By Paul Lang
This is something we have covered before and we’ll cover it again in the future. Kiteboarding is not an extremely difficult sport to learn and almost anybody can become a kiteboarder.
However, kiteboarding gear is dangerous when not handled correctly and with respect. We feel very strongly that every person who wants to get into kiteboarding should take lessons. Kiteboarding is a very safe sport when practiced correctly, but it can be extremely risky for riders who don’t know what they are doing.
Where do I Get Started?
While you can learn a lot about kiteboarding through magazine articles, online forums, and videos, this is a sport that you shouldn’t learn on your own. Kiteboarding lessons should be looked at as a required part of learning to kiteboard, not as something optional.
If handled incorrectly, kiteboarding gear is very dangerous to you and the people around you. You wouldn’t learn to skydive without lessons would you? Kiteboarding should be looked at the same way.
Where do I find a school?
For starters, you can ask local kiteboarders for recommendations and your area might have an active kiteboarding association that will be able to give you plenty of info.
I Don’t Need a Lesson
Believe me, I’ve heard this plenty of times. When I used to teach kiteboarding, we would regularly get calls from people just wanting to rent gear to use to “try kiteboarding” who would be completely against getting a lesson.
The most common line we got when people were explaining why they didn’t need a lesson was “I used to water ski. This will be easy for me.” Kiteboarding is a unique sport and requires unique skills.
Experience in any water or wind-powered sport will help you during the learning process, but it doesn’t teach you the skills you need to become a safe kiteboarder. Every rider should start their kiteboarding career with lessons, no matter what other sport experiences they bring to the table.
Get the Most from your Lessons
Don’t look at your lessons as a dull requirement that you have to go through to start kiteboarding. It’s a learning experience and you can get the most out if it by following these tips:
- Buy a trainer kite. Before your lesson, fly a trainer kite until you are beyond sick of it and can fly it with your eyes closed.
- Be humble during your lesson. Approach kiteboarding with an open mind and be willing to take your instructor’s directions.
- Ask questions. If there is something you don’t quite understand, ask the instructor to explain again. Your goal is to be able to understand why we do things a certain way in kiteboarding, not just how.
- Consider a kiteboarding vacation. There are certain places in the world that are ideal for learning to kiteboard. You will have a better learning experience and progress faster if you are learning in ideal conditions.
- Have realistic expectations. Kiteboarding has a steep learning curve and even the best riders struggled at first. You’re not going to be blasting around in the surf or throwing massive jumps your first day.