May 27th, 2017
Wow, what an image that title conjures up! The pure adrenaline rush from surfing and getting airborne at the same time! Is there any better way to live? To many extreme sports enthusiast, the answer is no.
When you first learn to kite surf, also known as kiteboarding, you don't need to worry about starting on the water. You get the privilege of starting on the beach, so that if you have to ditch the kite, instead of swallowing a mouth full of salt water, you get to eat the sand instead. After a bit of practice, and when the instructor thinks you are ready, you get to strap yourself to a board. These boards are not the same length as a regular surfboard. In addition, it has a length more common to that of a snowboard. When you are one of these, you will face the wind or get a mouth full of salt water or maybe you have perfected the "ditching" technique and will fall gracefully into the water.
There are several stages involved in learning to kite surf and although they may seem complicated they can be learned in a relatively short amount of time and all of them are performed on land. The First Stage:
It is important to become familiar with the wind window, which is the distance from one end of the kite to the other and arches like a rainbow.
Next you learn about the equipment, putting it together, taking it apart, and checking for any possible malfunctions.
Demonstrate your understanding of the three wind zones including launching and landing positions.
You have to learn how to untwist the lines
As in water skiing the correct position of your arms in response to the movement of the kite is important.
Knowledge of the wind patterns is also helpful, though you don't have to become a meteorologist.
This can seem a bit overwhelming, but in reality it does not take long to master the basics. Once you have proven proficient in these skills, stage two will teach you the basics of self-rescue and the ability to re-launch while you are in the water. Stage three helps you get comfortable in the water with the kite minus the board because the wind will pick you up whether your feet are attached to a board or not and knowing how to handle the kite and dismount are extremely important. The final stage, stage four is you, the water, wind, kite and board!
The kites that are used in kite surfing range in sizes from several feet to 40 feet in width and if you are beginning this sport a wind speed of 5 to 6 knots is sufficient. Experienced kite surfers can fly across the waves and sometimes get as much as 60 feet off the water.
Some helpful hints for those considering kite surfing:
Enroll in a training course
Always kite surf with a partner, this will help keep you and those around you safe
Avoid areas that are overly crowded
Definitely do not walk in front of someone else who is practicing
Do not attempt to grab someone else's lines, even if you think you are helping them
A knowledge of weather patterns can be quite helpful since you are relying on the wind to launch you into the air
It cannot be overstated, safety gear is of utmost importance
Kite surfing does not require you to "ride the waves" so to speak. It has more to do with the wind and the direction the wind is coming from. The way you place your kite in the wind, determines the kind of lift you get off the water. Now, it is important to not have the image in your mind of a sail, which is what a windsurfer will use, but picture a kite, a very big kite. The kite surfer controls the kite by holding on to a bar which is at the end of very long kite strings and uses this to direct the kite into wind zones to get the lift off the water.
For those who enjoy the sports of surfing, snowboarding, water skiing, or any other form of flying through air kite surfing is definitely a sport you should consider. The adrenaline rush you get from being air borne is amazing and once you try it you are likely to come back again and again