A Beginner’s Guide to Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing has experienced a rapid increase in popularity in recent years, with more and more extreme sports junkies opting to give it a try. People from all walks of life are attracted to the thrilling, adrenaline-fuelled nature of kitesurfing and how it combines some of the most appealing elements of surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and windsurfing. Whether you’ve tried it once or twice and would like to know, you’re a complete beginner, or you’re a regular ‘kiter’ looking for a recap of the basics, we’ve created a guide to kitesurfing for beginners to help them get involved with the sport. In this guide, we will cover essential training, core equipment and the basic techniques, all of which will provide the know-how to turn you into a pro; you’ll be shredding the waves in no time!
As with any extreme sport, it’s important that you are in decent physical shape before you commit lots of time, effort and money to a hobby that you are not physically able to participate in. While an extraordinary cardio ability is not required, ensuring your body can stretch and move without injury or cause for complaint is of utmost importance. Exercise classes such as Pilates and yoga are a good way to keep your flexibility up to scratch, while there are also various stretches you can make part of your daily routine that will ensure you have the required range of movement that kitesurfing demands of your body.
Get a Trainer-Kite
Before you hit the open water, as appealing and alluring as it may be, it’s important you have mastered the basics of kite-flying. Invest in a trainer kite, the perfect way to learn and understand the wind window and the power zone, both of which are essential for successful kite-surfing. A 3m2 kite is ideal, but we still advise against practising during particularly unsettled winds; a kite of this size is still enough to lift you off your feet. Friends and family can always use a trainer kite once you have mastered your ‘in-the-water’ game or saved for a rainy day when the conditions out to sea are not up to scratch. You can read more about the minimum amount of wind required for a kitesurfing session with our recent blog, How Much Wind Do You Need to Kitesurf?
Look for Inspiration
As with many things in 2018, you can look to the internet to provide inspiration and instruction when it comes to kitesurfing technique. Do your research before you book any lessons so that you can learn more about the theory behind the moves you’ll be making on the water. There is an array of videos online, all of which provide a different insight and will help you to prepare for your lessons.
Book Yourself Some Lessons
You’d be a fool if you thought you could master a complex sport such as kitesurfing without any lessons from a qualified instructor. This will allow you to learn and progress as quickly and safely as possible, and by working on your flexibility, practising with a training kite and watching videos online, you’ll cut down the required teaching time tenfold. Each kitesurfing journey is different, but as a general rule, twelve hours of lessons will see you standing and riding with confidence. Teaching yourself is not advised, and there is an array of dangers you could find yourself in should you opt for this alternative.
Know the EquipmentLearning a little more about the equipment you’ll be using will better prepare you for both lessons and your first few solo trips alike. Below, we’ve provided a brief insight into each piece of equipment with beginners in mind.
The power kite or traction kite comes with an array of controls and is designed to pull you along the water. There are many different types of kites, including Leading Edge Kites, but bow and delta are the best options for beginners. The latter provides the perfect balance for beginners and are easy to control, while bow kites are a popular option for kitesurfing schools and have sweptback wingtips and a trailing edge both of which make the perfect conditions for beginners.
Kiteboards for beginners need to fit your height, weight and level of experience. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the board, the better when it comes to learning. There is an extensive range to choose from, including directional – with or without straps – and twin tips for beginners or hybrids, skim boards and race boards for those with a little more experience.
Kitesurfing bars attach to the kite through the lines and is something for the rider to hold onto while they control the kite, rotating it as required to the direction he or she would like to head in. Beginners should look to buy a lightweight control bar that is durable and always check with the trusted manufacturer or shop that it is suitable for use with the kite you already have.
If the conditions are cold, there is dangerous marine life present, or you’re kitesurfing near rocks, a wetsuit comes highly recommended. Unless you’re lucky enough to be jetting off on a luxurious European getaway, chances are you’ll need a wetsuit to brave the sea in blighty, regardless of the season!
Granted, not often worn by the pros, but beginners should not hit the open water without one to protect your head from trauma. Head injuries are detrimental in most sports, but as soon as you factor in the sea, things can quickly become a lot more dangerous.
Other equipment needed once you have decided to commit to buying your own gear includes flying lines, a kite harness, safety hook knife, a personal flotation device, signalling devices, GPS, an impact vest and a board leash. While this may seem like a lot, chances are you’ll soon see that riding the wind and the waves is definitely worth it.
That concludes our beginner’s guide to kitesurfing; we hope you have found it useful and that it has perhaps inspired you to book some lessons or check out some equipment. We have an extensive range of kitesurfing equipment that you can browse online today and don’t hesitate to contact the passionate and dedicated team here at F-One if you are a beginner and would like some advice regarding equipment.