True stories of Learning to Kitesurf Pt 1

Learn to Kitesurf in Indonesia; What I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to! My journey and stories of learning to kitesurf, how this has helped me be a better kite instructor.

Oh shit!

This is generally the first thing that will go through your mind when a sequence of events occur that you know is going to lead to having to do the dreaded self rescue. Self rescue in kite surfing is not fun, or something you aspire too, but, to not know how to self rescue is not an option. It takes the “Oh shit this is not going to end well” and transforms it to ‘Oh shit, this sucks but at least I can get back to the beach intact with all my gear, and go have a cold beer and regale my mates with my latest kitemare. I’m amazing. Bam”. A far better option than the first one, I say.
 How do I know self rescue is such an important part of the process of learning to kite surf? And why is it part of our course structure at What Sup? Lombok when learning to kite surf in Indonesia? The answers lay below.

The following is a true story: Several months into my kiting experience I was once again out kite surfing with my boss and friend, CD, in a river mouth in north Queensland, Australia. A crocodile infested river I might add; in fact, the river in question boasts the highest number of crocodiles in Queensland, but I digress. I was yet to actually stand up on the board and that is what I set out to achieve this day. Now the theory was, it was safe to kite in a shallow pond during low tide and as long as you stay in the confines of this pond, chances of being eaten by a crocodile dropped from ‘most likely’ to ‘you’ll be right mate’.

So board on my feet, dive the kite to power up and I'm off!!!!! Wow what a rush, “I’m up, I’m up” is all I'm thinking. “Keep the kite high, point the board, keep the kite powered... wow, I’m moving fast, oh no! The pond is way back there, better stop, don’t know how to stop, dang nam it!” 

Now being the novice I was, I looked back at where I should be and in that instant I drove the kite into the water, whilst still moving at warp speed towards the kite, all the lines went slack which allowed the kite to roll several times on itself, wrapping the lines around the kite and completely ruining any chance I had to re-launch the kite off the water (not that I knew how to do that yet anyway).

So in seconds I had skimmed across the water about several hundred metres into the mouth of a 3km wide, murky brown, crocodile infested, remote river mouth. Thankfully the tide was incoming, so at least I wasn’t sucked out to sea. Problem now though is that I am being pushed into the river, surrounded by mangroves, with no one in sight except CD, who is merrily kitesurfing back and forth in the shallow pond that I could only have dreamed of being in myself.

I had no idea what to do. I could swim for it, but it’s a long way and I can see how quickly I’m being taken by the incoming current, away from the shore towards the center of the mouth and upstream. Nope, stuff that, better stay with my gear and hope someone sees me and I get rescued. So I swim to my kite, and climb inside it,so at least it keeps me afloat. Here is the point in time that, if I had of known how to Self Rescue, a skill you will learn at our kite center in Lombok, things would have ended differently.  Continue reading part 2 here












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