The national authorities will purchase gear at distributor rates. Some countries will then provide that gear free-of-charge to their top sailors, and some will pass the cost down to their top sailors.
But not everyone will be on the 'national team' - especially at the beginning when the enthusiasm starts to build and people want to give racing a try. Where do those guys go to for affordable gear?
I would assume just like in any other sport that has its disapline in the games it would then be to there local shop and second hand shops, it is no different then being a ski racer, or BMX rider.
Currently kiting is the least expensive option for any salior, It is just a cold hard fact that you have to pay for it. I have a full quiver of 2012 dynos, as well as left over 2011 gear, plus a 2012 North LTD 69, and some other boards. I am a broke ass unemployeed stay at home dad......but I raced snowkites with my own money, I did o-kay and got some support from sponsors but it still cost money, for me to go places to compete.
Gear is usally the least important item to fund, Travel and on the road expenses per year are the money pit, You can sell gear and get some money back and have a couple thousand dollars of gear cost, per season but tens of thousands of travel expenses... And that is just traveling at the national level, once you travel world wide the price grows.
I am going to vent a little here, And as a past snowboard racer at the world level I have some personal complaints.... but just like anysport the athletes that make it to the games have the best combonation of the skills needed to compete, they may not be thae fastest or the best, but they have the complete package of funding, and experence to reach their goal. This happens in many sports, sure there are sports where a kid on the street can prove their worth then gett the funding to progress, but not often in indavidual sports, like skiing, sailing, golfing,etc.. It is often the Kids with the funding to sail everyday, ski everyday, and then travel to contest to build points and experence that progress, not often the best sailor or skiier.
Bummer that Money can buy a career but in the same aspect, with out it you can not truley be cometitive and any sport as a entrance level to expert athlete with out funding. And being a pro at anysport with out funding it is immposable to do well...
Again just my experence. I see no difference in kite racing the kids that have funding to go to all the contest and have the best gear they can get do the best over time.