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Fi learns to kitesurf!

September 8, 2011

After years of pondering and stalling I finally took the plunge (quite literally) and learned to kitesurf and it’s SO MUCH FUN! I really wish I’d learned years ago.

I booked the beginner kitesurfing course which included all the equipment and 5 lessons (10 hours) with an IKO instructor. I wore a helmet (and looked ridiculous!) with a walkie talkie radio attached, meaning my instructor, Alex could always talk me through what I needed to do next. This gave me the confidence I needed to finally give it a go. This is the course plan. Some people learn much faster and can get on the board sooner.  Snowboarding and wakeboarding all help but no previous water sports are necessary.

LESSON 1 – Learning how to fly a land based kite. So no getting wet yet! I was a bit hopeless at this and I think that’s why I put off for so long as the kite seemed a bit temperamental. We also learned how to set up the kite and the safety systems. Kitesurfing is really safe these days.

LESSON 2 – The fun begins! Finally we get to cool down in the water and learn how to control the kite (without having to think about the board). This is called ‘bodydragging.’ Alex did the first ‘bodydrag’ with me as I was so scared. Then I was set free on my own and realised very quickly that the water based kites are so much easier to control than the land based kites. I could put the kite exactly where I wanted it to be and could place it in the power zone or safety zone depending on how much power I needed.

LESSON 3 – This was all about building confidence with the kite and how to bodydrag back upwind (useful when you loose the board – which happens quite often at first). Plus other kite control exercises. BRILLIANT – I loved woooshing through the water. In fact it was so much fun I didn’t really want or need the board!

LESSON 4 – The board! After a quick chat on the beach about how to put the board on my feet in the water it was time for action. This looked quite easy but took a bit of practise to get right. I lost the board a few times but no worries as I knew how to get back to it using my favourite bodydrag upwind technique!!

LESSON 5 – Right time to get on the board and ‘ride.’ Determined not to spend the whole time bobbing around in the sea (although it was so lovely) I tried a bit too hard to get up. This means you pull on the kite too much and stall the kite – hence not enough power to get you up. After a few attempts I managed to go a few metre’s which I discovered later was good progess.

So here I am after a bit of practise on my own and I am now a ‘kitesurfer’ (yay!!) and I never thought I would ever say that! I was so scared before I started of absolutely everything. Now I realise how silly I was to not even try it. I discovered that the kite is really well behaved! You can park it in the water and it will just sit there. You can fly it directly above you (known as 12 o’clock) and it will stay there, as long as the bar (what you hold onto) is straight. You can have more or less power if you wish. Plus if you want to ditch  the kite you can pull your chicken loop and the kite will lose all power. So really safe. Relaunching the kite when it hits the water is now easy compared to the previous years. So if you have heard stories about previous kite experiences don’t be put off or worried. I am now flying around the bay, can go upwind and doing zig zag turns, with the biggest grin on my face.

Many thanks to Alex my patient instructor, Harry Nass and all the Centre 4 crew. I love kitesurfing 🙂 🙂

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Andy Miller permalink
    September 8, 2011 10:53 pm

    Good work Fi. An interesting read for someone who has never combined kite+board+water. Question: were lessons 1-5 consecutive days? Could I expect to get to your success during a week long vacation?

  2. September 9, 2011 11:20 am

    Hi Andy,

    Good to hear from you! I hope you are still enjoying Canada.

    Lessons generally work in consecutive days, wind permitting. Generally 2 hours/ day, most people start trying with the board on the 4th lesson, and by the 5th are riding a bit in both directions. A few practice sessions after that and you will be riding upwind and starting to think about some jumps!

    I think one of the best things about kitesurfing as a watersport is the ease of transporting your kit, once you have learned it is easy to fly with 2 kites and one board, compared to windsurf equipment!

    Cheers
    Toby

  3. Andy Miller permalink
    September 9, 2011 8:13 pm

    Hi Toby, thx for the reply. Canada still working for us yep (theres 3 of us now). Good post from Fi – it certainly touched on a number of issues/concerns/questions I had as a never-ever. Thx again – look forward to paths crossing some time in the future.

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