So you want to learn to kitesurf but feel as if you need a bit of training before hitting the kitesurf lessons so you can fly through with ease! Awesome! In fact this is the best way to get your kite flying skills up to scratch making the learning curve a much more enjoyable experience for yourself, which is what kitesurfing is all about! This small article is in no way a supplement for real physical kitesurf lessons, but rather pushing you in the right direction to get those kite flying skills under wrap and give yourself the edge for when you eventually do take kitesurf lessons.
Pre-lessons equipment and training
As an option to help boost your level of confidence and control with a kite on the up run to your lessons, not to mention how much this will improve your progression and embedding of kite flying into your muscle memory, you might want to consider purchasing a small trainer kite. Usually with most schools, depending on the conditions and the amount of space they have to operate in, they will start you off with a trainer kite to gain a better understanding of how the kite works within the wind window. We use the term ‘muscle memory’ when learning as this relates to how our body reacts to the kite in regards to steering and generating power. Muscle memory can be extremely useful when learning as after a while of flying, it can allow you to control the kite without looking at it allowing you to focus on the other parts of your lessons such as putting the board on your feet for example. It’s just like riding a bike, once you have learn’t it, you cant un learn it!
Having a trainer kite also gives you some fun to be had on a light wind day and can also keep the kids or the rest of the family busy when your out riding! Any form of kite flying whether in low winds or high winds will benefit you later by improving your kite control and understanding in different conditions. Below are a few kites we would recommend, each with different advantages starting from the cheapest.
The Cross Kite Air is your super basic, two line kite that is great for getting the family and kids involved as they are designed not to pull you and more for the enjoyment of general flying. As a beginner kite, the Cross Kite is better flown with two people; one to fly the kite and the other to throw the kite up after crashing it etc. This kite is a great budget option for anyone looking to have fun kite flying with the family as well as focusing on their general kite control.
The two-line Peter Lynn Hype Trainer Kite would be your first stop to having a kite that generates a good amount of pull which will help when moving to something bigger. By using a control bar you can can develop a very similar muscle memory used when flying larger kitesurfing kites with more technical control bars. Although great for family use also, these kites generate a little bit of pull in higher winds and mainly work as a kite to help learn the dynamics of the wind window such as generating power etc. This kite will ideally require a second person also to help relaunch the kite after crashing.
The Ozone Ignition and the HQ Rush Pro are both a 3-line trainer kite often found in kitesurfing schools for their strong structure and self-relaunchable design. They both enable you to focus on power generation and control using a 3-line control bar to which the third line acts as a “break line”. This “break line” also allows an individual to self relaunch a kite without another persons help whilst also being able to ground the kite without crashing it. This can prove to be very useful and certainly a lot less frustrating than two line kites on the road to progression into kitesurfing. As the Ignition and Rush Pro are designed to generate pull, it can give you a better feel and understanding of what it is like to fly something bigger such as a kitesurfing kite and can be used as a progression into land boarding. These kites are also an excellent choice for family days down the park with a kite also!
Now what better way to learn to kitesurf than have a kite you can fly, crash and relaunch independently in the water without the worry of it filling with water and sinking. The HQ Hydra is one of few trainer kites that fills itself with wind when launching and traps it inside sealing it off meaning you can crash it on to the water and it will simply float until told to do otherwise. These kites are very well designed, great fun and great practice for kitesurfing as they allow you to partake in various kite control and power generation methods such as body dragging.
As a whole there are options for any one on any budget to boost their kite flying abilities and fly through their lessons with ease. Around 80-85% of your learning curve will be based around kite control whereas the rest will be based on theoretical, safety and board control to which having pre studied for may result in gliding through the further 15-20%.
When it comes to pre-tuition training that does not involve the practical use of a kite there are of course a few options still:
Progression DVD’s and online training
Probably one of the most recognised kitesurfing training videos known in the industry is the Fat Sands Progression DVD’s, although an effective and informative way to learn and understand kitesurfing, these still CANNOT replace the practical and safe environment of learning with an instructor and should only be used for theoretical knowledge to learn from. The Progression series are split up to help you advance from one level to the next starting from Beginner, to Intermediate and then on to Advanced.
Other online training videos found on Youtube, Vimeo etc, can also be useful however only on a theoretical basis and again should not replace practical training. Some things to take into consideration when watching online instructional videos however, are that some may be out dated, to which the equipment and teaching methods may not be up to date with current equipment regarding safety systems, general kite setup and training techniques. Here is a great video on kite landboarding done by one of our team riders Abe Alzoulman which covers all of the land based theoretical and kite skills.
If you would like to read more on how to setup and fly a power kite, check out our “Learning to Powerkite- Session 01”
Please note that a 4-line powerkite is slightly different to a trainer kite and it sufficiently more powerful. With the choice of handles or a bar, 4-line kites are designed for recreational use or for those looking to get in to kite land boarding and buggying, as each of these disciplines require more power. However the same principles of kite flying apply throughout.