Sliding, flying, jumping, twisting and turning, has freedom ever tasted any better? A relatively new sport, kitesurfing entered the scene in the 1990s. Also known as kiteboarding, it can be described as a blend between windsurfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding and surfing that offers great maneuverability and speed. No wonder it’s so addictive!
As long as you have a decent wind speed, kitesurfing can be practiced anywhere where there’s water. The kite is at your disposal, you can use it to propel your board and just slide down the water, or you can explore all its functions and truly push your limits.
Kitesurfing is considered an extreme sport. This is due to the many factors that can make the ride go wrong and the technicalities it involves. Not knowing your way with the kite and not being able to read the wind can lead to severe, even fatal injuries, which is why it is imperative that first-timers take professional kitesurfing lessons.
Teaching kitesurfing requires experience and skills. Needless to say, instructors must be officially certified kitesurfing teachers. Avoid learning with friends or relatives who don’t have any teaching experience. Being a good kitesurfer doesn’t make you fit to teach other people and, most often, your friends do not have the appropriate gear to teach in a safe manner. Please be aware that using their own kites might not be suitable for beginners.
Good certification and proven skills make a huge difference. Not only does the instructor need to know how to ride, but also know how to handle the student’s reactions and behavior. It is essential to explain things the right way and know the different steps to take to ensure the student is safe and on the right path to becoming an independent rider.
The instructor should always be in good shape to teach and be ready to rescue his or her students in case of emergency. Should there be an accident, the instructor must know how to give first assistance to the students, and should have access to a phone and first aid kit within minutes. Try to take lessons in your mother tongue in order to fully understand all the instructions.
The weather conditions
Weather conditions play a vital role when it comes to kitesurfing. The wind should be strong enough – 10 knots minimum. However, latest kite models tend to be more efficient and brands now make lightwind kites a lot more beginner friendly. The wind speed limit may vary depending on the student’s weight and level, but it should never exceed 30 knots to stay on the safe side.
Never go kitesurfing when there is a storm approaching. Even though this is common sense, sometimes a kitesurfer’s motivation is stronger than the ability to read the weather. The instructor must at all times be aware of weather changes and check the forecast before each lesson.
Kitesurfing schools should always use gear that is in top-notch condition:
- The bar: For safety reasons, the kite bars should have the quick release system in good condition and ready to be used in case of an emergency. Having a quick release system in poor condition can lead to accidents.
- The lines: With time, the lines get stretched and need to be adjusted. Once in a while, the school’s team must check the lines to ensure they are all the same length.
- The safety equipment: It is important to use the safety equipment at all times and in any kind of environment. The students should always wear a helmet, floatation vest, harness, safety leash, wetsuit (if the water temperature requires one), booties and sunglasses.
- The kite: The kites must be suitable for beginners, easy to relaunch from the water and should consistently have a good depower ability. Schools need to ban C-shaped 5 line kites for the lessons and use easy 4 line one instead.
- The board: It is very important that the boards are suitable for beginners. Schools should be using big boards with a flat shape and good flotation ratio, which make it easier for the student to get up.
Using quality gear that is adapted to your level makes a big difference!
Kiteboarding Obidos Lagoon, Portugal
It is very important to choose an appropriate and safe spot for your kiteboarding lessons. Riding on a flat-water lagoon with consistent winds will definitely help you learn quicker. The waves and currents in open ocean areas can make it difficult to learn at the beginning. Schools should reduce the risk of accidents by teaching in areas with no obstacles. The students need enough space to practice and should not have to worry about anything else other than the kite. Please look at the spot where the kitesurfing school is located before you book your lessons.
Would you like to try kiteboarding on your next holiday? Go to BookSurfCamps.com and choose a kitesurfing camp in a thrilling location! For more information, you can follow Kite Control Portugal on Facebook.