A trainer kite is a small foil kite on which you can practice your kite flying skills. Roughly 50% of the skill of kiteboarding is to do with being able to fly the kite to whatever position you want it to go with minimum effort. The other 50% is board-skills, ie, learning how you can adjust the board to change the direction in which your heading and to control the power of the kite. By practicing the different trainer-kite exercises you will familiarize yourself on how a 4 line kite will act and how you can control it. Plus, its a lot of fun! :)

Trainer Kite Skills

The skills that you will acquire by practicing on a trainer kite include:

  • Bar Control – How to use the bar to control the direction and pull of the kite. This includes learning where your hands should be placed on the bar for maximum effect.
  • Understanding the wind window. You will get acquainted to the different parts of the wind window.¬†Understanding this is CRUCIAL to the sport.
  • Self Launching your kite. The method used to self launch a small trainer kite is similar to the one used for larger kites. If you learn how to do this then you do not have to be dependent on other people to help you launch and land your kite.
  • Understanding how to use the wrist leash. Some trainer kites come with a wrist leash which will help you understand how its used to make kitesurfing safer.Understanding how the leash works could mean the difference between losing and saving your $1000 kite.
  • Being able to control the kite without looking at it and with one hand. This is a very necessary skill later as you will need your other hand to hold your board when you step into it.

And after your done with the beginner kite you can give it to your girl/boy friend so that he/she has something to do on the beach while your off kite-surfing. When you start kitesurfing, your friends can use the trainer to kickstart their kitesurfing learning.

This video is a great video which tells you how to use and learn with a trainer kite. The kite featured in the video is also a good buy because its easy to self launch.

Buying a Trainer Kite

There are many different varieties of trainer kites. Make sure you buy one which has a bar and NOT handles. All the kites that you will ride while kiteboarding come with a bar and its imperative you understand how to use one.

Some trainer kites can be used as snow kites in winter. These will be a little more expensive. I would not spend more than $100 – $120 on a NEW trainer kite.

I bought the blue 2m Slingshot kite pictured on the right above.


Have a look on KiteForum and Craigslist for a used trainer kite.

If you have the money and would like to buy a small version of an LEI kite that you will actually use during kiteboarding then you may be interested in OCEAN RODEO RISE SLE 2 METER KITEBOARDING TRAINER KITE. This kite will allow you to practice launching, rigging, flying something thats very very close to an actual traction kite thats used in kiteboarding. If you have the money then this kite will give an idea of all complications that come with a 4 line kite which a 2 line kite cannot.

Trainer Kite Exercises

If you can do the following exercises on a trainer kite without “fudging” then you’ve reached a level where you dont need it anymore:

  1. Be able to comfortably control the kite and keep it at its zenith with just one hand. Keep your hands in the middle of the bar for better control. When comfortable use only one hand. Practice with both left and right hands.
  2. Move the kite in a figure of 8 through left and right side of the wind-window with your eyes closed. First do this with both eyes open and with both hands on the bar. Then do it with one eye open. Then with both eyes closed and finally with both eyes closed and just one hand. (This is difficult  :).
  3. Self launch the kite. There a lot of videos on you tube which will show you how to self launch the kite. This is a very important skill to learn as you will need it when you want to go kiteboarding alone.
  4. Use the power of the kite to pull you from a sitting position into a standing position with both hands on the bar. Essentially you should try to simulate the pull that is created when you water start. I will write a separate entry at some point on waterstarting technique but for now you should be able to find something on youtube :) .