So you finally decided to learn how to kitesurf? Probably you can’t wait to get a kite in your hands and start riding but before you do there is a small list of things you need to know before.
So here goes the list we have prepared for you with help of our friends at Real Watersports of 10 things that every beggining kiteboarder needs to know:
1) Do I Need to Take Lessons?
Afterall it looks easy as pie, right? So the first thing that pops in your mind is “let me try by myself and see how it goes.” What every professional kiteboarder will tell you is do not start on you own. You absolutely need lessons, especially at the beginning. It is much safer this way and also much faster. Lessons with a good instructor will enable you to build confidence with your skill and your equipment. Then, whilst standing on the beach looking at perfect conditions you will not have the butterflies of nerves about whether you will be swimming home (because you skipped the important lesson on how to water relaunch a kite). Lessons allow you to stay safe out on the water and learn the essential basics and then tricks and tips that might save your life.
2) How long does it take to Learn?
It doesn’t really matter if you are an active person or a coach potato. Kitesurfing has a very steep learning curve. With the proper instruction and equipment you can expect to see great results after just a few days. Typical learning time to get up to your first rides vary from a few hours (for people converting from other water sports) to just a few days. After you learn upwind riding then you are well on the way to becoming an advanced kiter. The key is to practice, the more you do the faster you will reach your goals. There are also self-help videos and instructional DVDs which can really help with adding new skills to your sport.
3) Weather – How do I know when to go kitesurfing?
If you cannot rely on a more experienced kitesurfer to help you there are several reliable sites giving up to date and detailed wind and weather forecasts. After you spend some more time at the beach you will understand how forecast translates into real life conditions. Remember, if you turn up at a busy beach and there is no-one out on the water, there is probably a reason. At the beginning avoid kitesurfing on your own. And again, a good instructor will teach you how to read the conditions properly.
4) When can I go out by myself?
There is no right or wrong in this one. It all depends on your confidence level. Once again if you have taken lessons you will be far more confident in your equipment and therefore more likely to be happy to step into the water without supervision. The best advice that we can give is that when you feel you are ready, grab a few buddies who kite and get together for a session. That way if you do get in trouble you can always call for aid or just get some advice. Don’t forget to do a quick assessment of your kiting area, watch out for big and small obstacle up and downwind. Give yourself plenty of room to launch and land and then get out there and have fun!
5) What’s the right gear for me?
Another level in your learning process is when you buy your own gear. There are three fundamentals of your gear: Harness: A good harness is like a good pair of ski boots so choose something comfortable. Kites: you need to get a safe and reliable product which can really advance your kiting. The key things for a beginner to look for are simplicity, re-launch and wind range. Water re-launch will be very important as this will make every session hassle free and mean that crashing is not an issue.Kiteboards: when choosing the right size you need to know your weight and skill level. If you are fresh to kiting you will need to get a larger board than your eventual size. This will give you more planing area.
6)Where can I buy?
One great way of getting setup is going to be taking lessons and having your coach show you what you are looking for he/she can then recommend the best kiteboarding gear but if you want to do things by yourself there are forums, ebay, online shops. Most of the people on the forums are really friendly and will help you chose the right gear in case of any doubts.
7) Contacting other kiters.
Find your local kiteboarding forum or association, this will help you meet people with the same passion.
8) Travel – kite trips. As every kiter you talk to will tell you, your first kite trip can be amazing, full of visceral experiences and magic sessions in far flung windy locations. As always with any kite/surf/sporting trip – travel is the real core of the experience and heading onto the plane with a group of close friends will give you lasting memories of not only the kiting but also undeveloped areas of the globe that have conditions to make any kiter go weak at the knees. How do we find out about these awesome kiting destinations? Simple! Firstly, the kite magazines are some of the best places to look for inspiration on your next trip, websites and guides such as The World Kite and Windurfing Guide where you can find the description of almost every existing spot.
9)Progression. How to develop new kiteboarding skills? As with any sport, the sooner you begin, the faster you will learn. More importantly practice is the very best way of getting through skill barriers and keeping your kiting fun. The best way to overcome possible stagnation is to get together with a crowd of kiters and push yourself to learn more and more. Film each other, talk through tricks and sessions and use the web and other resources to keep things fresh and exciting. You can also try advanced lessons.
10) Ask the Pros.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to more experienced kiteboarders. They will help you out, afterall we share the same passion.