You saw a kite surfer riding the waves while gaining maximum airtime with different tricks.
That moment sparked inspiration in you and you now want to engage in kitesurfing. But the question in your mind is, “how can you start this activity?”
Continue reading to know the things to consider before you start kitesurfing.
You can’t start kitesurfing if you don’t have the right gear. Start your kitesurfing journey by creating a checklist of things to buy. This list should include items like:
You can also use this list to ensure that you’ve got everything packed for kitesurfing trips. The last thing you want is to lose a kitesurfing session because you didn’t bring kitesurfing harnesses or boards.
If you forget to bring essential items for your kitesurfing session, consider searching the neighborhood for a shop. Otherwise, think about using same-day delivery services from online retailers with physical establishments in the vicinity.
Also, bear in mind that purchasing kitesurfing gear may be an expensive investment, especially if you want to buy high-quality equipment. For example, if you’re buying a new board, consider shelling out $1,800 to $2,500.
You can search online marketplaces for second-hand models that’ll cost about a quarter of the original price. But if you take this route, ensure that the board or other essential kitesurfing equipment you purchase is of decent quality. You don’t want to buy a kite that has punctures in it, do you?
Like any sport, knowledge about the activity will help increase the rate at which you enhance your kitesurfing skills. Take a gander at different kitesurfers, and you’ll see some getting dragged by kites of different shapes and sizes.
Note that each kitesurfing kite has its unique pros and cons. Pick the right model based on your specific preferences to help you excel at this activity.
Despite the various kinds of kites on the market, you can put them into two primary categories: Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI) kites and Foil kites.
LEI kites include variants like C-shapes, Delta, Bow, and hybrid models. These kitesurfing kites are single skin units with inflatable bladders to provide structure.
Choosing an LEI kite requires you to fly the tool using a control bar with either two, four, or five lines. Two-line models are the standard variants, whereas four-line kites tend to be relatively common on the market. However, C-shape kites are the five-line models.
You should see several LEI kites used by different kitesurfers as these models are relatively standard for both beginners and veterans. The inflatable bladders in these kites allow the units to float on the water’s surface.
For example, imagine that you want to take a break from kitesurfing on one of Texas’ beaches. You can deflate an LEI kite, sit on your kitesurfing board, and re-launch the kite with relative ease if you want to get back into action.
Perhaps the most apparent difference between foil and LEI kites is that the former doesn’t have inflatable bladders. Instead, these models function with either open or closed air cells. These components fill up with air, allowing the kites to take shape as the airflow enters.
But one drawback of using foil kites is that the air cells can get filled with water once they hit the water’s surface, causing them to sink. Nonetheless, these units are ideal for water practice.
Moreover, foil kites have more efficient designs than their LEI counterparts. This is because foil models can generate more power and function better in light wind conditions than LEIs. But controlling foil units has a steeper learning curve than LEI kites. Therefore, foils are better suited for veterans or expert kitesurfers.
If you find it challenging to distinguish LEI kites from foil models, the latter has a higher aspect ratio than the former.
In other words, foil kites are thinner and longer, making their designs similar to paragliding wings.
Contrary to what other people may think, you don’t need a Greek god’s physique to start kitesurfing. You may even see some 10-year old kids enjoying the activity at beaches and lakes.
Nonetheless, consider being at an appropriate fitness level that allows you to have intermediate to excellent core strength. This is because kitesurfing is more about controlling the core rather than having superior arm strength.
The arms aren’t straining while you’re kitesurfing, as the core tightens with each pull of the harness. Thus, don’t think that it’s all about the gear when preparing yourself for this water sport. Ensure that your core can handle the strong pull of the kite, mainly if there’s a strong wind.
As you progress through your kitesurfing journey, you’re bound to meet other like-minded individuals. Striking a conversation about the love for the sport is inevitable.
In turn, you may come across some jargon which you should know to communicate with other enthusiasts.
Learning the terms won’t only help you make friends in the kitesurfing community, but you won’t feel lost while watching instructional videos or searching for the correct gear. Some of the kitesurfing terms you’ll come across include:
If you want to launch a kite into the air, the lift’s force should be higher than the weight. Also, gain speed by searching for windy areas with higher thrust than drag. Getting the kite to remain steady requires a proper balance of these four elements.
Other kitesurfing terms that you should become familiar with are airtime, body dragging, and boost, to name a few.
Note that you don’t need to study these terms overnight. Maintain an open mind, and you’ll understand and memorize these terms by heart as you continue with the activity.
Now that you have your gear, perhaps you want to start training on the ground before kitesurfing on open waters.
Kitesurfing training on the ground is also a practical solution for enthusiasts who don’t have access to beaches, lakes, and other water bodies.
First, you need to invest in a trainer kite. This training tool is a relatively small traction kite, allowing you to learn the basics safely. It’s also an excellent way to learn about the sport’s specific aspects, such as wind window and power zone.
Note that traction kites tend to have two or four lines. Nonetheless, three-line models exist but tend to be less common than the two- or four-line variants. Still, consider buying the three-line training kite instead of the two-line model for additional safety.
Next, dig out your old skateboard or buy a new one. Use the traction kite to glide across the land while you’re on the skateboard. Another option is to use a wakeboard if you have that piece of equipment on hand (and if you don’t want to spend extra cash on another item to help you with kitesurfing).
Don’t forget to wear safety gear as you kitesurf on land. Even if you know how to ride a skateboard, kitesurfing can be a tricky activity to learn.
In conventional skateboarding, you need to focus on the road ahead and your balance. But in kitesurfing, you must consider the wind direction and speed as well.
Factoring in these extra elements as you train will help you become a better kitesurfer. Still, expect a few falls, especially when you’re a beginner. Herein lies the importance of wearing proper safety gear as you practice kitesurfing on land.
Perhaps you already know the basics of kitesurfing, and you want to start learning tricks like the “Double Grab Front Roll” or the “Tail Grab Front to Blind.” But the question is, “how do you know if you’re ready to progress?”
Kitesurfing progression requires a familiarity with the sport’s basics, which include the correct forms and terms. You need to become a well-rounded kitesurfer. Hence, you need to know how to handle different kitesurfing situations, including how to rescue other kiters when they’re in trouble.
There’s no harm in learning how to start and progress in kitesurfing. Also, there’s also no shame in asking for help. Don’t forget that you can hire an instructor to help you with your kitesurfing journey.
You may already think that kitesurfing is the best sport to enjoy.
But you still need to learn a few things and buy the correct equipment to start. Kitesurf smart, and you’ll be on your way to progress in this exhilarating water sport.
Keep the above tips in mind to kitesurf your way to happiness.