True Stories of Learning to Kite surf Part 2

Learning to Kite surf: What I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to! My journey and stories of learning to kitesurf and how this has helped me be a better kite instructor. Part 2

Learning to kite surf is a fun filled adventure with a few heart stopping moments thrown in for good measure, and while at times it can be frustrating, especially when you experience your first kite-mare, learning to kite-board should not be dangerous, if taught properly by experienced kite instructors and kite schools, of course What Sup? Lombok in Kuta Lombok is one of those Kite schools based in Indonesia.

 

In the first part of this series of blogs I shared a real life experience of my first kitemare. In these blogs I will share with you my journey of learning to kitesurf, and what I learned the hard way so you dont have too!

In my previous post Part 1 you will find where my learn to kite surf journey began, and my first hair raising attempt at setting up a kite, specifically what I did wrong. Here is how to prevent it happening to you.

Setting up the bar and lines, connecting the lines to the kite.

If done incorrectly and not spotted before you launch, can lead to a nasty outcome. Fortunately for you, kite surf manufacturers quickly realised this needed to be addressed, and it was the first significant step in improving kite safety for the user. In the early days kite strings were grey, the connection points were grey, all the connection points were the same.
Spot the problem?

Dont worry I didn’t either and sure enough we set up our lines upside down, back to front and every other which way in we should not have set up our lines.

There was no way of knowing which string went where unless you carefully laid out your lines, walked up each line, providing you didnt forget which line was in your hand and you didn’t get distracted by the more eye catching beachgoers, you connect to either the front or back of the kite and the correct wing tip. Lets face it I’m always rushing to get my kite set up and hit the water, so mistakes are made.

This has not been a problem for many years now as the lines are all colour coded (in case your colour blind, thats not a joke) and inside lines have a different end to the outside lines, However you can still connect all the lines correctly and still have twists. So when learning to kitesurf, here is what I learnt the hard way so you dont have too.

Now you will see many kite instructors teaching to lay your kite down and starting at your kite, walk with the wind and unwind your kite lines, a downwind setup. This appears to be the favoured teaching method of many kite instructors but there is another school of thought in which I firmly fall into.

If you learn to kitesurf in Lombok at What Sup? Lombok, our instructors will teach you too start at your kite and walk into the wind. Here is why.

Let the wind do the work - walking into the wind blows the kite lines away from you as you walk instead of the lines being blown onto your ankles if its windy.

KISS - keep it simple stupid. When you set your lines up downwind you have to lay your bar on the beach upside down, with left on the right and right on the left. This to me adds a completely unnecessary danger. I have seen on multiple occasions people picking up their bar from the downwind setup and forgeting to simply turn it over, launch the kite and be punished for it! Remember what happened to CD in part 1.

If you run your lines upwind, you lay your bar down with left on left, right on right. Danger eliminated.

The next step is to remove the twists by running up your lines, with all the lines running through your fingers of one hand, the outside lines on each side of your body and the inside lines between your legs(this is true for 5 line kites too). Now again here the wind will assist you if your doing an upwind setup. You will need to run up your lines twice, afte the first run you will place the inside lines down in fron of the kite and walk each outside line well outside of its appopriate wing tip. On the second run you concentrate on only the inside lines.

 

ALWAYS ALWAYS connect your inside lines first after the second run then connect your outside lines last. If you do this you can be confident that your lines will be setup without any twists, even if you look back down and the wind has blown the lines on top of each other closer to the bar and you can no longer see the string seperation.

 

So there it is! Have a go at setting up your lines into the wind, its easier when the wind is helping you untwist the lines and its ultimetly safer.

 

In the next post I will talk about how to prevent an overpowered launch, and why you need to always give yourself the time to do a final check on the lines before launching.

 

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We are located front and centre Kuta Beach, in Kuta, 25mins south of the International airport at Praya.