As a kitesurf instructor for over 15 years and school manager I have watched thousands of people going through the learning process. It’s allowed me to spend considerable time learning how to tweak, fine-tune, and adapt the learning curve to each unique individual’s needs. Based on the responses from my best-performing students I would suggest thinking about the following before starting your kite lessons:
-Prepare yourself and have the right attitude. Expect to put in the time to get past the inevitable hurdles you will need to overcome, and that there will be many things you never realised you would need to learn. Read up, watch youtube videos and kiters and students in action, not only before starting but as you are learning. Be in good shape and very comfortable in deep water. Don’t show up for your lesson late or hung over (!) If you can, go along to watch and listen to other lessons in progress. This will help to round out and reinforce the things you have learned, and give you an idea what to expect in the next stages. At Jibe’s we call this “Lesson Auditing” and it’s free for anyone interested.
-It’s helpful (but not necessary) to learn wakeboarding first.
-Search out the best school/instructor rather than the cheapest one. This will not only end up saving you time, money, and aggravation in the long run but be safer for you and the people around you. Remember that you are attaching yourself to a potentially hazardous power source, and that cutting corners usually comes back later to bite you.
-Don’t waste your time flying a 2-line trainer kite. Those kites fly completely differently than the kites you use on the water, and can encourage bad bar-pulling habits. Instead, find a school that gives you a proper kite on very short lines right from the beginning, and keeps you on it until you are ready for longer lines.
-Fly that kite for hours and hours until you have an intuitive feel for it, can relaunch it in any wind condition, know how to do a self-rescue from start to finish, and can bodydrag circles around your board effortlessly before going to longer lines or attempting to ride. Good kite control takes more time than most people realise, but trying to ride without the necessary control will only cost you time, frustration, and put everyone around you at risk.
-Always practice 360 degree awareness, and follow good kite handling practices during your lessons and afterwards.
-Learn in a deep-water location. Otherwise you will be helpless in most kiting areas.
-Have fun and keep smiling!