In a long run you are usually better off with your own equipment. I hold this true most of the time. In Vietnam, I bought a motorbike, instead of renting one, and also decided to buy a kitesurf gear. It is simply more economical, especially if you plan to take it back with you (impossible with a bike, yet doable with kite).
Second important thing is that I want my equipment to be as universal for the conditions as possible. For instance, bike has to do well both in the mountains, on gravel/muddy roads, as well as covering hundreds of kilometers on the paved roads.
Same applies for buying kitesurfing equipment. It has to be able to cope with various conditions. And as long as possible I will avoid buying 2 or even 3 kites. I can simply skip the most extreme (low or high wind) conditions, and that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to take.
My instructor recommended me the following setup given my priorities. With weight around 73 kilos:
the kite should be 9 meters, and board 138 centimeters.
It was the time to start the hunt.
Basically in Mui Ne you have 3 options:
- Friends and recommendations. Reliable but very limited sourcing.
- Going around the kite schools and asking for the equipment. They probably have what you look for, but as a rule of a thumb with resellers, their equipment will usually be in worse condition than bought from individuals, or the price will be higher. But if you are in a hurry, this might be a correct way of purchasing the second hand gear.
- Facebook page called Mui Ne buy&sell. It takes patience. It takes hours of browsing, contacting the sellers etc. On the other hand, you can get your equipment in good condition for a reasonable price.
I opted for the third option. I had an idea on how much I want to spend, yet I don’t know much about the equipment itself, how to check its condition, etc. Here comes again my friendly instructor that I took classes with, giving me tips to guide through the process.
I bought a board relatively quickly, within 2 days from the moment of taking the decision.
It was priced at 140 USD, yet I negotiated via messenger 100 USD. Upon coming it turned out that I was writing with vietnamese guy, and the owner was russian, so there was a bit of misunderstanding on the price line. I ended up paying 110 USD.
Time for kite. This part was more complicated. The general rule was that the guy comes to my kite school, instructor takes a look, then I take a test drive to see how the kite performs, and then I make a decision.
That was the ideal world scenario.
The real world scenario was that the first kite a guy brought lost a lot of pressure within 30 minutes of being pumped, giving it a major red flag. I came here to kitesurf, not spend time on repairing.
Next one a newer, and much more expensive North Rebel. The guy seemed like a hardcore seller, yet he got my trust. I decided to negotiate the price on the spot, since he was unwilling for any negotiations online.
He came before the scheduled time.
Another rule of thumb, I buy in first place FROM THE PEOPLE, and the equipment in second place. And Marcelo gained my trust from the beginning. He was the fan of the model since 2007, so he knew everything about it. After a brief demo, I knew I want it. Didn’t need an instructor to have a look, I was sold already.
I ended up paying the very exact price the guy wanted, not a single cent less. And I was happy to do so.
We went to another beach, and I was shown the full setup. Funny thing is that I knew how to body drag, go back and forth, forthewind and by the wind, yet I didn’t know how to assemble an equipment.
So the guy took his time to show me it all. I would probably pay 50 USD or so for such lesson. And here I got it included. We actually enjoyed each other company enough, that I invited Marcello for lunch.
We also scheduled to meet in other spot, so I can try to the equipment with him, tune it up and so on.