CONTENTS

  1. Do I need to be strong?
  2. Am I too fat/ tall/ small/ old/ young?
  3. Is kite boarding very dangerous?
  4. Do I need a lesson?
  5. How fast can I learn?
  6. is kiteboarding expensive?
  7. Can I kite if I don't live near the ocean?
  8. Should I save money and buy a kite from ebay?
  9. Should I start with a second hand kite?
  10. How hard should I pump my kite?

    DO I NEED TO BE STRONG


    Even if your arm muscles are virtually non-existent, you can still manage to kiteboard for hours straight. With kiteboarding, you wear a harness so the pressure is taken off your arms, thus allowing even small people to kiteboard. The youngest kiter we know of is only 3 years old, and the oldest is 77.

    AM I TOO FAT / TOO TALL / TOO SMALL / TOO OLD / TOO YOUNG


    Kites come in many sizes. If you're a smaller rider, you'll be riding a smaller kite. Lessons start by learning to control a small trainer kite that has hardly any power. You spend time with a trainer kite until you know how to use the position of the kite relative to the wind to control the power. Only then do you move through the stages that will eventually see you flying a larger kite that suits your size and the wind strength.
    150KG/300-pound kiteboarders are around too! They're just using a bigger kite and board than the average rider.
    Height doesn't matter either, but if you are a petite rider, then a seat harness and a bar designed for shorter reach will be the way to go.
    The youngest kiter we know of is only 3 years old, and the oldest is 77.

    IS KITEBOARDING VERY DANGEROUS?


    Kite boarding used to be very dangerous but many advances in hybrid and bow kite designs over the last 10 years have resulted in a better ability to control the power that they provide.Effective safety release systems have also developed.
    1 M people die every year in car crashes – but you still drive. A professional cricketer died recently playing cricket. From 2010 to 2015, 68 people died while rock fishing in Australia. Everything we do has a risk, but Kiters prefer to focus on life and enjoyment.
    They realise that, as long as they take the necessary precautions, kiteboarding is relatively safe.
    However, if you don't know what you're doing, things can go bad, very fast. So take some lessons!
    Use your common sense. Never ride by yourself. Don't kite in storms or other times when the wind isn't steady and reliable. Always be ready to release the kite. Always consider where the wind will blow you to if things go wrong. Just last night some friends of mine who are very experienced kiters (but who take greater risks that I think they should) had to be helicopter rescued from the mangroes late at night after they were missing for hours. I don't know yet what exactly happened, but I do know that something went wrong and so they drifted down wind into the mangroves - which just happens to be a Bull Shark breeding ground. 

    DO I NEED A LESSON?


    Lesson’s with a good instructor are the key to understanding what you are doing, how to respond when things go wrong, and how to stay safe.
    Remember the kite boarders motto: “When in doubt, don't go out”.
    Would you go scuba diving without a lesson or a buddy who knows what they are doing. Would you jump in a plane and fly it off the ground without a lesson? If you would, then please stay away from kite boarding. We don’t want people like you ruining our sport. If you screw up, not only are you putting yourself at risk, but also everyone on that beach. It is absolutely critical that you know what you are doing.
    If you don't know what you're doing, a kite can instantly pick you up and throw you around.
    So let's say you bought some gear on eBay and brought it to a busy beach. You watched a few youtube videos and manage to get the kite set up and your buddy is helping you launch the kite. The kite goes up in the air, you pull slightly on one of the sides of the bar and the kite zooms down and around with great speed and power through what is known as the power zone. The kite launches you Superman style about 50 feet downwind into a crowd of people (or headfirst into rocks).
    The lines of the kite come within inches of the heads of all the people downwind of you on the beach (with enough force to kill).
    Here’s what that looks like:
A minimum of at least one lesson is mandatory. Sorry, no exceptions. 

Even if you're a pro wakeboarder/snowboarder/windsurfer, etc., you need to learn how to fly the kite. Become an expert kite flyer, and then you'll get the chance to put those board skills to good use!

