16 Essential Questions Every Kitesurf Complete Beginner Asks

  • Any tips for beginners?

You just need to be aware that this is not a sports that you can learn in 1 day.

Besides, I always tell my students to wear a big smile on their face. The beginning phases could be frustrating for some, but with positive attitude and some perseverance, you can go a long way… “No pain, no gain” is specially true for kiteboarding, you’ll know this when you start trying your first few aerial tricks.

Our Kite Life channel on Youtube does a great summary on things to expect if you decides to start kitesurfing:

Another great one on some solid tips for beginners:

  • Do you fly with the kite and never come down?

Hold my pen and let me land first.

Jokes aside, the kite can generates controllable power and under normal circumstances the gliding time of your jump (aka air-time) would be around 2-10 seconds. But well, learn the basics first, before you progress to jumping which usually take weeks or months of practice.

  • How to choose the best kite schoool / instructor?

We encourage you to ask these questions during your search:
– Are the instructors certified by: IKO (International), PASA (USA), BKSA (Great Britain), FAV (Spain), FFVL/BPJEPS (France), FEV (SPAIN) and VDWS (Germany)?

– Our instructors are IKO certified and students will be issued IKO e-certifications upon graduation

How old are the gears that you’ll be learning with?

– All our school kites were purchased within a year and routinely trimmed to best purformance

– What’s the instructor to student ratio?

– Max 1 : 2 for IKO Level 2 or upwards

– Is radio / walkie-talkie used so th
at the instructions don’t get stopped when student gets further away (during body-dragging and water-start practices)
– Yes we do for students at of above IKO Level 2

  • What if the kite falls onto the water?

By pulling one of the steering lines on the control bar, the kite will easily relaunch off water. We will teach you how to do this in the course, from basic to advanced methods.

  • Don’t those lines get tangled?

Speaking of those “spaghetti”…

So yes, accidents like this do happen, that’s why it’s important to respect the sailing rules, which we will explain in the Day 2 of the lesson.

The famous kiter Dimitri has a nice video on what to do when you tangle with another kiter…

  • What is a good spot to start in Hong Kong / when is the season?

In Hong Kong, there is the main season (Oct to May) and the off season (June to Sept)

During the main season, the prevailing wind is easterly, ranging from 10 knots to 20 knots, and the spot would be Shui Hau Wan, Lantau. In winter (Dec – Feb) it would be sometimes easterly and sometimes northernly. When north wind prevails, the spot would be Sai Kung (for more advanced kiters), the temperature usually drops to around 12-15 degrees and you’d need a thick wetsuits (5mm).

During the off season, the prevailing wind comes from southwest, ranging from 7-12 knots, the spot woud be Pui O Beach, Lantau or Lung Kwu Tan, Tuen Mun.

Related article: How to read the wind forecast in HK

  • What is your favoriate spot?

Check out these two articles.

Our favorites? It’s hard to pick one… In the past, we have sailed across one of the biggest river deltas in the Amazon region in Brazil; been chased by sting rays and reef sharks in the romantic heart-shaped island Morea in French Polynesia; surrounded by herds of red-tail tropical birds in the ‘most beautiful laggon in the world’ in Aitutaki, Cook Islands; hopped on a yacht in the Carribean Sea that headed from ABC Islands to Colombia; jumped from the sand dunes into the huge lagoons in the Western Sahara desert in Morocco; jumped over the mangroves around the butter-like lagoons in Sri Lanka, etc…

  • How do you travel with your kite?
NZ Airline lost my board bag but delivered the 2nd day, Legend! (blog post)

It’s a long topic, we would create a post on this.

In short, using a travel bag like below, would easily fit your entire gear (1 board, 2-3 kites, harness, control bars). While travelling on air, luggages like this usually fall under ‘sports equipment’ and most airlines don’t charge extra for it.

However not all airlines are created equal. Hence we have a Spreadsheet like this, but the data was as of the time we did the research (definitely pre-Covid…), and by no means the list was exhausted. So do your own research before packing.

  • Your favoriate gears / set ups?

For boosting high and doing kiteloops, my go-to setup is CORE’s XR7 8m and CARVED Imperator 7 twintip. With a Sensor 3 Pro bar we can use shorter lines (18-24m) to perform tighter and faster loops.

For foiling I use CORE’s foil-specific kite XLITE2, with a Sensor 3 Pro FOIL version that has a shorter bar width and thinner line with length adjustable between 16-22m. I ride a Ketos Foil – a high-quality full-carbon premium French brand that’s made-to-order.

  • Is kitesurfing dangerous?

It could be, and serious injuries have happened to even the professional players.

That said, under most circumstances, if you performed rational assessment of the condition (water, wind, other surfers, etc.), it is highly unlikely that you’d get yourself caught in dangerous situations. The course is designed to equip the students with the most important safety measures, and what to do while conditions changes.

