AFTER LESSONS: Building Experience As A New Kiteboarder
You have had your kiteboarding lessons and know how to setup your gear, solo launch and land, body drag, self-rescue, waterstart and ride somewhat, what now? You could always continue your lessons subject to financial and other considerations and/or you can try the following.
1. First, flying an airplane straight and level requires little skill but a great deal of knowledge, careful experience building and use of good judgment. Kiteboarding can be like that to some degree. You can master the basics rapidly but all that necessary knowledge may still be lurking in the wings and may not have been covered much in your lessons. So, you need to go after it! Learn about weather planning and monitoring, what characterizes a good launch, riding and landing area, managing emergency scenarios, safety gear and other "theory." Lots of information and ideas in this regard appear at the website of the Florida Kitesurfing Association at http://fksa.org/ under:
KITEBOARDING SAFETY & SUSTAINABILITY - KEEP THE GOOD TIMES FLYING!!!
2. Make sure you are setup with the proper rig out for safe kiteboarding including a good helmet, impact vest, gloves, etc.
3. Try to meet and hookup with other new kiteboarders and ideally a few experienced ones as well. Always ride with a kiteboarding buddy, it increases the fun, ease and safety. Watch other more experienced kiteboarders that use good, responsible techniques.
4. Research and pick a good training area. This may NOT be where a lot of other kiteboarders are located. Experienced guys may hang out at more advanced launches unsuitable for new kiteboarders. Few bystanders, wide sandy beaches, few rocks or pilings, minimal waves & currents are desirable.
More about potential launches will soon be uploaded to: South Florida Kite Launch Rules
5. Carefully pick your weather. Avoid gusty winds or wind much above 18 kts, early on and MAKE SURE the wind is side to side onshore and NOT onshore or offshore. Do your weather planning to verify the unstable weather isn't predicted to move in during your session. If the weather isn't suitable, easy, don't go kiteboarding!
Checkout: WEATHER & LAUNCH CONSIDERATIONS
6. Make sure you have the correct kite size for conditions, with all your gear in good repair and you understand its setup and function. Don't launch an unfamiliar kite in strong conditions. Check the manufacturer's table to verify that your kite falls near the lower end to center of the recommended wind range.
7. Work on assisted kite landing and safe solo landing in time, INSTANT solo depowering/landing (should an emergency threaten), maintaining a good downwind buffer zone, awareness of the weather and your surroundings at all times. Make sure that you can body drag upwind to AVOID the need for a board leash (these can hurt you).
8. Work on water starting while you are still working with a good instructor, ideally in sheltered waters with steady wind suitable for your kite size.
Take your time and CAREFULLY accumulate experience under favorable conditions. If in doubt about conditions, sit it out. Rushing into excessive conditions or unfamiliar circumstances have led to problems in the past. Why repeat readily avoidable mistakes? Kiteboarding is all about fun, have a care and have at it!
Last edited by RickI; 11-05-2014 at 03:35 PM.
Tips To Save Your Session and Undue Frustration
Save your kite session:
Following safety guidelines and using best practices proven through years of research and hard lessons, kite boarding is generally a safe water sport. These tips although not published or taught in the IKO or PASA Instructor Training Programs have proven to be key skills for keeping kiterís on the water longer and saving undue frustrations.
#5: Look upwind
For a number of reasons this may not seem normal for many kiterís. The kite is downwind and thatís the focus to get from point A to B. However, no matter the level of the kiter turning and looking upwind makes that task easier. When you look upwind you want to be cognizant of two important things a) differences in pressure in the area your riding and b) visible shifts in the breeze.
Looking upwind allows you to be able to begin to anticipate differences in pressure rather than just react when youíre staring downwind at the kite. For kiterís thereís never enough wind so turn and look over your shoulder, find those spots that look dark on the water and ride towards them.
#4: Make friends before you leave the beach
Having friends on the beach is more important than just being social! New kiterís should make connections and friends on the beach before heading out. Your more likely to get help when you really need if youíve made a good impression as a person who is interested in being a good steward to the kiting community. Always look for an opportunity to lend a hand at the venue, even if just to ask a kiter who looks like they have a bit on at the moment ďhow you doing, is everything alrightĒ.
In addition, on the days when you feel like your session was tough or you didnít have such a good go, youíll learn the most from talking it over with your peers. So kite safe, kite smart, kite friendly and youíll progress quickly!
#3: Stay alert
Kite accidents are not only a function of a lack of experience in high winds, but also when the conditions are in the extremes. Extreme temperatures, long sessions and fatigue from lack of proper hydration and food increase the likely hood that youíre not at peak performance. Inhibited judgment due to the elements is more of a liability than going out when the breeze and surf is at its biggest!
Itís best to take breaks, go over your sessions throughout the day and re evaluate your ability to continue to kite safe. Drink, eat and rest! Before a big day eat right and get more sleep than you think! Itís that important!
These last two points are best practiced before the conditions get hairy. They are most often used in the extremes when kiting is at its toughest: Itís become apart of normal discussions and lessons for Florida Boarder Kite boarding Instructors to introduce these skills to students.
#2: What to do when your kite inverts on the water
First and foremost make sure that youíre attached to your Center Line Safety System (CCS). If the kite is in the air, bring it down to the water and activate the CCS. Most times, the kite will un-invert itself.
However, sometimes more often than not when you go to re-launch your kite the inside and steering lines will have a cross in them. No biggie!
Safely land your kite on the beach. Before you re-run your lines think can this be fixed any other way? When you left the beach the kite was correctly rigged, any crosses that happened due to the kite inverting can be reversed at the bar. Correct!
Grab a hold of a steering line and a centerline. Determine which way you have to pass the steering line through the centerline to get the lines straight. Once you have a good grasp on that, pass the entire bar through the centerlines. It may take a couple of tries to see exactly how to get them straight. Take your time and if it doesnít look right just reverse what you did and repeat.
Once straight, twist the bar as if it were the throttle to a motorcycle. The chicken loop and centerlines below the bar will now be unwrapped from the bar. This will be the final step to get you back to base and riding!
Ití important to take your time when youíre doing this! If your on the water you want to be very comfortable with the kite, as youíll have to unhook and control the kite with only your hands. Itís of the utmost importance that the kite is depowered and at the edge of the wind window.
#1: How to do the reverse launch
This last tip is used when the breeze dies and its impossible to get the to re-launch from the water. When the kite lands leading edge down grab a hold of the steering lines about arms length from the bar when it fully eased. Use both hands to pull together. Create apparent wind to get the kite to generate lift, if you do properly the kite will begin to fly backwards off the water. Release one steering line and fly the kite up to 12 o clock. Keep the kite moving and you should be able to make it back to the beach without too much trouble.
Ride safe, ride smart, ride friendly and your sessions will be productive and free of frustrations!