What Will You Learn on a Kitesurfing Camp?
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Sliding, flying, jumping, twisting, and turning. Has freedom ever tasted any better?
Kitesurfing is considered an extreme sport 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 potentially hazardous situations, which is why it is imperative that first-timers take professional kiteboarding lessons.
Luckily, anyone can join a kitesurfing camp, no matter the experience, age, or fitness level. And if you’re wondering what will happen once there and what you’ll learn during your stay, here’s what you can expect from your first kitesurfing camp:
Why should you go on a kitesurfing camp in the first place?
Image credit: Kitegreece
A kitesurfing camp is a package deal. You get accommodation, tuition or guiding, and equipment all in one. Sometimes, transfer from and to the nearest airport is included. Some camps offer daily breakfast or full board as well.
In short, everything is taken care of, except the flights/transportation to the destination, which are not included.
Kitesurfing camps are not boot camps. You shouldn’t expect a daunting schedule that will leave you tired at the end. While they are indeed focused on learning or improving your skills, there’ll be plenty of time to relax, explore the surroundings at your own pace, meet like-minded people, and chill in the evening. Some even go the extra mile and offer awesome combos, such as kitesurfing and yoga, diving, hiking, SUP, or surfing and kiting.
Even if you’ve never tried kiteboarding before, you can go on a kitesurfing holiday!
But kitesurfing camps are not just for first-timers. You’ll find programs for all levels, from complete beginners to advanced and even pros. If it’s been a while since you last did it and need a refresher, if you’d like to progress from beginner to intermediate or from intermediate to advanced, they’re a great opportunity to push yourself outside your comfort zone while enjoying some fun in the sun.
The different types of kitesurfing holidays
Image credit: Surf and Kitesurf Morocco
There are many different types of kitesurfing camps around the globe, and the location is not the only difference.
First and foremost, some camps are geared at specific skill levels, and you should make sure that you choose one that suits your current skills.
Most camps offer group lessons. If you’ll share the lessons with other guests, the instructor-student ratio is very important. For a truly efficient learning process, a 1:2 to 1:4 ratio (one instructor per 2 to 4 students) is preferable. This way, you can make sure you’ll receive personalized feedback and advice.
You can also opt for private lessons. Private camps have package deals for individual riders or semi-private lessons for couples or small groups traveling together.
Some camps provide your own individual equipment so that you don’t have to share the kite with other participants during the lessons. Others only offer one kite per two students. However, if this is the case, the lessons usually last longer.
Furthermore, some camps include higher total hours of lessons than others (for the same stay). A few hours can make a big difference, so make sure you inquire about that prior to booking.
Image credit: Kite in Negros
Most kitesurfing camps are more suited for solo travelers, as they offer the opportunity to meet and hang out with like-minded people. For many, this is the biggest appeal – being able to share the stoke with a community of adventure lovers who are just as excited about the experience as you are.
But you’ll also find camps for families or groups traveling together. And the great news is that not everyone in the group needs to know how to kitesurf. The instructors will adapt the lessons accordingly so that everyone will have fun.
Some kitesurfing camps also offer IKO (International Kiteboarding Association) (IKO) certificates at the end of the course, according to the level achieved during your stay.
If you have some experience under your belt, why not embark on a downwinder? These epic adventures will take you from point A to point B as you fly the kite alongside some of the world’s most spectacular shorelines.
» The location is just as important as the lessons. Find out what are the world’s best kitesurfing destinations for beginners.
What will the kiting lessons look like?
Image credit: Ananas Kitesurfing
Teaching kitesurfing requires experience and skills. Good certification and proven skills make a huge difference. Not only does the instructor know how to ride, but also knows how to handle the student’s reactions and behavior. They will 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.
Furthermore, they strive to reduce the risk of accidents by taking you to areas with few or no obstacles and plenty of room to practice. Regardless of your experience, you should not have to worry about anything else other than the kite.
The time of day when you have the lessons depends on the location and wind conditions. It is common for camps to divide the daily lessons into a morning and afternoon session.
Kitesurfing camps have different programs for different skill levels. The instructors will assess your level upon arrival.
