We all know that surfing has remained among the popular water sports throughout the globe, but in the past few years the growing popularity of kitesurfing has attracted many extreme sport lovers. One of the interesting aspects of kitesurfing is that it combines different elements from different sports like surfing, windsurfing, paragliding and skateboarding.
While it is similar to surfing where an individual rides the board on waves, but it also has the element of wind to it which is missing in regular surfing. With the growing demand for kitesurfing, there are a number of new training camps and kite surf schools that have come up that teach how to kite surf and various shops sell kiteboarding gear and kitesurfing equipment at affordable rates.
However, before you decide to learn how to kite board it is important that you know more about how to get trained for this extreme water sport.
Kitesurfing Vs Windsurfing
There is a huge debate going on about which extreme sport is more popular and it seems that there are equal number of enthusiasts for both extreme sports, but those who are really passionate about getting some thrills and fun in the water are inclined towards kitesurfing.
This new extreme sport has picked up immensely in the past few years and kitesurfing has gradually become popular in various parts of the world. So, while windsurfing offers a certain level of excitement and fun, why are extreme sports enthusiasts moving to kitesurfing?
Most extreme sports lovers would agree that the thrill is higher in kitesurfing than windsurfing. When you look at the size of the jumps that kitesurfers do it is much higher than windsurfers can because of the kite factor. This experience of jumping higher and performing crazy stunts and tricks is attracting lot of crowd towards kitesurfing.
With the involvement of kite, kitesurfing is also lot faster than windsurfing and the speed factor works like a magnet attracting extreme sports lovers. Kitesurfers love to surf full speed and jump higher which offers them the unique experience that windsurfing cannot offer.
Secondly, the learning curve is not complicated and short. Extreme sport lovers who know windsurfing and surfing can quickly learn the tricks of kitesurfing through kitesurfing lessons and they can take on from there and understand how to handle the kite to make the right moves.
While it seems like a debatable point, but many kitesurfers believe that the ability to travel with kitesurfing equipment is easier than moving around with windsurfing gear. Hence, many windsurfers are now moving to kitesurfing where they can enjoy some fun time on the beach. Also, kitesurfing requires less wind compared to the amount of wind windsurfing requires.
Getting Started with Training Kite Surfing
Like any extreme sport you need to have proper training before taking a step further. If you want to learn kite surfing you need to be fit and maintain your body to ensure it can stretch and move without any internal or external injuries. For this you need a training kite and focus on exercises that can allow you to lower your risk of injury. The goal of this exercise regime is to make your body more flexible so that you can go ahead with various kiteboarding tricks and stunts in style.
Hips and Leg Stretches
If you are planning to learn kite surfing you need to maintain the muscles in your hips and legs. Not stretching your hips and leg muscles will not just increase the risk of injuries in your knees, but will also lead to back problems that can be painful. It is therefore important that you do a basic hip flexor stretch.
Hamstring injury is quite common when sports enthusiasts kite surf for the first few times. This is because they have tried any stretching exercises to cheat their muscles. Since the muscles aren’t ready to stretch kite surfing without hamstring stretch is a bit of a risk. For hamstring stretch you need to bend your front leg and stretching the calfs. When you are doing this make sure that you are not looking down. Arch your back by looking forward and shoot out your chest to get maximum advantage.
When you are trying to learn to kite surf it is important to understand how your body moves while you’re in action. Calf injuries are quite common and to lower the risk calf stretch is something you shouldn’t miss out. For calf stretch you need to get down on your hands and feet and push your heel down to maximize the stretch.
You also need shoulder muscles to help you enjoy kitesurfing and for that you need to do shoulder stretch which will significantly reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. To begin with keep your shoulders straight and elbow in the center of the body. Now try to squeeze your elbows and hand together.
Opening up your chest and pushing your shoulders back is another important stretch that you need to include in your kitesurfing training.
Keeping your neck in shape is extremely important when you are focusing on learning to kite surf. If you want to neck stretch you can start by making a double chin by pulling your chin towards your chest. This will stretch the deep muscles in your neck. One of the reasons why beginners must focus on neck stretches is because initially they get neck pain by looking at the kite all the time. Hence, they usually suffer from headaches caused by neck tension.
Buying Kitesurfing Equipment
Beginners are always excited about buying the best kite boarding gear that they can find in the market. However, it is important that you purchase kitesurfing equipment that you need at a particular stage to help you move up in terms of performance.
