How to Kite Surf

How to Kite Surf
You've done the surfing thing. You've even done the wind surfing thing. What's next? Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is an extreme sport that's stolen the hearts of adrenaline addicts across the globe. Although kite surfing is a tad different than boarding--one requires a surf board and happens on an ocean, while the other requires a wake board and happens on a lake--we'll put them both under one umbrella to keep things simple. People tend to use the terms interchangeably anyways. So before you get bored and move on to snow kiting (yes, it really does exist), find out if you've got what it takes to kite surf.

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kite board (surf and wake boards work, too) Many kites of many sizes Harness Control bar Flying lines Safety hook Wet suit Life jacket Helmet
  • Kite board (surf and wake boards work, too)
  • Many kites of many sizes
  • Harness
  • Control bar
  • Flying lines
  • Safety hook
  • Wet suit
  • Life jacket
  • Helmet
Step 1
Take kite surfing lessons. As tempted as you might be to give kite surfing a try without any formal instruction, resist such a risky urge. Kite surfing is not an easy or harmless sport, and beginners must take lessons before hitting the water. Find out if there's a kite surfing school located near you on KiteSurfingSchool.org (see Resources). You've got to learn the lingo to earn the skills necessary to kite surf with any sort of grace or safety.
Step 2
Buy or borrow equipment. Kite surfing is an expensive sport, so you may want to purchase secondhand gear--or better yet, borrow it--when you're starting out. That way, if you damage your equipment (which is likely if you're a first-timer) or interest in the sport after a while, you won't have wasted too much money.
When shopping around for kite-surfing equipment, make sure to get different kites of different sizes. You'll use a smaller kite if wind conditions are strong, and a bigger kite if they aren't.
Step 3
Find a destination that's friendly to kite surfers. If you live in a landlocked state, there may not be many kite-surfing destinations near you. Don't worry, though--you now have a great excuse to get out of town. Any town with lots of large lakes or beaches will have an enthusiastic kite-surfing community. Find out if there's a kite-surfing club you can join--this is a great way to make new friends and get good at the spot. Kite-surfing hot spots include Australia and Hawaii. Some lakes and beaches don't allow kite surfing, so make sure you're not breaking any rules before you get too excited about the sport.
Step 4
Check the weather, then check it again. When kite surfing, you are totally vulnerable to the weather. Every little change in wind condition can affect your experience--after all, you're flying a kite! If winds are headed directly toward the shore or directly away from the shore, it's not an ideal time to take the kite out. That's because you could crash onto the land (which may include people or rocks), or get swept out from shore. When winds are going in an east/west pattern, that's when you're guaranteed the best kite surfing experience.
Step 5
Practice with others. Whether you stick to lessons, or find a group of kite surfers to enjoy the sport with, it's best to go out on the lake/ocean with buddies for your first several times. Don't go kite surfing alone until you feel completely comfortable with it.
Step 6
Master the basic techniques. There are four fundamentals of kite surfing: taking off, turning, controlling the kite and your speed, and learning how to jump and fly. The more skilled you get at kite surfing, the more thrills you'll enjoy.
Just like regular ("boring") surfing, getting up on your feet can be the most challenging part--especially for amateurs. The only way to get good at is to practice, practice and practice.
To get up from the water, lay on your back with your board in front of you. As the wind pulls the kite, let the kite pull your body (not just your hands) out of the water. Once you're up, try to stay up!
Feel the wind around you and try to go with it--if you don't, you'll fall. To turn, you'll make a slight stop on the water, sink back a little and then adjust your heels to the direction you want to go in. There are many varieties of turns, however, and you'll discover those in your lessons.
Now, for the fun part. This is where all your practice will really pay off. After you've been kite surfing for a little while and built up your speed, you'll be pulling the kite (not the other way around). Because of this new relationship, when you snap the kite over your head, you'll be lifted up from the ocean surface. Make sure to quickly reposition the kite into the wind, so you can control your flight. Flying and jumping is where you'll use the ocean tides or lake waves to propel you higher into the air.
After you've mastered these basic kite-surfing techniques, you'll then feel comfortable and creative enough to perform tricks.

Tips & Warnings

 
Consider meeting with kite-surfing aficionados to find out if the sport is a good idea for you--since it will cost lots of time and money (and is inherently dangerous), it's important that you don't jump right into the recreation without lots of thought and preparation.
 
Consider meeting with kite-surfing aficionados to find out if the sport is a good idea for you--since it will cost lots of time and money (and is inherently dangerous), it's important that you don't jump right into the recreation without lots of thought and preparation.
 
As you kite surf, never let yourself get too distracted--you must always focus on the weather conditions, as even the smallest changes can have big consequences on your kite and ultimately, you. Dangers include winds (naturally), improper use of equipment and hazards like people, boats, jellyfish and even sharks.
 
As you kite surf, never let yourself get too distracted--you must always focus on the weather conditions, as even the smallest changes can have big consequences on your kite and ultimately, you.
 
Dangers include winds (naturally), improper use of equipment and hazards like people, boats, jellyfish and even sharks.

Article Written By Laura Hoot

Laura Hoot is a full-time travel writer and editor for the website Vacation Rentals. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including The Budget Fashionista and See Jack Shop. Hoot holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin.

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