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First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions

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RaviTheJedi
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First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions

Postby RaviTheJedi » Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:15 pm

Took my first Kiteboarding lesson ever with East of Maui in Dewey, Delaware last week.

I've watched many videos, flown trainer kites for fun, and I thought I knew what to expect, but I was wrong. The conditions were Gusty 20knots with gusts up to 30. We went over the safety features, which was easy. When we got into the water first thoughts were: Holy crap, big kites are a lot harder to control. During body dragging, I kept crashing the kite into the water. You almost have to feel where the kite is. After 1 hour of fighting with kite and getting saltwater up my nostrils, we called it a day. We were practicing on 12M North Orbit.

But wait, there is more. I had already purchased my gear. After lessons, I figured I go back and practice on my own. So I proudly pulled out my Cabrinha Switchblade 12M for the first time. Went into the water, and same thing. I kept crashing the kite. I tried adding the board (i know, too soon), and face-planted a few times to replenish my salt again :).

Lesson learned: learn the kite first and wait for the board.

Few questions:
1. Should I buy a 5M kite and learn how the kite reacts. But I feel it may not be as productive since 5M kite is going to react differently than 9 or 12m kite.
2. How often do you look at your kite while riding? I am trying to figure out when I will be ready to add the board.
3. When I let go of the bar, should kite automatically stay at 12 O'clock or it can fall on the sides? During the lesson, the kite did not want to stay up and kept falling to the side.

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby Toby » Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:24 pm

One question first: you didn't fly the 12 in 20-30 knots, right?

Don't buy a 5, way too fast. Wasted money.

You will keep looking for a longer one to your kite, even with board. But it will be less and less.

If a kite is perfectly trimmed, it could stay on 12...bit some kites tend to steer to one side...then they won't stay up.
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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby StellaBlu » Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:42 pm

RaviTheJedi wrote:
Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:15 pm

Few questions:
1. Should I buy a 5M kite and learn how the kite reacts. But I feel it may not be as productive since 5M kite is going to react differently than 9 or 12m kite.
2. How often do you look at your kite while riding? I am trying to figure out when I will be ready to add the board.
3. When I let go of the bar, should kite automatically stay at 12 O'clock or it can fall on the sides? During the lesson, the kite did not want to stay up and kept falling to the side.
1. No. Just learn to fly your existing kite in lighter conditions. As Toby mentioned, if you were trying to fly a 12 in 20-30kts (as a beginner) you were quite overpowered. You should have been on a 9 or so. Don't buy any more equipment until you have taken a couple more lessons.
2. As a beginner you will spend a lot of time looking at the kite because you aren't accustomed to how it flies. As you gain experience, you will understand how the kite behaves and will be able to gauge the kite's position based on bar feel without looking at it. Once experienced you won't look at the kite much (unless its underpowered).
3. The kite should stay at 12 if you let go when the kite is already at 12. But if the kite is going in a direction when you let go, it will continue its momentum and won't correct to 12.

Your experience is typical. You just need more lessons. Expect 3-4 lessons before things start to click between the kite and the board. If your estimation of the wind is correct, the first lesson may have been a bit punishing because you were overpowered. It also sounds like you need to spend a bit more time learning to control the kite before doing anything with the board.

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby Havre » Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:21 pm

Haven't got much to add other than things that feel almost impossible in the beginning will quite soon be easy ("easy" even if we all make mistakes regardless of how good you become). Just have to accept that for most things are a bit of a mess in the beginning.

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby Herman » Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:49 pm

There is no right or wrong answer to your question and what you experience is normal. It is worth noting that what you are trying to do is not much more difficult than walking, it is just that like walking it cannot be done well by conscious thought. Just look at a toddler or somebody who is relearning to walk. It has to be done by training the brain, or the name I despise ~ muscle memory.

The most important thing imho for this brain training is TOK and TOW. There is a glitch with this that you have already discovered, you already have some land TOK but soon as you had power on the water the brain said “tilt!” and probably went partially into survival mode. With more TOW you will become more relaxed and fully functioning; you will then realise that actually the kite is no more difficult to control than a trainer.

What is best to buy depends very much on your local conditions and your commitment and so talk to your local riders. If buying a 5m (6 or 7 if heavy) gives you more TOK, then why not if you have the budget. It will be a lot safer and easier teaching yourself to self launch with an underpowered small kite in a decent breeze, rather than a big kite underpowered because the big kite will fall over, taco and generally misbehave in very light wind. Don’t try to ride with a small kite but a 5-7 would be fine for body dragging in the conditions you describe.

Trouble is everybody is different with different backgrounds of related sports.

PS Ask around some old salt may have an old beater 5m tucked away in a shed, get him to demonstrate it for you and it will be a free lesson!

It does not matter how much you do or don’t look at the kite at your stage. Do whatever helps you stay in control, the kite is the priority. But of course with experience you don’t have to look at the kite at all-ish, it’s on the end of the lines and you can just look at the lines or feel the direction of pull.
Last edited by Herman on Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby FLandOBX » Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:59 pm

The advice that others have given is spot on. I have nothing to add other than to say: just keep at it; you will progress quickly; use good judgment and be safe.

I'm amazed at the conditions some instructors will try to make work. Giving a lesson on a 12m kite in 20-30 knots should be illegal! :o Was this lesson recent, with the approaching Hurricane Henri in your area?? Your instructor knows better.

My first lesson occurred in winds that were so light the instructor couldn't even re-launch the kite. It was an 18m kite!! Ridiculous.

Instructors know better.

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby RaviTheJedi » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:14 pm

Thanks for the Advice everyone. I wasn't going nuts :). I do weigh 195 at the moment, so hence the insructor used 12M kite. I am not sure how being overpowered feels, but time will tell.

Great advice on not buying additional gear at the moment. However, if I do buy a 5M kite, my 9-year-old should be able to enjoy it (Question for another post).

Next time I go, I will go on my 9M Orbit, so it should be easier to control than 12M. Delaware/MD area sucks when it comes to good clean wind. I might go for 3 - 5 days to OBX in late September or early October if time allows (aside from work, kids, and work in progress Masters degree).

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby RaviTheJedi » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:18 pm

Herman wrote:
Mon Aug 23, 2021 6:49 pm
The most important thing imho for this brain training is TOK and TOW. There is a glitch with this that you have already discovered, you already have some land TOK but soon as you had power on the water the brain said “tilt!” and probably went partially into survival mode. With more TOW you will become more relaxed and fully functioning; you will then realise that actually the kite is no more difficult to control than a trainer.

PS Ask around some old salt may have an old beater 5m tucked away in a shed, get him to demonstrate it for you and it will be a free lesson!
Curios: What is TOK and TOW? I can drive the meaning from sentences, but curious about what the acronym stands for.

Also, where should I ask around about someone having an Old Beater 5M tucked away?

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby FLandOBX » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:25 pm

RaviTheJedi wrote:
Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:18 pm
What is TOK and TOW?
Time On Kite.
Time On Water.

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Re: First Kiteboarding lesson Ever... Feedback and few questions.

Postby Slappysan » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:29 pm

Biggest thing you can do for your progression is to go somewhere with knee to waist deep water, completely changes the experience.
OBX and SPI both have great shallow water spots.
I have no personal experience but looking around a map of Delaware you might have better luck at Assateague Beach on low tide for something closer to home.
Or Perhaps Stone Harbor.
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