Expect to swallow large amounts of water while learning to kite surf. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and determination to be able to cruise across the water at high speed with the wind and ocean spray.
The first stages
Your first kite surfing lessons will be on land. Here, you will be taught all aspects of the safe handling of kites. This will include learning to launch and land a kite safely in a specified spot. Being able to fly a large power kite can take anything up to four days. The instructor will tailor each course to suit the skills of the student.
Once these first skills are mastered, students will normally get in the water and get wet without the board. You will body surf by the pull of the kite, along and back to shore. After this, you will get the chance to fly the kite while on the board.
The third basic level of training will see you traveling on the board for a distance under kite power. To pass the basic skills, you will have to demonstrate the ability to conduct an emergency stop on water (getting off the board quickly and stopping with the kite aloft). Students must also be able to return to base on land by kite surfing, paddling or body surfing home.
How long does it take?
Typically, it takes at least three days to learn to get up on the board. However, passing these skills is just the beginning of a steep learning curve. After all this, you need to start mastering launches, turns, gybes and then, if you’re feeling brave, jumps.
The key to being a good kite surfer is practice. Like many sports, it can take a long time to master, and involves a lot of aches and pains! It also often involves a lot of waiting around for the right wind and tidal conditions. But, once everything starts to make sense and clicks into place, the jump in your ability will be massive and you will begin to master all sorts of cool tricks.
Key rules of kite surfing include ...
- Always inform the coastguard, lifeguard or other relevant marine authorities when and where you will be kite surfing.
- Respect the environment, as well as other water and beach users.
- Don’t fly a kite in a thunderstorm.
- Avoid power lines and overhead obstructions.
- Do not attempt to kite surf without training.
- Never kite surf in crowded areas.
- Avoid collision with other kite lines.
- Don’t head out into open water without learning the rules of the sea, including navigation laws.
- Never kite surf in conditions that are too extreme for you or your equipment.
- Never kite surf in an offshore wind.
- If heading any distance from shore, kite surf in pairs or have a rescue boat there at all times.
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