Starsky wrote:Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students.
In no way is this an attempt at elitism. Its a legitimate question. Should there be a minimum standard for fitness, swimming ability, environmental assessment, etc. Like prerequisites that any school must screen for before starting into lessons. As simple as a swim test in a pool or at the beach, and a quick little written test on the basics of wind, weather, safety and the mechanics of sailing. Nothing ridiculous. The sport is accessible to the vast majority of people, but there really are the clueless who should not do things like ride motocycles, or get in a whitewater kayak. Should it be done at the school level. If instructors want to improve safety in the sport I think this is the kind of initiative that accomplishes more than a bigger brighter safety release.
No dude... no laws regulating and free market. So here is what happens: Typical Guy on beach sees a bunch of kites flying. Says to himself "cool I would like to try that". Does some googling. Walks up to kite school... signs up for $550 worth of lessons for two days. Takes the lessons... learns how HARD it is to learn and how much time/practice is needed to actually get good. 90% of them give up.... You really think a kite school is going to look at the semi goofy fat dude and say " you know what man... honestly... you are probably not going o be able to do this sport. So Im recommending that you spend your $500 the next two days on jet ski rentals rather than at my school". Of course not... take the money, provide the best service possible, smile... next in line please!
In my journey learning I realized:
1. Takes a level of athletics, swimming, strength, street smarts.
2. Requires someone ot have a good amount of money... Gear is not cheap. If you want to buy a full quiver of kites, boards, bars, etc you are looking at almost $10K. YEah you can start out cheap and buy used stuff or have one kite, board, etc. But that is going to limit the days you can go out, thus limit your progression, thus point your mind to something else to do in your spare time (if you have spare time)
3. Requires someone to have a LOT of free time on their hand. Which typically means has a very flexible job/lifestyle, OR doesn't have kids, OR is single
4. You can easily get hurt or die from this sport... more than others...
Just those factors alone is why you don't see most spots super packed. Yes there has been an increase in activity of those starting to kite and taking lessons. I attribute that to the access to information we have (this awesome thing called the internet and google) but also the advancement of the safety features in the kites and bars. Overall I think kite schools are ultimately benefitting from this more than anything. I would say 90% of the people who take that $600 intro school never touch a kite again. In fact I know an instructor who has told me this and he tells me he knows in the first 10-15 minutes wether the person will even attempt the next progressions or walk away / be unable to do the sport. Looks easy from the point of view of watching from the beach... sucks them in... then bam! Shit this is hard, time consuming, I may kill myself or someone else, and expensive.