How to Learn to Kitesurf Safely

How to Learn to Kitesurf Safely

Dec 23, 2018, 12:01:40 AM Sport

Visit a beach on a breezy day and you are very likely to see wetsuit-clad people flying (often literally) across the water towed by an enormous kite. Watching the amazing aerial antics of these sports men and women is enough to get the pulse racing, but what about joining them? If the thought of learning to kitesurf appeals to you then read on.

So how do you go about learning to kitesurf? The temptation might be to do what many kitesurfers (including me) did in the early days: just buy a kite and get on with it. In all honesty, that's a very bad idea: most of those who went down that route ended up injured or worse! Not only does the D.I.Y. approach threaten your health, you'll probably destroy your equipment too.

The best way to learn is to take kitesurfing lessons, either from a friend skilled in the sport or better still, from a qualified kitesurfing school. Having taught several people and watched many others taught, the ease with which they learn (when taught properly) makes me green with envy.

So how do kitesurfing lessons work?

A kitesurfing course typically runs over two or three days. Day one starts with the essential basics around safety and communication (it's a long way from the kite to the control bar) before moving on to the basics of kite flying. Basic kite skills are taught with a small kite, typically 1 to 2 square meters so that the inevitable crashes are completely harmless. This essential pre-requisite is actually great fun, the time spent on it will vary depending on how quickly you gain full control of the kite.

With the kite safely under control, it's time to move up a level. Kitesurfing kites are actually connected to a harness worn by the rider then controlled through a bar (a little like a circus trapeze bar). After an additional safety breezing, you'll get to fly a real kitesurf kite, depending on the wind strength this will be somewhere between 5 and 12 meters in size. Launching a big kite for the first time is both thrilling and frightening! This is where a school comes in: you will have one person holding on to you whilst another launches the kite. At this point, you begin to feel the true power of the wind, as you carefully maneuver the kite through the sky, you will feel it trying to lift you.

You will spend quite a long time practicing your flying skills, the idea is that it should be second-nature before you move on to the next stage which is letting the kite tow you through the water. Body-dragging as it is known is great fun. Lying in the water, you dive the kite into the power-zone, the forces build up and before you know it, you are flying through the water in a cloud of spray. Initially, you will travel down-wind rapidly, practice refines your technique until you can happily travel through the water backward and forwards returning to the spot where you started.

Once you've cracked body-dragging, you are ready to try using a board. You are also probably exhausted which is why getting on the board is covered on day 2!

Day two of learning to kitesurf begins with a review of what you've learned and a safety refresh. Under the close guidance of your instructor, you take to the water, now armed with a board as well as a kite. The board is about 1.5 Meters long with a pair of foot-straps. "All" you have to do now, is to lie in the water, fly the kite and at the same time, get your feet into those straps. In many ways, this is the hardest part of the whole process. If I had a Pound for each time I'd heard someone say "it's impossible!" I'd be writing this from a much more exotic location. The amazing thing is that by the end of the day, getting your feet into the straps becomes easy.

However, I'm going to share with you an awesome website about learning kitesurfing. Hope you will find it useful.

Published by Reed Cooper

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