A typical beginner kiteboarding lesson will vary on the structure due to the location. Some locations are more difficult than other locations. St. Petersburg happens to be one of the safest spots to learn how to kiteboard in the world. Shallow waters around the Skyway Bridge make it possible to stand in waist-deep water while learning how to fly the kite. This article will go over what a typical beginner kiteboarding lesson looks like in the St. Petersburg area.
Beginner Kiteboarding Lesson: Ground School
Before launching a kite into the sky there are some important concepts to learn. Situational awareness, safety systems, kite control, kite flying theory are among some of the important topics covered on the beach. Our mission is to create safe and independent kiteboarders, and these theories apply throughout the learning process. Our teaching philosophy is that the better a learner understands the theory, the quicker they will progress through the on-water process. The ground school portion could take between twenty minutes and fifty minutes depending on the conditions, rider and environmental situation. We want to get to know the learner and will customize the learning experience to the person.
If a student wants to get a jump start on learning how to kiteboard, review the wind window. The wind window is the area where the kite can fly. This is an important concept that will develop throughout the learning process. The better one’s understanding of the wind window is, the quicker and more proficiently they will learn how to kiteboard.
Situational awareness is another important concept to understand. Being aware of the environment around will keep kiteboarders safe. We go over what to look out for and what questions to ask to keep riders safe. Kiteboarding is a community sport and we encourage asking other riders or other schools for help when needed. We all work together to preserve access, prevent injury and keep kiteboarding fun!
Attaching the Kite
Depending on the situation, we may go through the process of how to pump up a kite and set up the control bar. At some point during the lesson process it is necessary to learn how to set up all the gear. The learner does not need to launch the kite on their first lesson but we will go over how to launch a kite. We will teach how to hold the kite and how to safely secure the kite to the beach.
Before going out on the water, we will hook you up to a control bar where we go over kite control and safety. We simulate what it will be like to control the kite and what the first exercise looks like. Once there is an understanding of how to control the kite, we will go through the three safety systems. While still hooked in (the kite is not in the air at this point), we have the rider physically go through the three safety systems. They are simple, clean and effective.
Beginner Kiteboarding Lesson: On Water
It is important to note that the two most difficult parts to learning how to kiteboard are controlling the kite and learning to waterstart. Being strong or athletic has little to do with kiteboarding. The key element to success is kite theory and finesse. If done properly, flying the kite or a waterstart should feel effortless. Our goal is to make kiteboarding feel effortless.
Another important message is that everybody learns at a different pace! On average it takes people 4 to 12 hours to learn how to kiteboard. Do not get discouraged if one exercise becomes challenging. There is always a breakthrough moment where it clicks. Once it clicks, it is an amazing feeling. We will work at each individual’s pace.
First Exercise: Basic Kite Control
Your kiteboarding instructor will launch the kite and find a waist-deep spot in the water away from the beach and other kiteboarders. Your instructor will be by your side throughout the duration of learning to fly the kite. As instructors, we can see things happen before they actually happen. We will use basic terminology like “pull left”, “push out” or “let go” to prevent the kite from crashing. If the kite crashes, that is 100% okay! Kites are meant to crash and we will go through a water relaunch.
The first exercise is one of the most important exercises. This is where good fundamentals are created. The exercise consists of moving the kite between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock on the outside of the wind window. The outside of the wind window is where there is the least amount of power. This is the safest position for the kite to learn the two basic controls. These two controls consist of balancing tension in the bar and steering by pulling one side in and pushing the other side out. Everything else builds upon good fundamentals!
After learning to fly the kite in the neutral zones is where things begin to get exciting. The next exercise is power strokes or downwind body drags. This is where you learn to develop the power of the kite in a controlled setting. We will teach you the fundamentals where you can gradually and safely build power with the kite. With years of teaching experience we can recognize the amount of power you will need to generate to get up on a board. Through this exercise we will relate it to getting up on a board
Before other exercises we will go over the three main safety systems. We will have the learner engage the quick release so that they are familiar with the mechanics of it. Cabrinha’s safety system is simple to use and easy to put back together. We will go over situations where one may need to use it.
Learning how to kiteboard is a process! We want you to learn as quickly and safely as possible. We will teach at each individual student’s pace. If you don’t get to the board, do not get discouraged. If you do get to the board, then that is awesome! Even then do not get discouraged if you cannot get up on the board. Waterstarts are challenging.
Learning to Kiteboard
It may seem like a lot but learning how to kiteboard is something that anybody can do! It does not require strength, but can be as much of a workout as you want. If you want to ride slow and cruise, you can do that. If you want to jump high and do tricks, it is not difficult to learn that once riding upwind! Send us a message below for more information or to get on our calendar.