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The CO$T$ of KITEBOARDING:
Many people who may be interested in kiteboarding are turned away from the sport because of the initially large investment that it takes to get going as a kiteboarder.
Buying brand new equipment, you can expect to pay in the range of about $1,600-$2,000 as a minimum for your first set of gear. On top of that, you should also expect to pay $300-$600 for lessons to get started.
Basically, you are looking at about a minimum of around $2,000 to have the gear and knowledge to get on the water.
That sounds like a lot of money, but the beautiful thing about kiteboarding is that the wind is free. You could ride for two or more seasons with that initial investment and never spend another dollar on gear.
When you compare the costs of kiteboarding to other sports such as snowboarding (minimum $500 for gear and clothes, $75 or more per day of riding for a lift ticket, plus gas to get up the mountain) and wakeboarding ($500 for a board, $50,000 for a decent boat, plus gas for every session), kiteboarding suddenly doesn’t seem very expensive at all.
Once you have your gear, the only cost you have to go kiteboarding is the gas it takes you to get to the beach. If you are on a budget, you can look for used or last year’s closeout gear and potentially be up and riding for less than $1,200.
The Importance of Lessons
We’ve covered this issue in the past, and it’s important enough that we are going over it again. If you are interested in getting into kiteboarding, you need to take a lesson.
If you kiteboard already and have a friend who wants to learn, you need to encourage that friend to take a lesson. Kiteboarding equipment can be very dangerous if it isn’t used properly, not only to the person flying the kite, but to people who happen to be in the area.
As we’ve said before, you need to think of lessons as cheap insurance. Sure they may cost money, but lessons are much cheaper than destroying that new $1,500 kite and way cheaper than a trip to the emergency room.
I was in Baja one time for a kiteboarding trip, and one guy showed up with brand new gear, a 12-pack of beer, and no clue on how to fly a kite because he had decided that he didn’t need a lesson.
When he launched his kite, it was in the air for about five seconds before he crashed it into a fence, ripping it completely in half. While swearing, he packed up his tattered kite, threw it in his car, and drove all the way back home to California, leaving the beer on the beach for us to enjoy at the end of the day.
By not taking lessons, that guy didn’t save money, he wasted it by destroying a brand new kite. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and take a lesson if you want to learn to kiteboard.
Get the Most from a Lesson:
- Get a trainer kite and an instructional video before your lesson. Fly the trainer kite until you cannot stand doing it anymore and watch the video over and over. Videos and trainer kites can’t replace a lesson, but will help the whole process feel more familiar when you show up to learn.
- If you are a female, consider looking for a female instructor. Girls usually learn better from other girls.
- Consider traveling to a known windy place for your lesson. No location anywhere in the world can guarantee wind, but there are many places that are very likely to have good conditions for learning at certain times of the year. Yes, it will cost more, but you can learn more in three days under the right conditions than you can learn in six months under the wrong conditions.
- Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you understand everything your instructor tells you.
- As soon as you decide that you are going to take a lesson, start paying attention to the wind. Check sites such as ikitesurf.com to find out when and where the wind blows in your area. Constantly think about what direction the wind is coming from. Having good wind awareness will be a huge help on the day of your lesson.
- Have a humble attitude during your lesson. You are not going to be blasting across the water and flying 40 feet into the air on your first day.