240706224_ac32f3ba7eImage credit: Andre Charland.


Kiteboarding is the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s a combination of windsurfing, surfing and kite flying. It also has elements of snowboarding and wakeboarding. There is literally no feeling quite like kiteboarding on the ocean.

Kiteboarding is characterized by a rider whose feet are on a surf-board/kiteboard while being pulled by a kite in the air. He is connected to the kite by 25ft kevlar lines which hook into a harness. The board allows the rider to firstly, control his/her direction of travel and secondly, to manipulate the power generated by the kite.

What is the required fitness level for kiteboarding?

If you can run 4k in one go, swim a 100 meters without getting winded and if you are comfortable in open water then I think you will find it easy to kiteboard. I’ve seen kiteboarders of all weights and ages. Due to the large amount of power generated by a kite, in my honest opinion, the sport is more about technique than fitness. However if you find yourself in a dangerous situation then athletic fitness will definitely help.

How do I get started?

You should definitely start by taking lessons at your local kiteboarding school. Kiteboarding is one sport where you could get hurt very badly if you try to learn on your own. I have a written a few articles which will give you an idea of how to keep the cost of lessons to a minimum :

7 Things To Do Before Your First Kiteboarding Lesson

How To Practice On A Trainer Kite

If you read the above articles, do what they say and are in good athletic shape then I dare say that you’ll be able to get going on a kiteboard by the end of your first set of lessons. Most people will require quite a few more lessons to get on the board.

Where can I kitesurf?

You can kitesurf literally anywhere that you have side-shore wind and water. Some beaches do restrict kiteboarding and you should check with your local beaches if they allow it.

The easiest way to find out kite-able beaches is to find your local kiteboarding shop and ask them. KitesurfingSchool.com has a good list of all kiteboarding schools that you can start with. Otherwise google is your friend.

Some schools will, for a fee, ferry you to a location where you can practice your kiteboarding skills and help you out if you get into trouble. This is very useful if you are just starting to learn and you dont have complete faith in your ability to rescue yourself.

How much does it cost to get started kitesurfing?

The required minimum gear consists of

  • a kite,
  • a bar and lines to connect to the kite,
  • a board and
  • a harness.

Accessories that you may need depending on where you live include a wetsuit, a pfd, a helmet, a rashguard and waterproof glasses.

You can get kitted out for a second hand kiteboarding set from $600 to $800.

I would say that kiteboarding is initially, a little more expensive that snowboarding but cheaper in the long run. This is because you dont have to pay for lift tickets again and again and again :) .

How much time does it take to learn kitesurfing?

Learning to kiteboard is controlled more by external factors than anything that has to do with you. Namely, the weather, the quality of the instructor, the equipment etc. My article on waterstarting will give you an idea of how these factors will affect your learning.

If you account for all of the above external factors then I would say it will take about 12 hours of lessons on average to be able to get up on the board. Now this will vary depending on your athletic ability, your knowledge for other board sports and as stated before the weather conditions etc.

Lots of kiteboarding schools advertise that you only need 9 hours to learn how to kiteboard. What they actually mean is thats the minimum time to get to a point where you can stay on the board for about 4 seconds is with 9 hours of lessons :) .

Bottom Line: If you can minimize the external factors then you can minimize the number of hours of lessons you need to learn to kiteboard.

How is kiteboarding different from kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing is now usually reserved for describing kiteboarding with a surf board and usually only for cases where there are waves involved. This is not a 100% strict rule and some people do use it when talking about regular kiteboarding.