Well it just does !!
How many people would buy a hang glider and chuck themselves off the first steep hill and work out what to do when they are in the air?
The forces of nature involved in our wonderful sport much like hang gliding are what makes it so addictive and exhilarating, however those forces are powerful!
Kitesurfing is a safe sport if practiced safely and the only way to do that is to get properly trained.
There are many good instructional videos out there and we at Easy Riders actually recommend some of them to students to help their progression, however there is no substitute for a guiding and steadying hand on the controls when you take your first steps on the Kiteboarding journey.
We could leave it at that because that’s the crux of it.
But here’s a little more as to why you should take physical lessons when learning to kitesurf.
It’s somewhat hypocritical of me to write this as I have to be honest, I didn’t take lessons myself, but now (fortunately) things are very different to 1997 when I began my kitesurf journey.
This was before the invention of the twin tip, 4 line bar, and indeed kitesurf instructors! It was a complete trial and error process…. I have to admit to trying to use the kite the first time without even pumping it up!
23 years down the line there are a collection of great equipment manufacturers , thousands of instructors and hundreds of kitesurfing/ kiteboarding schools worldwide providing safe value for money lessons on how to get into kitesurfing safely. We at easy riders are one of the nationally accredited BKSA schools based in Poole harbour.
In fact, just recently the Global kitesurf Association have released a new ISO standard for the chickenloop release systems, ensuring all perform to some minimum safety standards.
But lets get back to that common question. Do I need lessons to learn to kitesurf?
I often analogise this to riding a powerful motorbike, as it’s a little easier to comprehend and compare for people without a concept of kitesurfing.
If you did try to get onto a 600cc sports bike and figure it out yourself with no experience, guidance or knowledge of the machine, it is not going to go well.
In fact the best outcome would be for the novice to not find the start sequence to get the engine going!!
So to lay out a few basic areas that wouldn’t go so well in kitesurfing:
When delivering instructor courses, I ask candidates to predict the likelihood of a random dog walker on the beach rigging a kitesurfing kite correctly.
They usually indicate about a 90% failure rate. (some women perhaps may read the instructions carefully enough to nail it) but that is just the start of how a good teacher can help guide you safely through learning the basics of kitesurfing.
Orientation and wind awareness
If you don’t have prior experience it can be very confusing. I had a competitive windsurf and dinghy sailing background and I still needed to study how the ‘Wind window’ worked/moved and reacted to you the pilot.
If you rig/launch/ attempt to fly a kite incorrectly, it simply won’t work, and is most likely to end with you being dragged along the ground.
Flying the thing….it is just like flying a kite surely???
Well yes it is, although it’s a fuel-injected freight train of a kite with a 3 dimensional trimming system.
I have over the last two decades, only had a handful of people who have taken to this control system almost immediately.
The flying control and sensation is both ergonomic and flowing once you master it, however, any mistakes once you are on a proper kitesurfing kite are punished both by significant traction and crashing , not good for the kit, or more importantly your knees and elbows, let alone your pride.
Getting on the board……I can wakeboard, How different can it be.
Correct, the actual water start/ board start manoeuvre is almost identical in terms of body position and motion. However, you have to get into the position, and put the board on your feet whilst flying the kite with one hand. Then you have to generate enough power with the kite in the right direction and redirect the kite before it crashes into the water at the same time as rising up from the water onto your feet.
You then have to point the board, steer the kite, not fall over, or crash the kite whilst aiming across the wind (which you have to feel and can’t see) all at the same time.
Luckily there are now a number of tried tested and well developed teaching schemes around the world which place all these skills into a logical, safe and digestible order to learn in an enjoyable way.
Having a fair bit of experience in teaching now, and in scheme writing. I believe if you invest in lessons at a BKSA recognised school like Easyriders, you will not only learn safely, you will also learn more quickly and save your bones and pockets.