Kitesurfers always seek to have de chance to give a try to the new materials freshly ‘baked’ by the most famous brands.
Normally this desire turn out to be difficult to fulfill since test days are pretty rare and they are organized by the major brands in few spots. The only way to try new materials is to wait for them to arrive in the local kite shop, hoping the owner considers to have a test kite. The only other option is to hope in some friend’s lack of jealousy for his own gear, who might let you give it a try.
David Pike contacted me few days ago with an interesting idea on how to overcome the new gear testing problems.
The concept is pretty simple: create a concierge rental service, which can provide the desired kite, mailed directly to your house’s front door.
But let’s hear the description of the idea directly from David words:
So David, talk us about this new service for U.S. kitesufers.
“We provide kiteboarders with the opportunity to demo the latest model kites no matter where in the US they live. We've found that our customers fall into two categories:
- those travelling on vacation and not wanting to ship all their gear;
- those who are looking to buy a new kite but having trouble deciding which brand to go with.
We've been able to procure kites from all the top brands and are adding more each week. We already include Cabrinha, North, Naish, Airush, Liquid Force, Slingshot, and Core amongst others”.
How did you have this interesting idea ?
“The genesis for the business came to me six months ago as I was looking to purchase a new 12m Freeride kite. I wanted to try all these different brands but not having a shop near me, it wasn't possible. Also, shops tend to only carry certain brands. They might have North but not Core. We have a more encompassing lineup of kites”.
I have some safety concerns: it might occur that some beginner, with no proper kiteboarding training, would want to ‘give it a try’ without buying a kite, turning this into a dangerous practice both for them and the others. Renting a kite with you would be definitely cheaper than buying one and these might lead to give some bad ideas to newbies which might think they don’t need a proper training. Did you consider this problem and how did you overcame it ?
“First, we only rent kites and bars i.e. an incomplete package. A kiteboarder would have to own a harness and board. As it's not cheap to purchase these two items, this screens out a majority of beginners. Second, we require renters to sign a liability waiver, assert they are at a certain skill level, and make sure they understand they are responsible for the repair costs of damaging a kite (not cheap). Lastly and most importantly, we talk with each customer immediately after they checkout. It's similar to an approval process. We want to see where they kiteboard, what level they are at (ensuring they can stay upwind, transition, ride toe-side, etc.), where they learned, and how long they've been kiting. We get a full sense of the renter's abilities before releasing the kite to them”.
Your service is now limited to U.S.: are you planning to expand it also in EU or somewhere else ?
“Yes, we are currently planning our expansion to Canada. We are also in talks to partner with a firm to offer rentals in the EU”.
How long can each rental last in terms of duration?
“Rentals can last as long as they prefer. If the kiteboarder wants to purchase the kite, we deduct the rental fees from the purchase price of the kite”.
You perform only kite rentals at the moment, do you think you’ll consider also kiteboards in the future ?
“Yes, we are actually talking now with several kiteboard manufacturers to offer their products on demoakite.com
The biggest issue we are trying to solve is the increased shipping fee for boards”.
What are your future goals ?
“We hope to continue to grow and eventually offer all brands and kites. Additionally, we hope to add all kiteboarding gear so I rider can demo a whole package.”