im self taught.....
but believe me..... it was a hell of a ride, and to be perfectly honest.... i don't value my life very much.
you'll be fine if you have water confidence and you know how to read the weather properly.
i'd suggest doing a quick course just to learn how to launch and land ..... that's probably the hardest and most dangerous part when you're a complete novice.
make sure you do some research and find the right equipment for the job.
dont be like me and go buy a cheap pure-C kite and a tiny 136x41 deck. I pretty much wasted a whole season because i didnt have the right gear for the job.
go out and buy a good bow kite, and a really big board (141 at the bare minimum) .... the bigger the board, the easier it is.
buy second hand, so you can thrash your equipment and not fret that you will break it.
ride with other people and ask questions.
I still ask questions when trying new moves.
Everybody learns differently.
If you have years of sailing, windsurfing, and water experience.... y'know... if you're a waterman who is confident on the water regardless of the conditions or place etc..... then you don't need lessons.....
But if you're an idiot who's done a few other extreme sports and now thinks because you can drop a halfpipe, you must be able to kite.... then go take some lessons.
if mentioned this before......
but i'd very much like to see the statistics on deaths and injuries in the sport over the years, particularly the comparison between the very early years of the sport and today.
my theory goes-
as the sport was in it's early days, and the equipment was far more dangerous with less safety features, kitesurfing only attracted the pure watermen. That is, the guys who were already natural on the water with years of experience in sailing, diving, surfing, windsurfing etc. These were the guys who were very confident in their abilities and knew how to stay calm and handle themselves in and on the water.
- in short Joe Blow at the office didnt go start kiting because it was a dangerous sport...... only the advanced watermen did.
as the sport has become much safer over the years, with accredited schools, a world wide safety standard, safer depower systems, stronger equipment etc..... the sport has now attracted far more people that are not confident in the water.
go to your local beach on a busy day. have a look around at the other kiters, and tell me how many of them are natural, and confident watermen??
How many of these people could jump off their kite and go sailing, or windsurf, or go dive with the same confidence?
- in short Joe Blow at the office now sees how safe kitesurfing has become and decides he's going to go shred on the weekend...... without the natural water skills, and confidence.... then gets into trouble and doesnt know how to stay calm and get out of it.... soon gets washed on the rocks and drowns!!
and now it's a dangerous sport because numb-nuts over here wants to go kiting!!
Dont be like Joe Blow at the office!!
Personally I think it depends a lot on your preferred learning styles.
Kinesthetic: Doing. Suits technical people."
A good teacher (whether in kiteboarding or chemistry lab) will be able to distinguish between individual learning styles and tailor the lesson to the particular learning style of the student being taught. Everybody learns differently. If an instructor doesn't cater to the individual student's particular style, find a new instructor.
[more from fluidity] "..... I'm sure even the trainers vary, if someone tells me what to do but refuses to say why then I'll have no respect for them, my mind works with WHY."
Agreed. A beginner needs to hear WHY the kite pulls harder when the bar is pulled in, and why pushing the bar out will dump power. Again, if your instructor doesn't go there, find a new instructor.
As others have said, some instructors are good, and some just aren't. If you can find a good one, I believe a lesson will be well worth the money (assuming wind conditions and location are good). But reasonable minds can differ!!
Just do whatever is best for you, and don't let anyone else tell you what you should or should not be doing. As long as your 100% safe about learning, no matter if self taught, or by an instructor, then go for it.
Lessons - $300-$400
New kite trashed in a Palm tree - $1200
Your life or the life of a bystander - Priceless!
TAKE THE LESSONS!!
If you opt to go it alone, stay downwind of everyone.
I would have taken lessons if they were available when I started in 2001. Learned from kitesurfingschool.org (the late great Hung Vu). Took me 3 months with a 2-line 11.5m Wipika.
Same here. Only it took me 8months and one torn ACL back in 2000. It also depends on your local spot. If its wide open with steady 12-20 knots and nobody else on the beach to kill, then go for it. Lessons are still better option though...
Take at least 2-3 hours first lessons. Power of kite and moves of bar is very very unusual feeling for beginner, because this power center is at stomach level. It's very unusual feeling also bar sheat out and in too. This is very very unnatural feeling at first for human. Therefore is very big chance for the suddent failures. In dangerous situation you at first instictively will sheet bar in and this will create lot of power of kite. Don't even speaking about looping kite.
If your spot hasn't rocks and stones, have plenty of wide space you can try experiment, but if not, than take lessons and dont think about 200 usd spended for it. It is much cheaper than possible all incidents and etc. And of course search for IKO level instructor, not self tought.
I’m self taught, but had been land boarding with kites for years before, so I had very good kites skills and had used all kinds of kites. Because of that I found the transition very easy, and our local spots are nice, safe sandy bays.
However, flying a kite static is very different to flying one on the move, in kiteboarding (whether on land or water) you need to be able to fly the kite without looking at it, as you need to look where you are going.
So even though i’m Self taught I always recommend lessons. You may not progress any quicker, but they’ll keep you save.
One of my kite-buds and I met while "taking lessons"...we both consider ourselves self-taught.
Our "instructor" would have our kites rigged prior to the lessons...so we never were taught how to rig. While on land, he would fly the kite and explain the basic left and right, sheet-in/sheet-out. Then he'd hand the kite over to me and have me do what he did. He'd then have me either throw the chicken-loop or pull the quick release...either way it would be an on-land kite rescue. Five 1hr lessons like this, then last lesson (6) was in the water with a board. I made an attempt to water-start (of course I failed) then he radio'd me to dump the kite and self-rescue. I came onshore with my bird's nest of lines. He stated that's it...just do that 100 times and you'll figure it out.
Never taught how to rig a kite.
Never taught how to water-start.
Never taught how to relaunch a kite.
Never taught what's a good launch or riding site.
Only taught a shitty way to rescue a kite (leash connected to a rear-line).
He claims he's taught over 400 people to kite yet I've only met about 15. Guessing the other 385 quit trying to learn on their own...I wanted it so bad I wouldn't quit.
What's crazy is I'm kinda glad of his shitty teaching style...Somehow I think it has made me a better kiter. I think I'd be a hell of an instructor too yet I luv riding too much.
Self-taught with 2 line kites & a big directional board, back in the day. There was nobody around who could teach. It was very hard. Nowadays, with modern kites & a TT... not so hard.
IMO the most important factor is the conditions. Lessons in a place with inconsistent winds, shorebreak, & choppy deep water can make learning very challenging. Self-learning in a place with wide open space, flat, shallow water & consistent winds could be quite manageable. And the OP is on, or near the Outer Banks, which for those not familiar, is one of the most learner friendly spots in the world. Lessons will still accelerate the process though.