What are the first steps you need to take to start Kiteboarding?
In this article we are going to breakdown the importance of lessons and the time it takes for someone to get comfortable to start kiteboarding on their own. After reading this article you should have a good idea of what you need to learn and how much it might cost to learn the sport. We will share important tips to safely learn this Extreme Sport and have FUN!
*WARNING! Kiteboarding may give the sensation of flight, water walking abilities and a Super Hero complex! Long term side effects may include overdosed adrenaline addiction and the feeling that you can conquer the world!*
The first thing you need to realize is that you’ll need to get good lessons. Secondly, get good lessons! And did I mention you need to get good lessons? Okay, so this is an extreme sport and can potentially be dangerous not only to yourself, but to the people around you, quality lessons are of the utmost importance. A kitesurfer is taking up a lot of land, water and sky area due to the length of the strings and the size of the kite. If you do not practice good kite control, then it can be disastrous and if a bad accident does happen, then you can potentially get a kitesurfing spot banned for good! Trust me, you don’t want to be ‘That Guy’.
So take the proper route and you will get to enjoy the best water sport that will ever happen to you!
There are men and women of all ages ripping at this sport but it does take a physical toll on the body. You should be in at least somewhat good, healthy shape. If you have a bad back or knees then I would recommend consulting with a doctor before getting to involved in the sport.
How Good Lessons can set you up for Success
Now there are some schools that will promise you they will have you kiteboarding that day and then you’ll be happy to say you went kiteboarding on your tropical vacation get away...yayyy!!! Well not so fast there newbie! I’ve personally come across students who told me they did just that but once I get to talking with them, they don’t even know how to set up anything because it was already set up for them on the beach, so that lesson was completely overlooked. Imagine you always parachuting out of an airplane but someone else always packing your parachute and gear for you. Kiteboarding is a solo sport and you need to know it from A to Z. Also, many have told me that they are still nervous about flying the kite, especially around other people. I respect them when they humbly admit that and now it's back to the basics!!
A good and patient instructor will teach you from the ground up. Now everyone has their own learning curve but on average, be ready to invest in about 6 to 10 hours of solid lessons before you can attempt setting sail on your own. Also, lessons can be expensive so save your money and purchase your gear after lessons. Your instructor should help you choose the right gear for you and that will depend on many things such as your weight, wind speed and skills. Up to date gear is always the best way to go. Don’t waste your money on buying used, OLD gear just because it was a good deal. There is a reason it was a good deal. Newer gear is better and safer! The basic gear needed to get out on the water include a kite, pump, bar and lines, a harness, and a kiteboard. Extra recommended accessories are a helmet and a life vest/impact vest. Wetsuits and booties are usually desirable in colder waters. Also, most kitesurfers usually purchase a quiver of different size kites and kiteboards for different wind and water conditions.
Breakdown of Lessons
1. Land Lesson
Everyone first starts off on the land. With most instructors, land lessons will include the following:
*All gear will be provided
*Wind Window Knowledge
*Kite Safety and Etiquette
*Trainer Kite Flying
*Inflatable Kite and Bar and Lines Set Up
*Inflatable Kite Flying on Land
*Kiteboarding Safety Systems
*Assisted Launch and Landing
*Self Launch and Landing
*Walking upwind with one hand
*Assistance with Choosing and Purchasing the Correct Gear for You at a Good and Fair Price
2. Body Dragging Lesson
(Yes, it’s now time to hit the water!)
*Use of 2-Way Radio Helmet for Faster and Safer Learning
*Downwind Body Dragging in the Water Using the Power of the Kite
*Upwind Body Dragging
3. Power of the Kite Lesson
*Use of 2-way radio helmet for faster and safer learning
*How to ride on your board while keeping the kite in the sky and not falling down into the water.
*Practicing kiteboarding etiquette
*How to ride on an edge and stay upwind
*How to start kiteboarding on your own
Cost of Lessons and Gear
Depending on where you go for your lessons, the cost can usually range from about $50/Hour up to $200/Hour. But average these days is about $60 to $100 Hour. All gear is usually provided and many schools will offer a package or group deal.
Most beginners will purchase used gear to get started but if you can afford it, then brand new gear is always nice! Beginners will tend to drop their kites a lot and possibly damage them while learning so since new kites can be pricey, used kites is a good and inexpensive way to get started. Once you get the hang of it you can look to upgrade your kite to a new one.
If you shop around well enough, you can get a full used set up for about $1,000 US Dollars more or less. And a new gear set up is about double that and even more depending on what you select.
Yes, it's a pricey sport to get started in, but once you have your gear, all you need is the time and the wind!
Now it’s time to go get your lessons and enjoy the wonderful world of Kitesurfing!