7 Steps to Becoming a Kiteboarder
by Ryan H
Have you seen someone kiteboarding while on vacation or at your local beach? Or maybe you saw a video on YouTube and were like, "what is that?" Your next thoughts were probably "how do they jump so high and land so soft", followed by "I want to do that!" For those of you that want to get started in the sport of kiteboarding but are not sure how, listed below are seven steps that will take you from watching on the beach to riding on the water.
1. Trainer kite
The secret to mastering kite flying skills early on is to invest in a trainer kite. A trainer kite is designed to help you learn how to fly a kite. The majority of learning how to kiteboard is learning and understanding how to fly a kite. Trainer kites are smaller and less powerful than the full size setup you see people using out on the water. Trainer kites generally range from about 2 meters to 4 meters in size. The kite I started on was the HQ Rush Pro 350. This kite was big enough that I was even able to use it in the parking lot with a skateboard once I had mastered flying it. This experience helped me tremendously when it was time to get into the water. I strongly recommend getting a trainer kite that has a third line that allows you to self-relaunch the kite after crashing. All your buddies will greatly appreciate this too. For more information on trainer kites check out this video.
2. Board skills
If you are someone that does not actively participate in boardsports, it is valuable to get a little practice before taking a lesson. Riding at a cable park or wakeboarding are top recommendations. In areas where this is not accessible, just cruising on a skateboard or snowboard can help you get used to the stance and balancing while moving.
3. Kiteboarding lessons
The moment you've been waiting for. This is where you will learn about wind direction and conditions, set up and fly the full size kite, and even get out in the water. The idea of a lesson is to get to the point where you are comfortable setting up your own gear and practicing on your own later on. Some people are still flying the kite on the beach at this point and others wait until they are up and riding or even working on transitions while riding. If you are unsure whether or not you are safe practicing on your own, you need more lessons.
Buy a gear package.. Invest in a full setup so you can get out there and practice own your own. You'll want a good all-around board and good all-around kite. Most kites are easy enough to use these days that you can start with kites that aren't a beginner kite, but are still beginner-friendly. Always consult an expert when considering what you should start with.
Get out there and practice everything you have learned and then practice some more. Kiteboarding is not a sport that you will become proficient in after a few times out. Don't get frustrated, and stick with it. It's well worth the rewards. Also, as someone who is new to the sport, don't hesitate to introduce yourself to the locals and ask questions about the local riding conditions. Kiters are friendly people and as long as you're being safe out there they will most likely become your riding buddies that you have for years.
6. Additional lessons
Sometimes additional lessons are needed to help you progress past somewhere you are getting stuck. For most people this would be boardstarts or riding longer distances, but for others it may be something more advanced like jumping and landing.
7. More Gear
Let's face it- you're going to become addicted to the sport and jump at any chance you get to spend a windy day at the beach. So you're going to want some more gear so you can ride in every possible situation. No one likes to be the one sitting on the beach watching their friends ride since they do not have the right size kite or know how to foilboard or ride a surfboard yet. The possibilities with a kite are endless so enjoy the ride, my friend.
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