Q ~ What is Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing?
A ~ It’s a wind powered board sport, where kiters are pulled by large, powerful kites and skim across the water’s surface and able to perform incredible jumps, ride waves, or just cruise along enjoying the water, waves and wind. The health benefits are endless, as this is a full body workout, builds reflexes, strength, coordination, and endurance.
Q ~ Is it Dangerous?
A ~ This is an action sport that has plenty of risk, and it can be dangerous and even deadly, especially without proper training. You should learn everything you can about kiting, including the accidents (called KITEMARES). Kitemares will give you a little insight on the power of these kites and what they can do, and learning from others experiences may just save your life. Kiteboarding is an ongoing education in safety, weather, techniques, access issues, technology, etc. and is not something learned overnight or by watching a video.
Q ~ Can I do it?
A ~ ABSOLUTELY! If you can swim, handle moderate to heavy exercise, and have common sense, you can learn to kiteboard! People of all ages are currently active in this amazing sport, and was recently featured in AARP magazine as a popular sport for seniors.
Our youth training programs in wind sports are available for kids of all ages, however we do not train children under 12 in water kiting activities. For children under 12, we have a land based introduction to kiting course available.
Q ~ How long does it take to learn?
A ~ For most people, 5-8 hours of quality instruction is enough to have you practicing safely on your own. At this point, most new kiters are riding the board upwind and experimenting with small jumps and transitions. Getting up and riding happens after learning and practicing safety systems and self rescue techniques.
Q ~ Can I learn on my own?
A ~ Many people have tried to learn on their own and gotten seriously injured. You're guaranteed to run into bad situations when kiting, and knowing how to handle them is priority.It looks easy enough, but what you don’t know could seriously hurt you or someone else. Self-teaching is no longer tolerated at most launch sites, as it creates unnecessary risk of injury and access. If you really want to learn this sport, SEEKING QUALIFIED INSTRUCTION IS STEP 1…
Q ~ How much do lessons cost?
A ~ Lessons- range from $50-$150 per hour, expect 8-10 hours minimum to get the bare basics to safely practice on your own. Seek a certified instructor and inquire about their lesson plan to assure you get a complete lesson, including: site selection, basic weather, kite setup, safety systems, hand signals, assisted launch/land, upwind/board body drag, and self rescue. You MUST learn all this before riding on the board .
Q ~ Why are lessons so expensive?
A ~ Actually lessons are a great value when you consider the cost of equipment, costs of teaching, which requires certifications, licenses, insurances, repair and maintenance of kites, bars lines, boards, harnesses, etc., replacement of damaged or lost gear, fuel costs, countless hours of phone calls/free advice, advertising costs, administrative costs, travel time to lessons, etc. Kite gear is expensive and takes a beating, the average cost of a bladder for a “popped” kite is $150.00 and sail repairs are billed by the inch. In the early stages of learning you will be crashing the kite many times, so learn on someone else's gear and save your money!
Q ~ How much does gear cost?
A ~ You should not purchase gear until AFTER your lessons, but new 2011 kites range from $700-$1500 complete with bar and lines, boards range from $400-$900. To cover most wind ranges, 2 kites and 2 boards is ideal. In the beginning, you will be only flying in light to moderate winds, so one kite will get you by until you have the experience to kite in stronger winds (Over 18 knots). One may purchase used gear, however it is not recommended because used gear is highly susceptible to failure, (example worn lines or bridles, leaky bladders, rips or tears, etc.) The technology is evolving rapidly in this sport, which means newer kites are safer, easier to learn on, and more durable than older kites. You may get a great deal on a kite, but chances are, its being sold for a reason. Replacement parts are also hard to find for older kites; in most cases they are obsolete.
Q ~ How can I learn faster?
A ~ Do your homework! In this sport, knowledge is power, and there are many good sources of information out there to help you learn. This website is set up to give you all the tools you need to get started safely.
Q ~ What can I expect in the early stages of training?
A ~ Usually in the first water lesson, a prospective kiter finds out if the sport is for them. You will be pulled through the water with the kite, practice steering, body dragging, self-rescue, and plenty of relaunching, all which require focus, plenty of multi-tasking, and the ability to laugh at mistakes. It gives you a taste of the power of the kite and you are more than likely going to crash it in the water, get pulled around, and basically get “worked”. At this point, some people decide it’s not for them, but most feel a sense of accomplishment and can’t wait for their next session! Its like riding a bicycle, once you learn, you never forget! Our lesson plans are designed to teach you safely and build confidence in your abilities on the water. Getting up and riding on the board is secondary, but most people are up and riding in a few hours. Take your time and learn properly, the reward is well worth it!
Got More Questions About Kiteboarding?
Check out the Kite4Life Knowledge Base on www.kite4life.org.