Learning To Kite Surf – An OC Guide
There’s no denying that kite surfing is an exhilarating sport. However, the barrier to entry can be difficult if you do not have the available resources.
The first step before buying any of the gear is to find out where your nearest school is. Here you will be able to give kite surfing a go to see if it’s the sport for you.
With that in mind, here are a few steps you can expect to take when pursuing this exciting hobby.
What to expect at the surf school
After booking your first lesson at a local surf school this is what you can expect:
Kite Surfing 101 – The Land Lesson
Kite control is clearly the most important aspect that has to be learned. To ease you into this, your tutor will have you practicing kite handling while on dry land.
Beach-based lessons allow the beginner to learn how the kite moves through the air, and how to keep control of it.
Training kites have shorter lines than a normal surf kite. You will be taught about the 180-degree arc in the sky where the kite should be flown. This is called the ‘wind window’.
The first step is learning how to manipulate the kite within this window. You will acquire the skills to control the position and direction of the kite as if you were being pulled behind it.
Body dragging is an important step in your learning. You will practice this before even connecting a board to your feet.
The process sounds a little daunting, to begin with, however, it is necessary. In short, you have to be able to control the kite as it drags you face-first through the water.
A baptism of fire in many ways, you will begin this part of your training by flying the kite close to the water.
Keeping your head down and legs together your aim is to turn your body into a rudder.
The force of the kite will drag you through the water, while you control its direction as you receive a face full of the blue.
This is an essential part of kite surfing when you need to retrieve a lost board.
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Kite Surfing – The First Run
Now it is time to get in the water with your board.
For the first few runs, you will be expected to move with your board pointed approximately 45 degrees downwind toward the kite.
It will be easier to get up and away doing this. Furthermore, your path will have less resistance.
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Steps for your first successful kite surfing run:
- Your kite control will come into action now. First, you need to hover the sail at a neutral noon position, (your instructor will clarify what this is within your environment)
- Then, it is time to mount the board by slipping your feet into the foot straps.
- The board should be positioned downwind
- Dive your kite hard while at the same time forcing your weight onto the board.
- Once upright, you need to dive the kite once more to gain acceleration. (If you do not get moving soon enough, the inertia will see you fall back into the water)
- Position the kite to catch the wind so that you accelerate away – your board will begin planing.
- Once you are moving, lean back at a 45-degree angle.
- Hold your body position while pushing your hips forward and shoulders to the sea.
- Enjoy the immense pleasure of surfing along the water.
How to kitesurf upwind
Once you have mastered riding your kite with the wind, it will time to learn to ride upwind.
This will stop you from having to get out of the water and walk back to your starting point using the beach. The wind will take you back instead.
The steps you should take to kite surf upwind are as follows:
- Fly the kite low and maintain even power.
- Lean back and swivel your hips and upper body in the direction you want to tack.
- Reposition your weight so it is flowing through your back foot. This will help keep your edge from slipping down-wind.
- Keep your eyes pointed over your shoulder towards where you want to end up.
- Reach your starting point, and do it all over again.
Well done, once you have successfully mastered the above skills, you will be well on your way to being a competent kitesurfer.
And while there is clearly no substitute for booking a class, receiving practical instruction, we hope these tips have given you an idea of what’s in store.
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Image Credits: Pixabay.com