Kiteboarding is the pleasure of riding either flat water or waves with all the freedom that the kite and the wind provides you. Once you’re up and riding only your imagination limits your movements. Like to jump really high, doing aerial tricks? You can do it. Prefer to ride the waves, barreling it down big breakers? You can do it. Want to pull off wake-style tricks using bars or other obstacles? You can do it!
No matter what style you prefer, everyone is united in that great feeling of being propelled by the wind that’s blowing in your kite while carving the water with your feet on the board, controlling all the kite moves and generating real power… that’s the real pleasure of kiteboarding.
You can already kiteboard in winds starting at around 10 knots or so, but the preferred wind range is between 18 to 25 knots. With kiteboarding we refer to wind speeds in knots, not kilometers per hour. To have an idea of speeds, you need to multiply every knot by 1,8 to get the speed in km/h.
First of all, there’s the kite, which has an inflatable leading edge and struts, so that it will float if it’s dropped in the water. The form of the kite will also ensure that it will position itself in such a way so that it’s easy to relaunch from the water.
There are many different kinds of kites, with many differences both in size and aerodynamic characteristics. Once you’ve kited for a while and you’ve figured out your kite style preference, you’ll want to have two or three different sized kites to use in different wind forces.
The kite bar has four lines, which are connected to the kite to control the power and the kite position. The bar will typically also have a chickenloop so that the kite can be quickly released in dangerous situations.
There is even more choice when it comes to kite boards. People typically learn how to ride on twintips, which has two foot straps, four fins on each edge at the bottom as well as a handle in the middle so you can hold on to it easily when you bodydrag for example.
Once you’ve learned the basics, you can decide whether to try surfboards, wakeskates, skimboards (either with or without straps) or twintips with booties. All serve a different style and will enable you to do different types of tricks.
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Taking kiteboarding lessons
It’s important to stress the necessity of taking kite lessons before handling a kite. Trying to fly a kite without knowing what you’re doing is dangerous, both for yourself and those around you. That’s why many kite spots in Europe and elsewhere now require kiters to show their IKO certification to proof that they have the level to kite in all safety.
It usually takes about eight hours of kite classes with a kiteboarding school to feel comfortable with the kite and to ride on a board with a kite on the water.