If you are a beginner you need kitesurfing equipment that can help you to learn kitesurfing basics in a better way so that you can gradually improve your skills and try various moves and stunts later on. The most important thing that you need to learn how to kite surf is a power kite.
Power kite or traction kite is a large kite that come with different controls and is designed to pull the user. These kites are usually available in two forms: leading edge inflatable kite also known as LEI kite and foil kite. However, there are various kite designs available that makes it easier for the users to pick kites based on their level.
Leading Edge Inflatable Kites are also known as C-Kites because they are C-shaped. These kites are usually for advanced level users who know how to handle a kite and understand the dynamics of how to move the body to make the kite work in the right direction. C-Kites are for wakestyle riders as they lack depower which makes them very unstable for beginners.
Delta Kites have a swept back wing that very much looks like F-14 fighter jets and they offer the perfect balance that beginners need to learn kite surfing. Although, these kites are faster than bow kites because of their wing design they are lot more stable, easy to relaunch and control. Delta kites can be used by kitesurfers of all levels and it would offer a stable performance.
Bow kites have a triangular shape and they were developed almost a decade ago offering a great learning experience to first time kite surfers. These kites are generally safer than C-shaped kites as they have swept back wingtips and trailing edge that maintains complete depower and speed.
Most kitesurfing schools prefer to make use bow kites to teach extreme sport lovers and kitesurfing enthusiasts. These kites are equally popular on beaches where wind power is low as the bow shape of the kite maximizes the wind power.
Choosing a kiteboard that offers maximum learning advantage is important for beginners. Hence, when you are buying a kiteboard for kite surfing you need to make sure that it fits your weight, height and experience level. Most stores that sell kiteboarding gear do keep the kiteboard size chart that you can refer before you purchase it.
Additionally, there are other factors that you need to keep in mind. If you are planning to learn to kitesurf you need to choose a larger kiteboard and a smaller kite. With bigger kiteboard, you will be able to balance yourself well and understand how to move your body according to the wind movement.
On the other hand, smaller kites get less wind and therefore kitesurfing beginners have a better chance to have complete control and learn how to kiteboard. If you are an intermediate level, you still need to buy larger kiteboard and smaller kite to have greater control, but if you are an advanced level kitesurfer you can choose smaller kiteboard that can offer more fun and thrills.
There are various types of kiteboards available in the market so make sure that you choose the right one that fits your experience level. Directional boards are usually common and they are used by all kitesurfers. You may find some directional boards that have foot straps and some without it so make sure you choose the right one. Twin tip boards are good for beginners and for low wind conditions.
They are easier to learn and come with foot straps that allows users to try various moves and jumps. Hybrid kiteboards are a combination of directional and twin tip boards and are usually preferred for waters that have light waves. This kiteboard is not recommended for areas where the waves are strong and higher.
Skimboards are very much like hybrid kiteboards and are usually recommended in flat water conditions with small waves. Race boards are more like directional kiteboards, but they are extremely lightweight and therefore generally used for kitesurfing races allowing users to reach higher speeds. These boards are usually recommended for advanced level users who have complete control of their movements and the kite.
When you are planning to learn kite surfing you also need to purchase control bar which is attached to the kite through the flying lines. The rider usually holds the control bar to control the kite and rotating it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Most control bars come with quick release safety system.
If you’re a beginner you need to focus on buying control bars that are lightweight, but they must be durable. You must also make sure that the control bar you’re buying is suitable for the kite you have bought.
If the conditions are cold and if you don’t want to risk it, you must buy a wetsuit that can protect you from strong winds by reducing body heat loss. Many kitesurfers wear wetsuits because they want to protect themselves from marine life such as jellyfish and also from injuries if the kite pulls the user.
Most kitesurfers never really wear helmets, but if you are a beginner it is recommended that you safeguard yourself by wearing a helmet. A kitesurfing helmet can protect your head from blunt trauma and head lacerations. It can also protect you from neck and spine injuries if things go wrong while you are learning to kitesurf.
Apart from this kitesurfing equipment you also need to purchase flying lines, kite harness, safety hook knife, a personal flotation device also known as PFD, an impact vest and board leash, signaling devices and GPS.
Learning how to kiteboard requires good amount of patience and skill and therefore it is recommended that you go through various kiteboarding lessons that can help you to understand how to be prepared for it. You may also want to learn to kitesurf by joining kitesurf camp or kitesurf school where you can get more information on how to buy your kitesurfing equipment and how to kitesurf.
You may also want to check out more videos and documentaries on how to learn kitesurfing which will help you to improve your skills and moves so that you can quickly enhance your experience level.