Congratulations! You’re thinking of taking the plunge, or maybe you already have, with kitesurfing lessons. Sure, the goal is to be up and going on the water, but actually here are the five skills which are crucial to understand and be in control of, at the completion of your lessons in order for you to be a competent, safe beginner kiter.
How fast can you learn kitesurfing?
Learning any new sport is extremely rewarding, fun, frustrating, sometimes a bit painful, but always worth every bit of effort. Is kitesurfing hard to
learn? How long does it take? These questions get thrown at me all the time, and in all honesty, it really depends on each student. In this sport’s
case, previous learnt sports or life skills play a big part. Some, particularly wind based activities, speed up the learning process, like p
aragliding, windsurfing or sailing, because kiting is 80% wind skills. Others do the opposite: surfing, skateboarding, and gentle walks on the beach! (Okay, you beach walkers, I’ll
give you the benefit of the doubt: I’m sure it’s good for something; maybe to process the kite surf lesson you just finished.)
One thing which is certain, and surprising for most people, is that compared to surfing, kitesurfing is by far a much quicker progression to higher levels
of skills and competency. By a long shot. Kitesurfing is most definitely not a sport you should teach yourself, even though I myself had to. It
led to many dangerous situations which you, as a student in 2018, need never replicate. Equipment these days is reliable and human error is usually the culprit with accidents, which
is why lessons are highly advised for this sport.
What does What Sup? Lombok kitesurf school have to offer you?
So South Lombok is well known for surfing, but it is just as good for kitesurfing, and at this stage still fairly quiet. What Sup? Lombok kite school is based in Kuta, Lombok, and we have fully
qualified instructors with a wealth of experience - no cowboys here. We couple this with our strict one on one teaching approach and use of high tech
radio communication helmets. You would expect to take a minimum of 2 full lessons to acquire the skills to be able to continue practicing on your own.
Did you catch that? TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO PRACTICE ON YOUR OWN. It is crucial that schools make you an independent learner, whatever the sport,
so that you have the tools to improve safely and confidently long after lessons in the classroom cease.
Top 5 skills to master
So, to that end, out of the 2 lessons, these are my top 5 skills to focus on to build your confidence of being able to kite surf without the assistance of an instructor.
1. Safety System Familiarity
Being familiar with your safety system means practicing it over and over and over, then blindfolding yourself and practising it again and again. This includes
re-assembling the safety system blindfolded; ideally, you need to be able to do this in your room, front garden, your kitchen, basically anywhere where
you can tie off your lines above your bar, put on your harness and hit that quick release!
2. Kite & Lines Setup and Packdown
Go to the beach, wind or no wind and set up your kite. Check you have done it correctly, then pack it down again. Any experienced kite surfer is able to
setup their kite and lines, harness up, grab their board and be on the water in less than 5 min flat. The quicker you pack down, the quicker you can
grab that cold beer!! I used to set my kite up on the grass at a local beach, wind or not, admire it for 10 min, (hoping to catch the eye of a cute
girl - usually works), then pack it down again until I could do that with my eyes closed.
3. Self Launch
Speaks for itself really - part of being an independent kiter is not having to rely on someone else to help you get your kite up in the air. You would
be amazed at how many people don’t learn this and the next 2 skills. In my book and at What Sup? Lombok kite school, this will be drummed into you,
over and over and over. There are several different ways to self launch your kite safely, both of which are covered here. Again you need to be able
to self launch your kite with at least one eye closed, and with one hand!
4. Self Land
Sometimes I get students who think they can teach themselves how to kite without lessons from a reputable school, and to be fair maybe they can, eventually.
To those who are thinking along those lines I ask you this. If, and I mean, it’s a really big if, you broke into a helicopter and you somehow managed
to figure out how to start it up, then you miraculously took off, how would you go with landing it safely? My point? At some stage of your learning
process, and many a time later on, (for surely we all dream of being on a secluded beach blasting around the bay) you’re going to end up down the beach,
worn out, and wanting to land your kite, but with no around. Self land skills to the rescue, but before then, practice makes perfect.
5. Self Rescue
Self Rescue is another one that you need to practice repeatedly, both in your kite lesson and after, wherever you have space. This could be a run through on the grass,
down the beach or in the water. You do need to be able run out your lines the full length for this. For a full description on self rescue click here.
So there it is, my list of top 5 skills you need to nail when learning to kitesurf at any school; the 2 equipment based skills of safety system knowledge, kite gear setup and packdown,
and the 3 skill-based holy trilogy of self launch, land and rescue. If you’ve enrolled in a school already, get assurance that these
skills will be covered. If you choose to come to Indonesia to learn to kite, then consider Kuta, Lombok and I can assure you that here at What Sup? Lombok these 5 skills are integral components and are well covered to get you to our
ultimate goal: being confident, able, safe and independent learners of kitesurfing.