You see, Kiteboarding is 80% kite skills, and 20% board skills. So pick up a trainer kite and spend time flying it, and then take a lesson to understand how it all comes together – safely!

HOW FAST CAN I LEARN?

Learning to kite is fun and has its’ fair share of thrills. The only thing that can spoil it, is your expectations about how quickly you should be progressing! We often form our expectations because it looks so easy – right! And it easy, but you need to coordinate about 5 things together at the exact same time to make it work. And getting those things happening when you are in an unfamiliar position (lying on your back), in an unfamiliar environment, with unfamiliar equipment, following unusual instructions just takes a little time.

Each year the gear and teaching systems are getting better and better. There is a progression of little steps you can take to enable steady progress.

However, do not expect to be up and riding your first time (or second time for that matter). Very few people can do this.

If you want to be one of those people, then here is one sure way to improve your chances. Spend as much time as you can on a trainer kite (practice flying one-handed, hooked in to a harness, with your eyes shut, etc.).

Our recommendation is to drop your expectations on how fast you can do it and instead focus on learning, understanding, making progress and having fun. 

I remember when I wanted to learn to kite board. I decided to buy a trainer kite with a friend who also wanted to learn. So we went halves.

We spent $350 on a kite that was the biggest trainer kite we could find – 3.5 meters. We waited until it was windy and went to park. My first experience was being dragged down the park in high winds and we very nearly lost the kite into the tops of the trees in a valley below the park from which it would have been irretrievable.

The kite then served us well and when it came time for a lesson, we were pretty good at flying kites.

However, if I had to do it again, I’d buy a 1.5M trainer kite for about $US150 (see http://www.panshkite.com/) and use it every chance I got so I could learn to steer the kite around in the wind and also see how the power of the thing changes as it flies into different locations.

Kiteboard instructors will start you off with a trainer kite, and once they see that you have the necessary skills, they will then move you onto the next step.

Do you understand the wind window? When you can you fly the kite one handed, backward, lying on your back, and with your eyes shut? Can you use the power of the kite to pull you up from a sitting position to a standing position?

See this video for more on trainer kite flying:

Great – now take your first lesson. You can thank us later. 🙂

IS KITEBOARDING EXPENSIVE?

What else can you do that is heaps of fun for just $5.71 per hour? 

Let's think about this. If you want to wakeboard, you need a boat ($30,000) plus plan on spending a good chunk of money on gas ($70?) each time you go out. Maybe you could do rock climbing? Skateboarding? (Personally, I'm not a big fan after breaking my hip in a very violent crash!)

With kiting, there is no cost to go out, and you can still do all the cool wakestyle tricks!

Here’s a glimpse of what’s possible:

In the wintertime, you spend money on lift tickets, petrol, accommodation, food and drinks every time you go skiing/snowboarding ($200 easy/day).

Did you know that you can strap your snowboard/skis on your feet and hold onto the kite and rip it up for free (use the same kite and harness, just add your skis/board).

Here’s what that looks like:

Let’s say you surf – that’s cheap! Right? Well, that’s true – but think about how much time each surf session you are actually surfing and how much time you are paddling, waiting for the waves, falling off etc. What is your time worth?

Even an expert surfer in perfect waves would be struggling to be standing up surfing for 5% of the session time. With kiting, you are on your board close to 100% of the time! If you are in waves, you are having fun going back out through the waves too!

Here’s what that looks like:

And catching waves on a surf board with a kite is much like surfing, but with more options on what you can do. This is what’s possible:

When you go kiting, the wind is free! You can have hours and hours of fun from your gear. Looked after your kite and it’ll serve you well for many years. Your board will last even longer. So let’s say your gear and lessons cost $2500, your gear lasts 5 years, and you kite just 20 days each year – so that’s 100 sessions. And each session lasts 3.5 hours. At the end of 5 years, you sell all your gear for $500. So you’ve spent $2000 for 350 hours of fun or $5.71 per hour.