Most camps have International Kiteboarding Association (IKO) certified instructors that use IKO methodology when teaching. Beginners and intermediate riders will receive tuition, while advanced kiters will receive guiding and supervision from the instructors.
First-timers will be introduced to kiting in a fun and gentle manner. As a beginner or intermediate rider, the lessons will start on the beach and you’ll be accompanied by an instructor at all times.
What will you learn on the beach?
Image credit: Kitegreece
All lessons will start with an introduction to the kiting spot, beach safety, and proper etiquette, followed by identifying potential hazards and assessing the wind conditions.
Weather conditions play a vital role when it comes to kitesurfing. The wind should be strong enough – 10 knots minimum. However, the latest kite models tend to be more efficient and brands now make light-wind kites 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.
Beginners & intermediate riders
As a beginner, you’ll be introduced to the kiting equipment: the kite, the bar and quick release system, harness, safety leash, etc. You’ll learn how to carry the kite, how to set up the equipment and safety systems, as well as how to check and maintain the gear.
The safety theory includes understanding and using the international communication signals, theory and simulation of self-rescue maneuvers in case of emergencies, and learning know the safety systems work.
As a beginner, you’ll begin by flying the kite on the beach, unattached to your harness. Usually, beginners start with a small four-line kite, which is easier to use. Slowly, you’ll progress to a bigger kite.
You’ll learn about wind directions and conditions, about the wind window and the powerzone. The instructors will teach you how to control the kite in the wind window and fly it one-handed.
Then, you’ll practice body dragging on the beach, first without the harness, and then with the kite attached to the harness. You’ll change directions while flying the kite and you’ll learn to check the equipment and twist/untwist the lines.
Next, you’ll practice assisted launching and landing, as well as re-launching the kite. The first time you’ll get on the board will also be on land, so that you can get a feel of it before getting in the water. On the beach, you’ll also delve into the theory and safety rules for the water start.
As an advanced kiter, the beach will only be used to assess the wind conditions, identify potential hazards, as well as launch and land. In the water, you’ll get to learn more advanced maneuvers and ride in more challenging conditions.
What will you learn in the water?
Image credit: Line Up Fuerteventura
Beginners will start in flatwater, usually in a lagoon. These are also great for advanced kiters looking to improve their freeriding skills and nail some rad tricks.
Beginners & intermediate riders
Once in the water, the first thing you’ll practice as a beginner is downwind body dragging. After you’ve launched your kite, you’ll move through the water, the kite attached to your harness, but without the board. You’ll learn to generate power using the kite and re-launch the kite in the water.
After you’ve gained some control over the kite in the water, you’ll progress to body dragging sideways with a long-line kite at a 45-degree angle and change directions. You’ll practice the water start techniques, first without the board, learning to start in both directions (left and right).
Another important aspect is being able to recover your board in the water. And of course, you’ll simulate self-rescue.
Once you gain proper control of the kite, the real fun begins!
When you finally stand up on the board, you’ll have to balance the power of the kite against your own body weight. You’ll learn to power launch the kite, land in water, and re-launch in water unassisted. Then, it’s time to generate speed, even when the wind is weak, and slow down to a complete stop.
From then on, it’s practice, practice, practice. Throughout the next lessons, you’ll set up the kite all by yourself, stand up on the board on one side, ride in both directions, and try your first turns. All the while, you must focus on maintaining a correct kite position in the wind window.
As you progress, it’ll be time to try upwind body dragging. Then, starting and coming back to the same place. You’ll learn to ride downwind, crosswind, and upwind in both directions.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced kiter, you don’t have to worry that you’ll start from zero just like a beginner. There will be a quick recap of everything you already know and you’ll pick up from where you left off. Throughout the camp, you’ll get the chance to learn new tricks and improve your technique.
As a more experienced rider, you’ll get to tackle freeriding and wave riding. You’ll learn to control the riding speed by edging, change direction without stopping, do a toeside flip, jump with grab (tail grab), jibe turns, and recover another rider in deep water.
*Cover image credit: Pro Kite Morocco
Ready for some fun in the sun? Make the most of the summer on a kitesurfing holiday!