About the last thing you should do it either buy a bunch of kites on a deal*, or some unusual kite that nobody else (locally) is flying. This is a sport for Class A individualists, but starting out - you're 100% better following the crowd for your first season...even if you can afford to buy a whole company.
This post is prompted by a session yesterday where I at 85kilos on a Takoon Skoop 2 - 14.5....could not stay with a friend of 100kilos on a Naish Aero 14. Talent is always called into question, but we're reasonably close on an ability scale. He also has a Naish X4 of the same size that stays in the bag. Kites ARE different.
I've heard it described as Euro kites and US kites. It seems better defined as upper wind kites and lower wind kites. It may be, with some exceptions, that US designed kites are better in steadier winds, whereas the gusty conditions often described in Europe require a different kite.
...and don't get a teeny kite because you think it will be easier/safer to learn on. There was an adult out yesterday with a 7M and he wasn't going anywhere and not learning much either.
Watch, and ask, what kites are flown locally. Buy a mid-range kite for your weight. A smart shopper buys a kite from a local who's looking to trade up. He not only gets a good kite for his area, but makes a friend he can squeeze for tips.
*those multi-kite deals often force you to buy either a too small a kite for your area (30kt winds are a deadly for a newbie)...or a too large a kite for your area. By ONE good one first - then wait 'till you get a good idea of the direction you're headed.
Good points wetstuff.
People often forget what a diffent ones additional weight or the design of a kite can make. It is especially easy for a nooby to become confuse and just buy the first kite with the number on it a friend has, rather than doing the research. Bigger board and mid sized kite in a combo appropriate to a persons weight and wind conditions is the ticket. Later, the monster kite and small board thing can be explored.
Have fun and be safe. Traig
.....and if I lived in SoCal - I'd build an extra room on Traig's house so I could live close to him and inhale some of this ex-lifeguard's love-of-life. You folks in the L.A. area who have established homes can still tap his vibe by taking lessons from him.
I've revised my current thinking to include: Branch Out. Once you get the basic back 'n forth... try shit: buy a Log, find some waves, teach a friend, make something...