Nonetheless, try put ‘kitemares’ / ‘kitesurfing accidents’ in YouTube, you’d get plenty of videos illustrating how things can go terribly wrong. But be assure that in the course we will teach you the safe and proper way.

Kite-Surf-College Tutorials and Tricks explains some common kitemares and how to avoid them:

Pro-rider Anton Chernyshov explains in details on how to survive the infamous ‘death loop’ …

  • Is kitesurfing similar to surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding?

Surfing – a little bit but not really. You don’t have to paddle any more, the wind brings you to wherever you want, and you can kitesurf as long as there’s wind, regardless if there are waves or not.

Personally I found it more fun with waves!

Credit: the amazing crew of Kiteactive.com; blog post on my Brazil 750km downwinder.

Windsurfing – both are similar in that they are wind-dependent. Both share similar terminologies, but kitesurfing is simply WAY cooler.

Wakeboarding/Wakesurfing – why pay for the gasoline and bother to find other people to share a 1-2 hour session?

Generally, students with experience in board-related sports like windsurfing/snowboarding, once they get the hang of the kite control, it’s a lot easier to combine it with board control.

  • Do I need to know how to swim?

Of course. You don’t have to be a triathlon swimmer but at least you should be comfortable with deep water. Lessons are conducted in shallow bay area but eventually we assume you would like to kitesurf in open ocean, in which case you are encouraged to wear life jacket/buoyancy aid.

  • Do I need to be strong? Can a girl try this?

Kitesurfing is by and large a full-body sport and it requires lot of head/hand/body coordination. While you don’t need to be super fit/strong to do this, in general you’d expect to have stronger core after engaging in this sport.

Girls? Honestly it’s nowhere less cooler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGtLXcRP1Z0&ab_channel=JeanetteJohnson-Jing

And this amazing pro kiter Charlotte Consorti has a whole YouTube Series called Kitesurf Paradise series to show off some of the best kiting destinations

(Credit: Univers Kite‘s youtube channel)
  • Why go all the way to Lantau Island? Can’t you do it in Sai Kung/any other beaches?

It has a lot to do with the conditions of beach, nearby islands/mountains, and wind theory, which would be explained in this course.

  • How much are the gears? Can I rent them?

Budget HK$ 25,000 40,000 for a set of gears (kite, bar, board, harness).

Expect second-handed gears to cost 10-50% less, depending on their conditions.

Most kiters would decide to own the equipment because each kite has its personality and it grows with you as you advance your skills. Renting can be costly (speaking of around $1,000+ per day) unless you only plan to do it a few times. However, renting can make sense while you are travelling abroad and do not want to drag around bulky items.

If you are ready to get your first kite, visit our shop for the latest products. If you need some tips on which model/brand to go for, or debating between a 1st hand and a 2nd hand, visit this post Getting You First Kite or ask us more questions.

  • How did you get into kitesurfing and become an instructor?

I started with windsurfing around 2011 and my then coach who was also the former instructor for the Hong Kong windsurfing olympic team, introduced me the sport.

A year into practising this sports, I had accumulated a lot of training hours and even represented Hong Kong in the 2016 IKA Kitesurfing World Championships and ranked 35th among 105 competitors from 21 countries. I hope to introduce this sports to more people safely, and thus when to Boao Beach in Hainan Island, China for the instructor course of IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization).

Since then I had taught at my home spot – Hong Kong and at various spots while travelling abroad, and I constantly incorporate new teaching techniques and improve my teaching methods.

Explaining the tricks and myths of relaunching a kite in light wind with student.
  • How can I become an instructor?

This was asked by one of my proudest students on the day of his first class, before we even started. I gave him full respect 🙂

There are a few organizations to consider in the first places, some are national and some are international, I went with IKO and it’s perhaps the most internationally recognized organization.

The process for becoming an IKO Kiteboarding Instructor is long and for the sake of the length of this article, I will try best to summarize. You need to have certain riding skills (e.g. grabbing board during a jump, recovering other rider’s board, etc. ), attend a 3-day Assistant Instructor Training Course. You will then be able to sign up for a week-long Instructor Training Course, during which various classroom / beach demos session are conducted and topics will span from self-launching a kite, recovering a student with boat, performing CPRs, to sports psychology.

When you pass the Instructor Training Course, you need to obtain 30 hours of teaching hours as an intern (under the supervision of any IKO instructors of Level 2 or above). Finally you would be certified as an IKO Level 1 Kiteboarding Instructor.

As you teach more students and obtain more teaching hours and experience, you would need to pass an online exam and become Level 2 instructor, allowing you to teach more students per class (4 instead of 2) and number of kites flying (2 instead of 1). Etc. etc.

Got more questions?

We like questions so if you have any doubts, get in touch with us in one of the ways here.

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