you really need to watch out for is the hose. If you don’t take care of it, it won’t last long.
Never take the hose and wrap it around your kite. Make sure to fold it up every time you end your session.
Remember to store the kite pump in a clean bag or container after using it.