IKO stands for International Kiteboarding Organization. With a completed IKO card showing that you are at least a certified level 3 rider, you can go to any kite center around the world and rent gear from them because they know that you are a safe and independent rider. Each year IKO assesses and increases their standards as kiteboarding develops and grows. Their whole mission is to create safe and independent riders.
4 Reasons to go with an IKO Instructor
- Safer: part of the instructors training is learning how to create a safe environment for the student, other riders and beachgoers.
- Learn Faster: practice fun and relevant exercises that are customized to the way you learn so that you will progress faster.
- Retain What You Learn: instructors are trained to not just teach you how to complete a task but to remember how and why you did it.
- Stronger Foundation: throughout the lesson there’s a strong focus on the fine motor skills that will make you a great kiteboarder.
My Experience with IKO
Having kiteboarded for a long time before getting my certification, I’ve heard many mixed reviews about the organization. I’ve heard and seen other instructors diss the organization saying it was a scam or that they wouldn’t teach them anything they don’t know. What I would say to them now is how can you know what you don’t know if you don’t know it.
With so many mixed reviews on IKO, I had no idea what to expect going into the 7-day course with Christophe of Miami Kiteboarding. Each day with Christophe was incredibly structured and thorough, we covered everything from learning the psychology of teaching to the science of kiteboarding to structuring a lesson. At the end of the course was a 2-hour exam and two full days with real students. If you didn’t reach the standards then you had to go back to being an assistant instructor with Christophe, not everyone in my group passed. Having passed the course, I can safely say IKO has a method of teaching that does stand apart and will help students learn kiteboarding faster and in a safer environment.
One important part of the organization I learned was that when an IKO instructor issues you a card once a lesson is completed, you need to register on their website and fill out a brief survey giving them feedback on how your lessons went. IKO reviews all feedback from students around the world to assess their teaching methods and adapt to the most efficient and safe method possible.
IKO: Learn Kiteboarding Safer
The reason I got certified was because I was tired and upset with watching customers come into Watersports West wanting to learn windsurfing because they went out with a self-certified instructor and had a bad experience or was not able to learn kiteboarding. I went with IKO because I’ve seen other IKO instructors teach and have heard only good feedback from their students.
IKO provides structure to a lesson plan that has been developed and proven to work for over 16 years. Everything from the location, to the atmosphere, to the steps in which you learn are strategically laid out to create a safer and more enjoyable experience. The end goal is to create a safe and independent rider.
IKO: Learn Kiteboarding More Efficiently
The big difference with IKO versus other organizations or the self-certified instructor on the beach is that they teach instructors how to teach. IKO instructors use a proven method of teaching that enable their students to not only learn the muscle memory needed for kiteboarding faster but to also retain it. Whether it’s learning how to body drag upwind or learning a backmobe, I feel significantly more qualified to teach having been through IKO.