My recommendation would be to go for the trainer kite as this is the fastest, safest and most economic way of entering into the sport of kiteboarding..... and then take lessons (or combine the trainer with lessons). You mentioned a few models in the 2/3m range and they should be perfectly fine to introduce you safely to the sport. Spend as much time as you possibly can flying the kite... Should you decide to sell it... I am sure you could get at least 50% back.
At your level, I would rule out buying a SLE of any size regardless of the price. For most persons this is just a disaster waiting to happen. You may hurt yourself, someone else, destroy your kite or risk the beach access for other kiters (not a good way to make friends). After you have taken lessons and are not a danger to yourself and other beach users , hopefully your instructor will be able to give advice as to what kite/size kite will work best for you now that you can properly and safely control a 4/5 line kite.
We use the Liquid Force trainer kite at our school and its taken a BASHING and still going strong! Its 2 metre square and ideal for getting to grips with the movement of the kite as well as learning about the wind windows and tendencies. Once you´ve flown it for a while and feel good with it, go get some lessons!
I'm new here and this is exactly the thread I'd hoped to find. There are mixed recommendations, but everyone seems to have solid reasoning behind what they say.
I've got a buddy who just bought a trainer, so I'll get together with him for a few sessons of flying before spending money (besides beer!). Then I'll either be ready to get a small 4/5 line kite or at least know I should stick with the trainer a while longer.
I've been thinking that if a real kite seems scary in the beginning to be harnessed to, I may clip it onto a boat and let it pull me around the lake till I feel ready for a board.
Would it not be better to just get a used 5M SLE kite with standard bar? There are some on ikitesurf for sale (assuming they are still available).
It seems like it would be best to get something that is as close as possible to "the real thing". It could also be taken out to body drag in the water and could be used to drag a kayak or tube.
I like the idea of the HQ Hydra that The Captain suggested as well. If I had to do it over again, I would not purchase a 2-line 2m trainer kite, but I think one of these kites would be good and could be used for other purposes.
I agree. If I had to do it all over again I'd buy a small c-kite or SLE kite. It would save time and be just as safe if not safer. I've seen a couple beginners get thrown by 'trainer' kites. I learned with a good quality 3.6m trainer kite and was not disappointed but I think my progress would have been a lot faster with a small sle or c-kite. You'd be training with the same style kite you would eventually use in the water. You'd be familiar with re-launching, the safety etc. Most foil type trainers for 300 bucks don't have the same safety and depower and relaunch differently than your typical water kite.
You can still use that small kite on the snow in stronger winds. But the trainer you'll never use again once you move to the big kite.