To learn the basics of flying kites for Kite Boarding you don't have
to be on or near the water. As the kites used for Kite Boarding are
powerful and potentially dangerous, the first step is to become
proficient in flying them. Start by getting used to the power on land
and learn how to control the kite safely and skillfully. Those
entering the sport from other water activities, like windsurfing,
water skiing or wakeboarding, will need to become familiar with
traction kites and how to fly them. Experienced Traction Kite Flyers
will need to concentrate on their water skills. The learning process
will vary from person to person depending on previous experience and
skill level and you'll find flying the kite is really fun.
Fly a kite on land. Learn to fly
your kite in light to moderate winds on land first. Traction kites
for Kite Boarding can have either 2 lines or 4 lines. 4 line kites
will give you greater control. Understanding how the kite works and
how it's set up and packed down is also important. Familiarise
yourself with handling and storing flying lines, as this will help in
trouble-free flying. To prevent an unattended ram-air kite from
self-launching, weight the trailing edge as it lays on the ground.
This will also assist when preparing to solo launch your kite. Always
guard your water re-launchable kites more carefully. Unintentional\
launches are common.
Skidding on the beach. Use the
power of your kite to drag you across the beach or shoreline. This is
a good way to learn how to balance against the pull of the kite and
experience how powerful these kites are. The idea is not to resist
the pull, but control it and move with the kite. You will need to
lean away from the pull, like windsurfing, to maintain balance and
Body surf in the water. To get
used to flying over water, use the kite to pull you along "body surf"
stye. This is also good practice for when you come off your board and
are dragged through the water this way. It's important to be able to
control your kite when you have fallen off your board from the
Get used to flying with a harness.
Using a harness to transfer the pull from your arms to your
body will be necessary to Kite Surf. It prevents immediate fatigue.
You'll need to get comfortable connecting and disconnecting your rig
and operating the kite when it's attached to your harness.
Water starts. It's best to get
help from an experienced Kite Surfer to learn the basics. You
start by lying on your back in the water with your feet in the
footstraps of your board. Have the board in front of you with the
kite hovering high above you. Steer the kite into the power zone. You
will be lifted out of the water and pulled forwards onto the board.
You need to know how to water start with confidence as there will be
times when you come off your board in deep water far from shore.
Don't forget you'll need a leash to stop your board drifting away.
Maintain speed on the board. When
on the board, keep the kite ahead of yourself. It may be helpful to
fly a "scooping" pattern to maintain pull. Kite Boarding relys on
feeling the correct position relative to wind and water. As with any
sailing activity, you will get to sense when things a "right" and
you're spending more time on the board than off.
Travel upwind. You must learn to
be able to go upwind. This is important if you want to return to your
starting point. Getting too far downwind without the ability to get
back can result in a long swim!
Jibe. If you are using a Kite
Surf board, designed for uni-directional use, you need to swap your
feet around as you would when windsurfing. This maneuver requires
practice and is very important since it's the way to change
direction. Position the kite in the sky to maintain momentum in the
turn while you adjust your foot position on the board. Control your
speed with the kite.
Tricks and air. Once you have
learned the basics and can confidently control your kite and board,
the possibilities for tricks and hang time are limitless. Pack a
few kites, grab your board and travel. You'll soon discover the
countless places to enjoy this new and exciting sport. You may even
get into kite traction on land, snow and ice!