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Beginner Advice

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Beginner Advice

Postby bcrowe31 » Tue May 26, 2020 11:27 pm

Hi, I was hoping to learn to kiteboard this coming spring/summer. Im completely new to the sport and have yet to try, but have been amazed for years seeing guys flying around Jupiter Florida and a few on the Jersey Shore. However, with this Corona virus, all shops and possible lessons are unavailable right now.

Is there anyway I could learn this on my own and without a lesson? Could I buy a training kite and manage teaching myself without a lesson? I am an experienced wakeboarder/snowboarder and surf frequently

First time posting and just looking for any advice to try to enter the sport. Thanks in advance

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby FLandOBX » Wed May 27, 2020 12:44 am

Buy a 3 meter trainer kite and learn to fly it without looking at it ("by feel"). Get comfortable flying it at the edge of the wind window, looping it, landing it to a partner on the edge of the window, etc. Watch online videos to learn the terminology (wind window, edge of the window, power zone, 12 o'clock, etc.).

If you do that, you'll be well prepared for a few lessons on the water with a large LEI kite. It is dangerous to try to fly a large LEI kite without lessons to teach you how to use the safety systems, self-rescue, and manage the tremendous power. Board sport experience is good, but kiteboarding is more about controlling the power of the kite than board skills. By the time you're an expert with your power (trainer) kite, lessons will be happening again. Be safe and have fun with it!

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby Blackened » Wed May 27, 2020 7:44 am

What FLandOBX said. Understand the wind window and where the little trainer generates a lot of power. That's where the big kite will do it, except a lot more. Kiting is 90% kite control.

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby Havre » Wed May 27, 2020 8:06 am

Not that much to add to OBX. I don't regret not doing it, but I probably would have saved some money even if I had bought a trainer kite before taking lessons. Rather pointless paying an instructor showing you how to fly one of those.

Only thing I would add is that those kites are in my opinion very boring to fly. So if you find yourself thinking this isn't much fun after some time with the trainer kite know that flying a "real" kite is completely different. That also - even if you master the trainer kite with your eyes closed flying a proper one will need some time to get used to regardless. Some even argue using a trainer kite too long makes it more difficult to fly a big kite properly. I don't agree to that, but might be useful to be mentally prepared for it being a bit different (a bit - flying a kite is quite easy after some hours).

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby Slappysan » Wed May 27, 2020 8:50 am

While a 3 or 4 line trainer is a great start to learn to kite it will only get you so far. On the plus side a decent 4 line trainer will only cost you $150.

An alternative which will get you much much farther would be to get a small kite and learn in light winds. Obviously there are still risks and if you could take lessons you should take lessons but with the current situation you probably can't. Not all small kites are the same either and there are only a few I would ever endorse people trying to self learn on.

The one kite that shines above all else for learning is the Flysurfer Peak 4. This is actually a snow kite that's not intended to be used on the water but it's such an amazing kite that we use it on the water all the time anyway (mostly with a foil boards).

Jupiter FL looks like it gets a mix of 20 knot days and 10-14 knot days, I would recommend a 4m Peak 4. You would only learn on the 10-14 knot days and need to know the difference! Even a small kite can pull very hard in higher winds.

With the Peak 4 you can learn both on land and in the water (a LEI kite would be destroyed if you learned on land). Note that learning in the water requires shallow water and a friend to relaunch the kite for you.

You will need to buy:
Peak 4 4m: $480
Bar & Lines: $300 (close out price)
Harness: $150 (close out price)

That's a total of $930, but $450 of that money you would have to spend anyway on you kite gear as you can use the same bar and harness with large LEI kites, so you are only spending $330 extra dollars over the trainer kite and you can probably resell the Peak 4 for more of it's value than you could a trainer (or keep it for hydrofoiling).

The reasons the Peak 4 is such a good kite for learning:
1) it will fly well in as little as 5 knots of wind, allowing for safer learning and less reliance on wind
2) it has amazing depower, if you let the bar go, this kite stops pulling you
3) it has almost no vertical lift, honestly you can't jump with these kites
4) it generates power much more consistently than most kites and is less likely yank you if you do the wrong thing

You can see me teaching with the 5m version in 8 knots of wind here: (at 1:07 you'll notice that even in 8 knots of wind and a tiny kids board I'm able to almost ride downwind at 165 lbs)

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby Herman » Wed May 27, 2020 10:03 am

As a snowboader it might be worth your while checking out landboarding if you have a suitable venue. With a 3m trainer you can teach yourself to ride, gybe, toeside even dry water start. The suggested peak would also be epic for this if budget is not a factor.
On hard packed sand you need much less power than kitesurfing and 20 years ago when kites were a much cruder source of power this was considered to be the safer starting option by many but, of course, you need to do your own risk assessment.

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby burownidl » Wed May 27, 2020 4:27 pm

You're in Florida? If you feel like taking a vacation, the Outer Banks in North Carolina is open right now. Im going there this weekend to do a lesson

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby SoFloErrl » Wed May 27, 2020 4:35 pm

Hey, I'm im your area and looking to learn this summer too. I pm'ed you, check inbox

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby yowobx » Wed May 27, 2020 7:58 pm

I was you a decade ago, snowboarder who was keen to learn to kite. FLandOBX is bang on with his advice. Board skills should come quicker to you but it is very different being hooked on to a kite. By all means play with a trainer kite, but the power of a real kite will surprise you. Take lessons. Safety and kite control are everything. When my wife decided she wanted to learn and join me kiting, she got the board skills down pretty quick with Ty Luckett at Kite Hatteras. She was keen, it was July, sunny, Pamlico sound was about 88F and she was about to put board and kite together. But once hooked into the kite, her enthusiasm waned. Not her cup of tea and it likely didn't help watching me learn as a beginner, knowing she was going to spend a bit of time being being pulled around on top of, and under the water as she learned to control the kite. Highly recommend learning in Hatteras, warm water, waist deep for the most part and with Ty you are on a boat, so very comfortable as a beginner. In addition, being on a boat you means you can make better use of your time, changes in wind direction and strength don't matter since you have your choice of as many kite and board sizes you want. You will learn safer and faster with Ty and his unique set up. Good luck and enjoy, its a great sport.

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Re: Beginner Advice

Postby sewerrat » Wed May 27, 2020 10:56 pm

Your board skills will help tremendously. What you need is kite skill and wind knowledge. An inexpensive trainer kite is a good investment for learning about wind strength, space requirements, and kite flying. You can keep it and use with a skateboard, or give to friend etc. who goes to beach with you to help you land and launch your kite... Biggest mistake is buying the wrong kite equipment. Lots of used kites are garbage either because of worn parts or not suitable to beginner. Go to the local kite area and talk with locals for most used kite size, safety of launch area and downwind landing area. If you have steady cross-shore winds 12-20mph, a long sandy beach, and someone to help you launch and land kite (not your 8 yr old), then learning without a lesson is doable, although not recommended. Whatever you decide, don't be the guy who hurts himself or someone else because of poor judgement and gets kiting banned.

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