I have done two styles of sailing in more than 30 years on the water. Sailboat racing, where dacron sails typically last many many years, though they offer significantly reduced performance after a few races. And windsurfing, where sails will last for 5 or more years without any problems unless they get punctured. Sails were always generally considered, however, something you buy only occasionally to keep enjoying the sport.
I see lots of posts referring to '06 kites as being "well worn", "past their prime", "destroyed" and can't help but wonder why there is such a durability issue? Is there some technological leap, like mylar was for windsurfing sails, on the horizon that will make the kites last longer in the hands of a typical intermediate sailor? Is the technology of kiting making the '05 sails that much worse than what you can buy today (for example. comparing a C-kite today vs. a '05 C-kite)?
One of the things that people often point to as an advantage of kitesurfing over windsurfing is the lower cost of entry. But the longer term costs have to even out if you are replacing kites every two years instead of every 4 or 5. No?
1) self launching & landing will affect the LE on the struts side
2) leaving your kite unused on the hot & windy sand for hours will destroy the canopy and event. blow your LE and the sun will " eat " the dracon.
3) storing your kite wet & full of sand is also bad.
4) last but not least : type of sand , our Mediterranean sand is nice & fine but our Atlantic is more volcano type and and very sharp .
As per my experience a kite will last ( depends how you treat it and the construction quality ) around 150-200 sessions ( average 2 hrs sessions )
For us in South of Spain this means two years.
I kite approx. 100 sessions per year and split it on my 4 kites .... the 11 which is my mostly used kite will need to be replaced ( i hope so ) by the end of 2008 ( then it will have 2 years ) the rest of my kites should hold at least until mid next year ( 2009 ) and my 5m kite i expect to last several years more since i use it max 15-20 sessions per year .
The weight issue determines the fabrics used and the lighter the more prone to wear. I personally go through a kite about every 4 months at present but I kite everyday on the same 8m(and only an 8m). I usually put between 200-400 hours on each one not to mention time sitting on the beach in the blazing sun and self launching landing it. I try to minimize the time its sitting on the beach though. If I spread the use over multiple kites like in the past they last much longer. My last kite was only the second one I've used to the point I considered it not a value to be sold. I just feel theres a point at which the kite becomes worthless due to stretching, uv damage and/or repairs. I really hate to see kites resold when they're basically shit. I wish kites were more durable but the performance is reduced when they're built tougher. So its a tough balancing act and honestly where you live and the conditions you ride in play a huge part in the lifespan.
All my Peter Lynns lasted 3-4 years with weekend use. I buy them mostly because they don't wear out and can be really fixed with some sticky tape if needed. Can be doused in Nixwax if the waterproof coating wears out.
Think there is a lot of factors. Toasts thread... heavy use, high wind, lots and lots of sun, sand and salt.
Up here (Canada) we ride dual season and if your careful not to trash it on sharp ice and snow, they last a good long while. Thats not daily use, but I'm out 1-4 times a week and spread the use over a three kite quiver.
I've got a buddy who just retired an old naish arx (for the third or forth time) . Thats one of the first 4 liners. He repaired it mucho times but it still flies, pulls and crashes. Dont think he trusts it anymore. Others around still have an old 20m naish that still flies well and pulls like a truck. Slow as molasses but it pulls. Its got a ton of hours and abuse under its belt.
Round here we rarely get the luxury of using a beach so our kites don't sit in sun/wind for much of their lives. Their either up or in the bag. We also are spared the wear of sand and salt as we ride fresh water other than trips. If you don't damage em on the many kite hazards like fences, trees, rocks, the occasional piece of rusted farm equipment etc, they tend to last longer than their design.
At the moment kites evolve fast enough to lose value because they are obsolete before most of us have trashed em. Plenty of crisp cheap C kites, Links and turbo diesels out there.
Arcs are a great dual season choice around here if your willing to make a small performance sacrifice. They can last forever as the external skin takes virtually no strain. Great design, if they could turn like the tubes I'd still be on them.
I'm on my 3rd set of kites. The previous 2 sets (3 kites) lasted 3 seasons each. After 3 seasons (about 50-70 sessions total per year) they start to fall apart. I have friends that like to get new kites every year or 2 because the resale is higher and they take less of a hit when they buy new ones. So for a few hundred $$ every year, they can ride brand new stuff. Otherwise you get next to nothing for a 3 year old kite and pretty much have to pay fully out of pocket for the new ones. I have been trying to get my wife to agree to this approach and even though she is pretty thrifty, she is starting to think its a good idea because newer gear is safer and less prone to failing the 3 year old beat up stuff!