Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to kiteboard. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at

After two great days at Shacks, I went over to Montones to kite with two new guys I met. I had a leak in my 9m, and they were waiting on their boards from a buddy who was held up at the dentist. It was perfect: I had a board, they had kites.

I had taken a few tacks earlier in the day at Shacks, but was overpowered, so I came in. I thought it would be a lot easier at Montones because of the sandy bottom. It wasn’t. My first attempt sucked. I tacked out and lost my board. I struggled to get back to it. I ended up downwind in a wind shadow in no time. Pat had to run down the beach and grab his kite as I watched it getting pummeled by small shore break. I felt terrible.

I was determined to do better. I walked back up the beach with Pat, and started mentally preparing for my upwind tacks. On the forth tack out, a wave knocked my board off my feet. I was body dragging in deep water trying to stay upwind and was struggling to maintain good control on my body drags. I would use too much power and get pulled downwind. I tried to remain calm and keep doing tacks with my body. Eventually I watched a fellow kiter grab my board.

He came as close as he could and dropped it for me. One more body drag and I got right to it. This is still such a stressful process for me. Once I got it, I was having the best session! I was tacking upwind easily out to sea. I was a bit overpowered on the tacks in, but I managed to hold my edge. Once I realized I was staying upwind, I was stoked.

I attempted a few minor carves in the rolling waves on my board. I even got on the face of a wave (accidentally, but whatever, it happened) and rode down the line. I was doing great until four more kiters joined me out there. These guys were all doing tricks and were very good.

I got intimidated in the small crowd and this caused me to sit with the kite at 12 o’clock, making me lose ground. A frustrating fact. I did my best to stay upwind, but managed to end up in the darn wind shadow again. I tried to not make the same mistake as earlier. I pushed the vbar all the way out and held on the right side of the bar (taking me further from shore and into the wind).

After what felt like forever, I decided to hold the other side so I would be closer to shore. I saw Pat standing there and he swam in and grabbed the kite. I unhooked once he had the kite and swam in. I was frustrated because I was kiting the best I ever had, yet the session didn’t end as well. I guess this will be one of many experiences like this!

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