Kitesurfing has only been a mainstream sport for a little more than ten years, so there are many misconceptions about how it works, what gear you need, how much it costs, and how safe it is. When most people think of kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, they imagine it to be the same as windsurfing or wakeboarding. In reality, this sport is unlike anything else on the market. Despite the fact that it is a board sport, it is in reality composed of 75% kite flying and 25% board riding.
Photo Credits @Joshua Emanuel
Durban, South Africa
“Will I Get Blown Away?”
Fear of being “blown away” is a common misconception among those who have never kiteboarded before. It’s easy to find videos of kiteboarding accidents on YouTube. Kiteboarding can be dangerous, but with certified training, you reduce that risk. A professional instructor will be able to teach you the safety steps, the correct techniques and significantly reduce your risk of injury. Understanding how a kite flies will help you learn faster and ensure that you never get blown away!
“I don’t have enough power & strength for that sport.”
This is the most common thing I hear. What most people don’t realize is that the kite’s pulling force is held by your harness, which means you don’t need any strength at all. Furthermore, technique is important in kitesurfing, which you will learn step by step in your kitesurf lessons. When compared to windsurfing or surfing, kitesurfing is the easiest and fastest sport to learn and requires the least amount of strength.
“I’m not very athletic, I would have a hard time learning it.”
Kitesurfing is primarily about coordination at first, not fitness level. Which you will understand as soon as you begin learning the ropes. Indeed, kitesurfing is a full-body workout, and you’ll be exhausted after the first few lessons. However, your body quickly adapts to new challenges, and after a few sessions, you will have all the muscles needed for the task.
“A 3-day-course just to learn it??? That seems quite long. If I learn surfing I’ll be on the water in my first lesson.”
It usually takes the average person about 6-10hrs, at least three days, which may appear to be quite long at first. Some people, become frustrated that they must only practice kite control on the beach on the first day without being able to get into the water. However, learning to control the kite is the foundation for everything that follows. Kitesurf lessons are very well organized, and each step is just a little more difficult than the first. That is why you must learn to put all of the pieces together until you are able to perform the waterstart. Surfing has a much steeper learning curve, even if it does not appear so at first. It is much easier and faster to become a decent kitesurfer than to become achieve a similar level in surfing. That’s exactly what I like about kitesurfing: you can progress really quickly.
“I’m too old for this extreme sport!”
We have been teaching kitesurfing for years and have had students of all ages. And We have successfully taught clients ranging in age from 5 year olds to late 70s. You can never be too old. In fact, kiting is a very popular sport among retirees. Because the sport isn’t physically demanding, walking a round of golf requires more effort. The sport can be as extreme or as relaxing as you want it to be.
“I’m too skinny / heavy for kitesurfing…”
Kitesurfing is based on basic physics. If you’re light, you’ll only need a small kite. If you’re heavier, you simply use a larger kite and, depending on your level and the spot conditions, larger boards that provide more flotation.
“It’s too dangerous for me!”
In recent years, safety systems have vastly improved. The first kiters in 2004 were completely insane as the The first systems were extremely hazardous. However, today’s kite equipment has a very high safety standard. If you learn kitesurfing properly, you will be familiar with all of your kite’s safety systems and how to react in potentially dangerous situations. Though equipment design and safety have come a long way since the beginning of kiteboarding, there are still many misconceptions. With proper instruction and basic core strength, almost anyone can try and enjoy this immensely rewarding sport.
“It’s too expensive.”
I agree that it is more expensive than, say, buying surf gear. However, good deals on kitesurf packages are always available. Once you’ve decided you want to keep kiting, I’d recommend starting with used gear that’s still in great shape and isn’t more than four years old. You should be cautious when purchasing equipment that is more than five years old, as significant safety improvements have been made in recent years. You can also save money by purchasing a package that includes both a kite and a board.
“I don’t need a lesson”
Just because you’re a professional wakeboarder or surfer, doesn’t mean you’re a good kiteboarder. You must first learn how to fly the kite. Kiteboarding is made up of 80% kite skills and 20% board skills. If you are not an expert kite flyer, you will never have the opportunity to put your board skills to use behind the kite.