I recently wrote this article for my facebook page: The Kite Life
Why kitesurfers need to think like an athlete...
To be a healthy and progressing kitesurfer, you have to think and train like an athlete. You can't just show up to kite on Sunday morning when the wind is blowing and hope to stay out all day and injury free. When we ride, most of us would like to be able to squeeze every last minute out of the wind. But all too often I see people on the beach with the look in their eye of wanting to ride more, but they are physically too tired. For this reason, it is important to incorporate some other physical exercise and strength training into your lifestyle to increase your kitesurfing endurance. The goal of this article is not to turn you into athletic machines and to take the fun out of the sport, but to increase your time on the water and reduce the chance of injuries.
As stated, there are several reasons why you want to start training as a kitesurfing athlete. The main reason is that you can increase the amount of time you are on the water riding. No longer will you have to go back to the beach and recover after only one hour of riding. Imagine being the envy of your friends because you stayed out for the full 5 hours of wind that blew that day in your local spot. In addition, throughout the day the crowds usually ebb and flow, so now you can have that whole flat section or set of waves to yourself. No more sitting on the beach watching that perfect set because you were too tired.
The other reason you want to increase your level of fitness is to reduce injuries. As we continue to push ourselves to develop, we go for bigger air, more twists and riskier moves. But the higher we progress up the trick ladder, the bigger the strain we put on our bodies. There is no greater chance of getting injured as going into a trick than when your legs and arms are tired; you will have reduced control thought out the trick and a lesser chance of landing correctly. Though kite equipment has gotten much safer over the years, you still need to have a solid level of fitness as a kitesurfer to pull off tricks.
Yes it is blunt, but if you reduce your body weight, not only will you be more agile, but you will also be able to ride in lighter wind. Quit spending more money on larger kites and the latest and greatest lightweight boards; loose some pounds and save money.
Thus if you are serious about your kiting and want to keep improving, I suggest two things. Start an endurance sport and start some strength training. The sport could be something like swimming, cycling, running, rowing, aerobics or anything along those lines. The strength training could be a simple whole body routine. There is no need to go join a gym and all that hoopla.
A simple and highly effective routine that I suggest is this: Three or four days a week go for a 20-30 minute jog. Upon finishing take a few minute break and then do some basic strength training. This can include push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and basic lunges to build some leg strength. The key to all of this is to start easy and gradually build up your pace and number of strength exercises over time. If you rush things, you run the risk of injury. Take it slow is the key.
And last but not least, to stay on the water for your target amount of time, you have to have stay to train to stay on the water that long. Each week during your riding sessions, try adding 10 to 15 minutes to your session. Gradually you will build up your endurance.
The Kite Life wishes you happy kiting...see you on the water...