You may have already heard some of the buzz surrounding kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing. We’re water sports enthusiasts and like to think we’ve given a wide range of them a go.
It’s hard to imagine a more unique feeling than the one you get from harnessing the power of both wind and water in this thrilling activity called kiteboarding.
Even as more people are getting involved with kiteboarding every year, so much remains elusive to so many, simply by virtue of how relatively new the sport is. There may also be the intimidating misperceptions that there is just too much gear and equipment to buy, there is a learning curve that is too steep, or that you have to be a super-athlete to even take a lesson.
Since we not only recommend kiteboarding as one of our absolute favorite water sports (it’s more like, please take our word for this and try it out because you will never forget it and love it and just trust us on this one), we wanted to take the time to demystify the sport and make it accessible to as many people as possible. Some of you may be totally ready to try it out but just have a bunch of questions such as, how to get started, where to take lessons, what equipment you need, and how long it will take for you to be able to kiteboard on your own. We’re here to help.
Welcome to Kiteboarding 101.
What is Kiteboarding Exactly?
Kiteboarding is unique in the world of water sports but has similarities with other activities such as surfing and wakeboarding, which you may already be familiar with. Kiteboarding harnesses the power of both wind and water and utilizes a kite and board to launch you across the water. It’s a common misconception that you need to be at the beach to enjoy this water sport, especially when referred to as kitesurfing. But the reality is that you only need H20 + O2 to kiteboard, which means you can do it at the beach in heavy tides or on peaceful lakes, rivers or lagoons. There are many different ways to enjoy this water sport. First, it’s important to cover your bases when it comes to learning and safety.
Do I Need to Have Any Particular Skills Before I Can Take a Lesson?
You definitely do not need to have any particular skill other than being able to confidently swim in open water. Besides that, you shouldn’t assume you need to have surfed or snowboarded or even knee boarded behind a boat before. Many novice kiteboarders come to lesson #1 without an ounce of prior experience, but a big desire to learn.
If I’m Already an Athletic Person, Do I Really Need to Take a Lesson?
Big resounding yes to this one. As a matter of fact, this applies to just about any water sport where you find yourself in the water with other people, and any water sport such as this one, which requires getting used to gear and equipment that you may have never used in the past. Also, in the case of kiteboarding, you need to acquire foundational skills such as controlling your kite, understanding wind currents, and getting on your board. The bottom line is that lessons equip you with the knowledge you need to have optimal fun in the most safe way for you and everyone else, and lessons also accelerate the time-frame for when you can actually get out onto the water by yourself for a dose of the most adrenaline-pumping thrills you can imagine.
What Can I Expect to Learn in a Standard Lesson?
Taking kiteboarding lessons gives you the knowledge and confidence necessary to truly enjoy this sport to its fullest. You’ll start on dry land learning how to control your kite with some basic flying skills. This is an absolute prerequisite for a successful kiteboarding experience. Then you’ll learn how to fly your kite in the water, including learning about “body dragging” and launching. You’ll then move on to getting up onto the board. Besides these tactical instructions you will also learn things such as how to understand wind currents, direction and strength, how to assess a particular area for safety, how to choose the right equipment, how to set up and maintain your gear, as well as critical information regarding wind currents and tides and how to navigate rights-of-way for other riders on the water.
A lot of people also ask us, once I start taking lessons, how long will it take for me to be able to go out on my own? We like this question because it suggests ambition and drive! The answer is that it truly does depend on the progress of the individual, and you should not rush yourself in any way. With that said, it is not uncommon for you to be up and riding after 12-15 hours of practice, or about three to four lessons.
What Gear Do I Need and How Much Does It Cost?
While it does take an investment of some money over time to get up and running with kitesurfing, the word to consider here is investment. It truly is an investment in your future fun, health, and ability to acquire the skill to take on one of the most amazing water sports in the world.
Kiteboarding GearYour basic tool kit includes:
Bar & Strap Kit
Safety Leash & Knife
But WAIT… that doesn’t mean you have to shell all of that out to get started.
They will have everything you need at a reputable kitesurfing shop that gives lessons. Be sure to ask questions and read reviews before selecting an instructor/shop. Don’t worry about purchasing gear or preoccupy yourself too much with the size of board you need or how you’re going to find the perfect-fit gear for you. Taking lessons and working with skilled professionals will equip you with all the knowledge you need to not only learn the sport, but also to plan for how to acquire all of the right gear at the right time. Check out our blog for a deeper dive look at kiteboarding gear and equipment.