Kitesurfing is arguably the fastest-growing water sport in the world right now. You’ve probably seen the kitesurfers down at the beach on a windy day flying across the surface of the water and boosting impressive jumps high into the air.
As if you weren’t already impressed enough, the kiters throw themselves into all sorts of flips, spins and contorted rotations.
Suffice to say, you were probably blown away and very intrigued by this radical sport. Well, if you fancy getting started in kiteboarding, I’ve 5 pro kitesurfing tips that will help you on your way.
The sport garners a significant amount of attention at the beach and hardly a day passes when someone fails to ask me one of the top newbie questions:
“Hey, what are those things called? Is that windsurfing?”
“Oh geez, you must have to be pretty strong to fly that thing?”
“How much does one of those things cost, anyway?”
“Where can I learn how to do that?”
Well, my first experience with kiteboarding was when my girlfriend (at the time) gave me an unofficial lesson up in Canada. I must admit that I was pretty intimidated watching the sport and had some doubts whether I could learn.
Four years later and having taught over 500 lessons since that day, I have a great insight into the process of learning this sizzling sport. Inspired by the pictures here of pro’s kitesurfing in Peru and keen to check out all the rage? Here are some key pieces of preliminary advice for you.
1. Take lessons from a certified instructor or proficient kiteboarder.
Since 2007, safety features with kitesurfing gear have greatly improved, making this extreme sport accessible to a wider audience. The sport has inherent dangers but if you are taught properly and thoroughly, it doesn’t have to be scary. There are a few organizations that certify instructors, namely, the IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) and PASA (Professional Air Sports Association).
Having a certified instructor does not guarantee a quality lesson but it increases the probability. Or, find yourself an experienced kiter at your local beach and ask for lessons. Taking lessons also greatly increases the learning curve and will get you riding much faster.
2. If you’re serious about learning – be prepared to make a commitment.
I’ve seen it too many times; a student that takes one lesson and never comes back. There are many reasons for this but if you’re serious about learning, be prepared to commit.
Your first lesson will probably be pretty basic with 2-3 hours spent flying kites on land and learning some basic theory and kite piloting skills. The second lesson is usually spent learning how to pull yourself across the water using the kite and if you’re a fast learner, you may have a few stabs at riding the board.
After about 9 hours, a student can usually take short rides on the board, followed by the “walk of shame” that takes you back up the beach to where you started. Be prepared to invest 15-30 hours into the sport before you are able to ride more than you’re walking back up the beach.
3. Watch videos online.
There is a wealth of tutorial videos online. No doubt, you’ll become badly addicted and your work ethic will start to slide into that of a true kiteboader: average (at best).
4. Make friends at the beach.
Chat it up with some of the other riders at the beach. Make a friend that is learning at your approximate level of progression and push each other to learn faster.
5. Get ready for moderate-serious problems with your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse.
The addiction is terrible, be forewarned. I think I can make a lot of money by starting a support group for spouses that have not spent quality time with their loved ones since kitesurfing entered the picture! So the best way is to get them hooked on the sport too.
The next time you see a kitesurfer boosting a huge jump, remember that they once stood in your shoes, as a potential student.
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