A trainer kite is beneficial to learn kiteboarding. Back in the early days of kiteboarding, trainer kites were more necessary than they are today. There was not as much depower in the kites of the early days and the safety systems weren’t as good. Trainer kites are not as necessary as they once were but are still a great learning tool! Here’s what we recommend for making the most out of the trainer kite.
If you’re not sure if you want to invest in a trainer kite come take a 2 hour lesson with us. In that session you will be out in the water safely flying a kite. You’ll have a much better understanding of how to fly and operate the kite. By the end of the lesson we’ll produce a strategy plan specific for you. We want you to be a safe and self sufficient kiteboarder and want the process of learning to be as efficient as possible.
Downside To Trainer Kites
The downside to trainer kites is that there is no depower/ power on 98% of them. There are trainer kites with a depower mainline but those do not fly similar to a real kite. They are too small and you do not feel the true affects of controlling the trim.
The focus on a trainer kite should be steering. You want to be able to steer by pulling one side in and pushing the other side out. Little motions go a long way, you do not need to oversteer. Practice the following exercises with precision and be smooth.
Trainer Kite Exercises
Your first exercise is controlling the kite by doing figure 8’s. You want to do figure 8’s in the neutral zone of the wind window. If you are not familiar with the wind window, get familiar with it and study how the kite responds in relation to where it is in it. Make sure you know 12 o’clock is straight overhead and 1, 2, 3 o’clock are to the right and 11, 10, 9 o’clock are to the left.
First Figure 8s – Work the kite slowly between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock. As you become more efficient maneuvering the kite by putting tension on one side vs the other, you can increase the speed of the kite. Always maintain control.
Second Figure 8s – Next work the kite between 12: 30 and 2: 30 and 11: 30 and 9: 30. The bar should be facing the side and notice how the top side of the bar requires more tension. So if the kite is to the left of you, you use more of the right side of the bar and if the kite is to the right, you use the left side of the bar.
*** The key in these exercises is learning to put tension on one side vs another and counter-steering to stop the kite.
You’ll use one hand when kiteboarding when you’re body dragging upwind, walking with the kite and board, putting the board on your feet and riding.
1 o’clock – Bring the kite to 1 o’clock and use just your left hand positioned close to the center of the bar. Try to keep it parked there, once you get good you can walk around controlling the kite with one hand.
11 o’clock – Bring the kite to 11 o’clock and use just your right hand positioned close to the center of the bar. Try to keep it parked there, once you get good you can walk around controlling the kite with one hand.
Leaning how to control the kites power is important. Most trainer kite have two lines vs the four lines on a real kiteboarding kite, so most trainers don’t have “depower.” You can learn to control the power by how aggressive you dive the trainer kite and where it is in the wind window.
- Start by bringing the kite to 12 o’clock
- Dive the kite more aggressively to the left or the right
- Counter steer to stop the kite
- Bring the kite back up to 12 o’clock
- Dive the kite back in the direction you originally dove it
- The more aggressively you steer the kite, the deeper in the wind window the kite travels and the more power it creates
- Counter-steer to stop the kite
- Stopping the kite stops the power
- The longer the kite travels, the more power it creates
Once you get to the point where you don’t have to look at the kite, you’re ready for a lesson.