The Learning Curve in Kiteboarding Explained

How long does it take to learn?

(That's probably the most frequently asked question and the hardest to answer!)

Kiteboarding is something that anyone can learn, but has to realize that its not going to happen in one day. Sure, it looks easy enough, but its an ongoing learning experience that requires a commitment to learn. The more you "do your homework", the faster you'll progress, and that begins with finding a good instructor. If properly trained, you will learn to ride safely in a few sessions.

Learning on your own is not an option in this sport, much like skydiving or flying a plane.

Although not a requirement, having board skills and being comfortable in the water really helps decrease the learning curve.

Here's a few examples of good crossover sports to kiting:

  • Wakeboarding/ Cable Park
  • Snowboarding
  • Skateboarding
  • Surfing
  • Skim
  • Other Water/ Board Sports

The first time you fly a power kite, you will certainly find out why they call them "power kites"! These kites create a huge amount of horizontal pull and vertical lift and can easily lift you off the ground, drag you across the ground, or both. The first thing to learn about these kites is that they MUST be respected at all times!

During your lessons, you will be trained what to do, and more importantly, what not to do with the kite, which begins before you even pull the kite out of the bag. People who attempt to learn on their own usually find out the hard way, resulting in an accident or injury. This is why taking lessons is so important!

After your first lesson, you will begin to better understand the wind, the kites, and what you have been reading so much about. There is a HUGE amount of information to be learned to kite safely, not only about flying the kite or riding the board, but picking the right launch site, right equipment, going out in the right conditions, and knowing how to avoid putting yourself in emergency situations. Things happen very quickly when you're hooked to a kite, and you can cover several hundred yards in just a few seconds (high-speed dragging). Many accidents could be avoided by simply practicing further from the shore.

Once you have good kite control, you will progress rather quickly, as the sport is about 75% kite flying and 25% board skills. The board is ALWAYS secondary to the kite, so you must never take your mind off the kite.

Riding and staying upwind is your first big challenge as a kiter, and usually takes people several sessions to get the proper stance for efficently riding upwind. You will surely be doing the "Walk of Shame", which is the term for walking back upwind to your starting point. Keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that affect upwind performance, including board choice, currents, waves, wind conditions, body positioning, kite size, kite performance, etc.

Staying upwind can be quite frustrating at times, so make sure you ALWAYS have an "out" to safely return to your starting point.

After a month or two of riding upwind, you will be eager to learn to jump and do transitions. Both of these maneuvers will take you downwind, so make sure to have your upwind skills, water relaunch, body dragging, and self rescue skills up to par.

Now that you know that even with kiteboarding lessons, it's going to take a while to become a proficent, independent kiteboarder. To maximise your lesson time and retain more of your training, you should know the basic terminology used in kiteboarding in order to understand what your instructor is talking about during the lesson. Click the button below to continue.

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