Being a Self-Sufficient Kiteboarder

MACkiteboarding Lesson Plan: Being a Self-Sufficient Kiteboarder

One of the first things that we teach all of our new kiteboarding students is the importance of being a self-sufficient kiteboarder. Of course we're focusing on safety, set-up, weather awareness, courtesies and right-of-way as well, but we've refocused out attention to also make sure that our kiteboarding students will actually go out and ride. I've run into previous kiteboard students of mine in the past who've talked about "that one day" where they showed up to a given spot to go kiteboarding , but no one else was there so they didn't even set up their kite. That was a complete and total waste of a great opportunity to learn and progress. Let's face it - the average Joe kiteboarder doesn't have time to burn when it comes to kiteboarding. When the wind is on and time is available - we've gotta' ride.

The first step in becoming a self-sufficient kiteboarder or kitesurfer is confidence. You must have confidence in your ability and your equipment or you will not make it very far in the learning process. At MACkiteboarding, our professional instruction program will give you this confidence through a very thorough and hands-on instruction plan. First, you'll learn how to rig your kite and lines so that you will be able to triple-check your accuracy before you even hook in and get ready to launch your kite. You'll be taught how to determine if the wind is right, where is a good place to set-up and launch from, and to rig your bar and lines with complete confidence.

The next step will be the self-launch. In the previous step, you will have double and triple checked that your lines are correctly attached to the kite. In this next step, you'll check it one last time before hooking in and launching. After you've gotten your harness on and tightened, you'll pick up your control bar and attach your safety leash to the appropriate connection point. You'll then grab your outside lines and hold them in each of your outstretched arms, so that you can see all the way down the lines to where they're attached to the kite or kite bridles. If they're connected right and not twisted, you're good to launch. If something doesn't look right, you'll now have time to make the correction before you launch. Now, your safety leash is attached, you're hooked into the chicken loop, your lines are connected and you're ready to self-launch your kite. Check the wind direction and strength; make sure the down-wind area is all clear and launch. Now take a deep breath and smile, because you're on your way to becoming a kiteboarder.

Self-landing your Cabrinha kiteboarding kite in the waterThe last step is to self-land your kite and pack up. With modern control systems, like the 2013 Cabrinha IDS Control Bar, you will quickly understand just how much control you actually have over your kite, and how quickly and easily you will be able to self-land your kite. When you come ashore, take into consideration the length of your lines and look for an adequate spot to land your kite. Sometimes you'll be landing on a beach or other open area, and sometimes, depending on how much space you have, you'll need to land your kite in the water. In all circumstances, we'll teach you to simply bring your kite down, to the edge of the wind-window, let the kite touch down on its wing tip, and then activate the Cabrinha IDS landing line. The IDS system will engage and your kite will have dumped enough power to safely land itself (usually in the "clam shell" position). Now, you'll go to your kite, put some sand on the canopy if needed and begin tearing down and packing your gear away. It's that simple.

These three easy steps will be shown to you in great detail during the lesson process, and our instructors will make sure that you understand all three steps beyond a shadow of a doubt. Now you will have the confidence that you will need to go out and practice kiteboarding and kitesurfing as a self-sufficient rider. This new assurance in your ability will have you out and riding at a much more progressive rate than if you were always dependent on other kiteboarders to help you.

*Please note: these steps are given so that when there aren't other kiteboarders around to help, you'll still know what to do. However, if there are other riders present, don't hesitate to take a launch or land from one of them. In many areas around the world, the local kiteboarding communities are very into helping one another and keeping the sport safe and the beaches open to kiteboarding.

Cheers and good winds!

Rider: Aaron Johnson
Age: 42
Weight: 185lbs.
Riding: 12 years
Gear: 2013 Cabrinha Switchblades, Custom 140cm and an S-Quad