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Image credit: chrischappelear.

The best way to get started kiteboarding is to take a beginner lesson at a local kitesurfing school. Please read this article on What To Do Before Your First Kitesurfing Lesson to learn how you can save money on a beginner kitesurfing lesson by preparing for it before hand. Lessons are not cheap and reading that article could save you the cost of extra lessons (ie, at least $200). Not a bad deal for 15 minutes of your time!

When should I think of buying gear?

You should only think of buying gear after your first lesson and after you feel this sport is for you. Kiteboarding equipment is expensive so make sure you understand what your buying. I will write a separate blog post on what equipment to buy.

What should I do after the lesson?

Most kiteboarding schools will offer a service in which they will take you out to kiteboard at a nice shallow spot where they will keep an eye on you while you practice your new sport. This will be usually much cheaper than a lesson and will usually involve them helping you out when you get into trouble (eg: if the wind dies and your in the middle of the bay, or if one of your lines break etc). I would highly recommend you taking advantage of such a supervised type of situation.

If the above is not available then you should try to get a bunch of people together so that you can split the cost of a rescue boat or find a spot where its very shallow and you can practice without fear of not being able to make it back when the wind dies.

Always make sure that the wind is side shore or side on shore so that in the worst case scenario, you can drop your kite and it will float back to the beach.

What kind of equipment should I buy?

Generally you want to buy a stable kite which is easily re-launchable and forgiving in gusty conditions. For a board, you want some with a lot of surface area as these are more stable and easier to balance against the pull of a kite. I have 2 waroos which is also one of the cheaper kites on the market.

How can I make sure I am safe while kitesurfing?

The most important part that schools omit when you learn to kiteboard is the psychological mindset that you need when your learning to kitebaord. I’ve seen many kiteboarders buy expensive gear and take a lot of lessons and then, on the first day that they kiteboard on their own, they realise how dangerous kiteboarding can actually get and quit the sport.

Kiteboarding is dangerous. You need to accept that before you can become a real kiteboarder. The only way to accept that is if you realise that there are a lot of variables that affect your safety when you kitesurf and the way to stay safe is to keep those variables within the bounds that you are comfortable with.

The specific variables that I’m talking about are:

  1. Weather conditions. If its windier than 22 mph then dont go out. Dont go out if its more than your comfortable with. If the wind is blowing offshore then dont go out.
  2. Location of the kitesurfing spot: The ocean will have  a bigger waves and you will have to self rescue yourself back to shore if the wind dies as your feet wont be able to touch the floor. However in a shallow bay, you’d have the option to literally walk back to shore if the wind dies.
  3. Gear. Check your safety release each time before you go out. Make sure it works! And dont forget to reset it after you;ve tested it. Make sure your lines are all okay and dont have knots and arent strayed from excessive use.
  4. Protective Gear: Wear a helmet to protect your head and an impact vest to protect your torso.
  5. Number of people around to help you in case of a problem. Always go out kiting with a friend. If you cant find anyone to go with then dont go out.

Remember, if in doubt then dont go out. Take another lesson if you have to but only kiteboard when your confident. (Of course if you have kiteboarding in your blood, your not going to listen :)

Stay safe and good winds!

-Vivek