bad_waterstartImage credit: Smudge 9000.

You’ve been taking lessons for kiteboarding and your finding it hard to water start. Your now at the point where you are thinking of just giving up.Well DONT!

In 90% of the cases that I’ve seen, the reason someone has not been able to waterstart is due to external factors. ITS REALLY NOT YOU.

Kiteboarding, especially in the beginning stages, depends a huge number of variables. If some of these variables are out of whack from what they should be then it makes kiteboarding much more difficult.  Try to get a beginner lesson when the conditions are:

  1. Wind speed should be between 14mph and 21mph. Any more and you will get blown off the board.
  2. Wind direction should be side shore or side on-shore.
  3. No or little chop in the water. The more choppy the water, the more difficult it will be to put the board on while keeping the kite in its zenith position.
  4. You should have the newest LEI kite available either of that same seasons model or the next seasons model.
  5. You should have a nice wide board which will make it easier to balance once your up and going. A handle in the middle of the board also makes it easier to hold while your trying to balance the kite.
  6. The instructor should be near you preferably on a jet ski. In Maui, Hawaii this is not possible due to the beach laws but in any case learning in Hawaii is hard and not recommended for a beginner. If the instructor is on a jet ski then this also means that you dont have to keep going back upwind via the beach. This will give you more time to practice your waterstart.
  7. No current in the water. If there is a current in the water then this will either “add” to the power of the wind or “take away” from the power of the wind depending on whether the current is in the same direction as the wind on not. This essentially will confuse a beginner.

Now, its in the interest of an instructor and the lesson provider to always make you take the lesson. So you have to be steadfast when telling them that you dont think the conditions are conducive to learning. This has happened to me on one ocassion in Hawaii where I was taken to a lesson even though the wind was whipping 25 with huge chop (it was winter). I lost like $150 because the instructor egged me to take the lesson. I accept that it was my fault in not being steadfast but I was a beginner so what the hell did I know? :)

If this helps even one other beginner from the same scenario I’ll be very happy. :)
If your thinking of taking a lesson you might want to review my 7 Things To Do Before A Kiteboarding Lesson.