Kitesurfing safety always first!
Kiteboarding (and kitesurfing) it's a fairly new wind powered action sport, combining different aspects of windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding into one extreme sport! It is also quite easy to learn, compared to all the ones named! Once deemed a dangerous sport, innovation in modern kites has turned the sport safer and accessible to everybody.
Why do it? if you love sports like skiing or any other "sliding" sport, you will get addicted to the feeling of freedom kitesurfing provides.
How to start? go straight to a kiteboarding school! Do not try to learn this sport alone!
Taking lessons: compulsory!
Going on a camp: Highly recommended
Note: Do not go out alone without proper training and lessons. Ideally, we recommend you take an initial 12 hour course (2 days) through which you will learn all the safety aspects of the sport. We recommend IKO instructors (International Kiteboarding Organization). IKO is the world’s leading kiteboarding organization specializing in kiteboard education, promoting safe practices and enhancing the highest standards for the industry.
Kites can be extremely powerful and without gradually progressing your skills, you can injure yourself and/or others. If you rig a kite which is too big for the conditions, or you can't steer it properly, you can quickly find yourself in a speeding vehicle. As 23 meters separate the kiter from the kite, uncontrolled movements can easily become harmful. That is the reason why you need to learn about safety first! Also, take into account, that not all beaches are kite friendly, as many of them do not allow the practise of the sport to protect people or there might be rocks, trees or buildings nearby, making the area unsuitable for launching or landing the kite.
By going to a kiteboarding school you can get started quickly and safely. Lesson after lesson, you'll rapidly progress from being a trainer kiteboarder to boosting big jumps! You can expect to be kiting after 4 to 6 days of guided practise. A one week camp would be enough to reach a level at which you can feel independent enough.
Kiteboarding is for people of all ages and against all believes you don’t need to be super strong or super fit to become a good kiter.
We also recommend that you head to a cable wakeboarding camp to practise your board skills! Doing other board sports will also help you, even though knowing how to steer the kite and how to position your body are the essential skills to be learned.
Physical intensity: intermediate
Risk level: High (if done with no safety instructions)
Do I need a certification? No, but good to have one for safety reasons & rentals.
What to buy? Think about buying gear, after you complete your one week camp or at least the two day safety course.
“I saw a guy get a jump on a kite and stayed in the air way longer than any windsurfer stayed. I said, Ok, now, this looks interesting to me”
Pete Cabrinha - Professional water sports athlete and founder of Cabrinha Kites
The essential kite gear is comprised of a:
kites. Normally you would need 2 or 3 different kite sizes in order to manage different wind intensities. Kite sizes will mostly depend on the wind range of the spot where you would most frequently kite and obviously your body weight. Apart from size, kites differ by type and purpose of riding.
It is not easy to rent kitesurfing gear, at least kites. Usually the gear is rented only if you take lessons with a school. We would recommend doing a one week camp. Once you realize that you’re actually hooked to the sport – then it’s time to buy your own gear! Since the first goal is to master the kiting basics and learn about the wind, the best thing is to get a trainer kite first or just head straight into a kite school where you will practise with during the first lessons.
Trainer kites are small (2.0 to 3.5 sq m) and designed to be flown on the beach, in a field, or any wide open area. And they are easiest to learn your kiting skills. They are also called “Nasa” kites.
Learning good kite flying skills with a trainer kite before taking lessons will save you time and frustration.
Remember, before buying anything, talk to the pros! Have a chat with an experienced kiteboarder, before you buy your own equipment!
"Kitesurf is therapeutic as well as a lovely way to keep your body fit. I love kitesurfing"
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, english businessman, investor, author and philanthropist.
Kiteboarder tips & advise
For kiteboarding you essentially need wind (constant 10 to 40 knots), a lake, a lagoon or the sea. Some people also kite in the winter. This is known as kite-ski or kite-snowboarding.
It is very important that you get used to different wind strengths and patterns. The seaside usually has better, more constant wind. Lakes, especially those surrounded by mountains, tend to have gusty, more turbulent wind. Be aware of avoiding going kiting with offshore wind. This is forbidden unless the spot has a rescue team. On-shore and side-shore winds are OK.
Talk to locals before kitesurfing on a spot you don't know yet. You need to understand wind directions, wind strengths, how gusty it can get and how fast does the wind turn on or off. Both situations are dangerous, too much wind or not enough of it. Also ask whether there are any hidden water currents and if you are on the seaside check the tide schedule. For checking wind conditions and forecasts we advise using Windguru paired with Windy.
From a psychological point of view, sports like kitesurfing actively encourage the pushing of boundaries, and even the breaking of rules, something which makes it a perfect sport for getting your mind more creative and more decisive. Most notably, you will have a lot of fun along the way!