Kites are an investment worth protecting. If you care for them they will last longer than if you neglect them. Here are some general tips to protect your kite investment.
Carefully Inflate your Kite the first Time: Any new kite, or kite that has been stored for a long time, or recently repaired, should be inflated with caution. The internal bladder can sometimes shift or twist causing a constriction that may cause a breakage (explosion). Inflate the kite slowly, straighten out the kite’s LE, and watch the kite inflate and look for any abnormal creases or dents in the struts and LE. If you notice any problems, deflate the kite and shake out any creases, massage it and try again. If you are still in doubt, do not inflate the kite fully. Instead have the kite looked at by a professional, to have the bladder checked and/or reinserted properly.
Protect your kite from the Sun: Direct Sun Exposure ages kite fabric (and just about everything else man-made). When not kiting you should put your kite in the shade. You can also stack kites together to reduce their sun exposure. It is also a good idea to do a quick roll and put your kite indoors in-between your sessions.
Do not let you kite flap/flog endlessly: Keep your kite out of the wind. If you park your kite in a windy place the trailing edge (TE) will tend to flap violently and this flogging is causing untold amounts of friction and wear, as it stresses the fabric aging it prematurely. The kite’s TE (trailing edge) is usually the first part of any kite to wear out, so now you know.
Avoid sharp things: Never place your kite down on top of any sticks, rocks, broken glass, cactus, or thorns.
Avoid Trees: Always secure your kite on the ground with a sandbag, or something similar so that it will not blow away and get stuck in a tree. This also counts for bushes, shrubs, spiky grass, fences, and cactus.
Avoid abrasion: Never drag your kite over the ground unnecessarily. Always pick it up to move it, and try to launch it off the ground. Do not allow sand to get into your kite’s crevices. Keep sand out of the kite’s inflation valve and out of your pump too. A dirty/sand pump or hose can push sand into the interior of the kite and jams open the kite’s check valve.
Do not bend your kite: Once inflated you should never bend a kite backwards. The kite has a designed shape that is supposed to be rigid. If you bend the kite out of shape it can stress the kite’s seams and break the struts and/or leading edge. This often happens when inexperienced people try to launch or catch a kite.
Do not drop your kite in the Shorebreak (or any breaking wave): The shore break can destroy a kite in seconds and breaking waves can easily smash a kite to pieces. If you do drop your kite in the waves it is best to de-tension the lines quickly (by activating the CL safety) so that the kite opens and goes with the wave, then carefully retrieve it without becoming a casualty yourself.
Do not place heavy objects on the kite: Do not sit or stand on the inflated kite. Heavy pressure on the struts and LE can cause them to rupture. Do not place a heavy weight on top of the kite that flattens its shape as it can cause the seams at the junction of the struts to break.
Do not over inflate your kite: If you over inflate your kite it can explode. You should always be able to push your finger into the LE and feel some give. Use a pressure gauge to help you judge the pressure. Smaller kites generally need more pressure than larger ones.
Do not leave your kite in the hot sun or on hot surfaces: Dark sand, concrete, rocks, or roadways can get extremely hot and can quickly overheat your kite. This causes the air to expand and may cause your kite to explode.
Pro Tip: When it is hot, you can bleed out the excess air between sessions. Then just top it off again before relaunching.
Inflate your kite fully: Under-inflating a kite is almost as bad as over-inflating it. This is counterintuitive after reading the tips above, but an underinflated kite can distort and stress the seams and fabric. A rigid kite flexes less and stresses the seams less. A soft kite is more prone to inverting and twisting, which can easily break it.
Do not punish your kite: Do not lend your kite to a beginner. Beginners are hard on kites. Do not crash your kite excessively. Learn good kite control as soon as possible and always try to crash your kite as little as possible.
Rinse your kite with fresh water only: Rinse your kite to get off the sand and dirt. Salt water is not all that harmful to leave on a kite, but rinsing with fresh water is best especially when storing the kite for a while.
Never put your kite away wet: If you have to get out of the rain quickly, dry the kite in your garage, or take it out to dry the next day, and be sure to dry it fully.
Repair your kite early: Fix any holes, no matter how small, before they get bigger. Check your kite for broken or loose stitching, and have it repaired before there is a major issue. Any unfixed hole is a potential weak spot that could lead to bigger problems.