What else can you do that is heaps of fun for just $5.71 per hour? 


I DON’T LIVE NEAR THE OCEAN SO I CAN’T KITE.

Wrong. Kiteboarding can be done in any large body of water. Inland spots like lakes and reservoirs can provide the smoother water which most kiters love! Kiteboarding can also be done in the wintertime (snowkiting) on open fields or frozen lakes with a snowboard or skis. And then there is kite ground boarding (KGB) where you use a landboard (think skateboard with huge wheels) with a kite; the possibilities go on and on.


CAN I -- USE MY WAKEBOARD.

You can if you want to make learning to kite miserably slow.

A kiteboard is much lighter, so it needs less power to get up on a plane. The bindings on a wakeboard are boot-like and hard to get into, compared to the easy-entry, sandal-like binding of a kiteboard. They rae dangerous for this reason.

A kiteboard also has less rocker (meaning it is flatter) and is meant to be ridden on the rail (edge). A kiteboard cuts through the chop of a wave while a wakeboard bounces off it. Try to imagine wakeboarding in a choppy ocean- doesn't sound too good, does it?

A kiteboard on the other hand, lets you cut right through all that chop and gives you a nice ride, thus opening up the possibility to ride basically anything. SO do yourself a big favour, and buy a kite board!

SHOULD I SAVE MONEY AND BUY A KITE FROM EBAY?

I started with a second hand kite. Every time I went to the beach, it would leak air. To fix it, I had to replace a whole lot of parts that were not glued properly. The end result was a kite that wasted a lot of time, caused a lot of frustration and cost me a lot more money than I expected because the repairs were costly.

Unless you are a seasoned kiteboarder and know exactly what to look for in a kite, stay away from eBay and other similar sites when you buy your first kite.

Have you ever noticed how every kite listed on there is "great for beginners"?

Don't believe everything you're told. Many times, the kite is old (old in kiteboarding can mean anything over 2-3 years old) and may not have much in terms of the ability to depower the kite or other safety features.

Remember, kiteboarding is still quite a new sport, and the equipment today is one hundred percent better than it was 4 years ago. 

Also, many times with kites on eBay there are little holes in the kite's bladder, so it goes down. Maybe it either doesn't come with the bar and lines or it may come with some beginner's homemade version of a bar and lines or the lines are worn or damaged and might break. Often at least one of these lines is stretched out, so the kite is out of tune and hard to fly.

As you know, you get what you pay for! The right gear makes all the difference and the wrong gear can be seriously dangerous!

SHOULD I START WITH A SECOND HAND KITE SO WHEN I CRASH IT, IT DOESN’T MATTER?

See the above advice about buying a second hand kite. Also, even advanced kiters crash their kites – often harder than beginners. New kites are designed with tough material that is hard to tear. They can take a pretty serious pounding before they break. If they break, they can be fixed without affecting their performance.

If we didn't answer your question then please send it to us using this form.

HOW HARD DO I PUMP MY KITE?

Buzz kites fly GREAT with 8-9 PSI in the leading edge.

It's VERY difficult to over-inflate a kite with a hand pump. If a kite blows up with a hand pump, then it was due to damage elsewhere on the kite which weakened its structural integrity.

Most hand pumps achieve pressures of about 10 PSI with an 80kg person doing the pumping. That’s using ALL your body weight to push down on it. Great news!  Many people only use around 5 PSI and their kite underperforms.

Here are three ways to check your pressure:

1: The bend test: Does the leading edge bendnearthecentre of the kite? If it does, then pump it up some more!

2: The ‘flick’ test: more pressure -highernoisewillflicked. While it's connected to your pump leash and give it a flick. ‘PING’ = good. ‘PUH’ = bad.

3: Use a gauge: A gauge will give you a pretty good idea of what pressure is being held in the pump hose. 

If you are learning and frequently smashing your kite into the water or ground, then you might want to try a little less (5 psi) so you don't pop your kite. When you are flying high then increase the pressure.