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Questions Every Beginner Should Ask

Kiteboarding in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area is fantastic and the number of kiters hitting the waterways grows more and more every year. Naturally, with kiteboarding being the fastest growing sport in the world, there are going to be many novice riders out there trying to get into the sport. We are so excited for those folks and know they are starting an amazing hobby that may even become a new way of life!

With anything, learning something new goes hand-in-hand with having questions. We have compiled some of the top questions we have been asked throughout the years and feel all beginners should be asking.

Questions You Should Be Asking

  • Do I have to take lessons?
    • Absolutely, yes! We understand many people interested in learning how to kiteboard may be coming from a background in other watersports, like wakeboarding or surfing, or feel as if it looks so easy they will just teach themselves, however; we feel it is in the student’s best interest to learn from a professional kiteboarding instructor. 
    • Taking a professional kiteboarding lesson is beneficial for many reasons:
      • Private lessons are structured around your skill-set and abilities and can therefore offer a much smaller learning curve than if you were to teach yourself. 
      • Progression is faster because you get the immediate solution to any technique issues you experience. Your instructor can watch you ride and give advice, rather than a trial-and-error repeat session you would experience if you were to teach yourself.
      • Learning how to kiteboard by taking lessons allows you to start your kiteboarding career with good kiteboarding habits. Your instructor will teach you the proper way to set up your  gear, beach/kite etiquette, launching techniques (from beach launches and lands to water relaunches), and how to properly store and care for your gear. 
      • Taking kiteboarding lessons can also SAVE YOU MONEY in the long run! YAY! All too often we see novice riders come to the beach with used and abused bargain kiteboarding gear that they “scored” from some online market. Because they were never taught or advised on kiteboarding gear, they bought whatever was cheap and looked cool. Yes, we understand entering into kiteboarding can add up the Benjamins at the onset, but we also know if you don’t do your research, you may buy gear that is greatly used and in need of repairs immediately or is old and the safety systems are irrelevant or even non-existent. This all-too familiar scenario results in the new student wasting their money because the gear they originally bought is not usable and they have to end up purchasing newer gear anyway. Your kiteboarding instructor will teach you about gear and guide you through the purchasing process to make sure you get the best stuff for your budget and riding style.
      • Lastly, if you take kiteboarding lessons from a professional kiteboarding school, you will gain the confidence as a rider to be successful on the water. Because you took lessons, you will be confident in knowing how all your gear works, how to maneuver the kite and board to get you where you need/want to go, and how to successfully have a fun, worry-free kiteboarding session!

  • How long does it take to learn how to kiteboard?
    • Learning how to kiteboard is specific to each student, as a private kiteboarding lesson is structured around the student’s individual needs, skills, and abilities. 
    • On average, most students learning from Elite Watersports take around 7 hours of lessons before they are confident, independent riders.
    • You can take as many lessons as you want for as long as you want; learning to kiteboard is your experience!
  • When can I go out by myself?
    • We feel that once you have learned and mastered all the kite gear and proper riding techniques, including kiting upwind, you can go out by yourself. Again, having confidence in your skills and gear is critical!
    • It is highly recommended to kite with some buddies or at the popular kiteboarding spot where there will be others around you in case you need assistance. 
    • Be ever-vigilant of your surroundings if you’re going out alone for the first time. Check for any upwind and/or downwind obstacles you may experience and then plan your riding path accordingly

  • When should I kite? How do I know what to expect with the wind?
    • As a beginner, you may not be familiar with the wind patterns or where to locate wind forecast. That’s ok, there are several places you can find this information at prior to your kiteboarding sessions.
      • We use weather sites like iKitesurf.com or Wind Alert to keep us in the know about future wind conditions. 
      • Its always smart to talk to the veteran local kiteboarders who know the patterns of the wind for their area. Local riders can often provide you with valuable insight on the perfect riding conditions and where to find them!
      • It may also be in your best interest to watch what the local riders do; if they are not on the water kiting, it is probably for a reason. 

 

  • What kiteboarding gear is right for me?
    • There are many kiteboarding brands out there and it can be overwhelming to try and research what on the market is best for you. Leave it to the experts! 
    • Your kiteboarding instructor will have provided you with a plethora of gear information and started you with a base-knowledge of what gear you’ll be needing.
      • Elite Instructors will assist you during your purchasing process and help you pick out the gear you need. They will walk you through the Elite Watersports‘ ‘Buyer’s Guide for Kiteboarding Gear’ or provide advise. 
    • There are three main items you will need to spend some time learning about before purchasing and those are the Kite, Harness, and Kiteboard. These three pieces are the make-or-break to your kiteboarding session and you should be confident in what you’re buying.
      • The KITE is the bulk of your spending but also the most important part of your kiteboarding gear.
        • Make sure its shape is specific to your riding style and that it is safe and reliable. 
        • Beginners should look for a kite that offers simplicity, easy re-launch, and wide wind range. 
      • The HARNESS should fit you like a well-fitting pair of shoes.
        • Your harness holds the majority of force and can strain the back if ill-fitting. Be sure to purchase a harness that meets your needs as a rider but also supports your very valuable back and spin!
      • The KITEBOARD is chosen based on your weight and skill level.
        • Beginners should purchase a larger board so they have room for error. Larger boards are more buoyant and forgiving. Once you have progressed, the larger board can now be used as your light-wind board.
  • Where should I buy my kiteboarding gear?
    • As previously mentioned, be smart about where you buy your gear. Don’t buy the first thing you see online or from the first person peddling you a “good deal”; you get what you pay for. 
    • It is highly recommended that you purchase your kiteboarding gear from a shop that specializes in kiteboarding or a reputable online dealer.
      • The staff at a kiteboarding shop will be able to provide you with knowledge of the products they sell, which is always good! 
      • Insert shameless plug here: Elite Watersports offers a storefront in South St. Petersburg, near one of the hottest kiteboarding locations in Tampa Bay, as well as a full online store for those clients out of town or unable to visit the folks at the shop!

  • How do I connect with other kiteboarders in my area?
    • It is always beneficial to establish yourself in the kiteboarding community nearest you. By building relationships with fellow riders, they will be more cognizant of you while you’re riding and if something should go wrong while you’re out on the water, the folks on the beach or riding near by will be there to help!
    • Kiteboarding in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area is wonderful because the kiters are wonderful! We are all in this sport together and for the same reason; we are all passionate about kiteboarding! So, most riders will be more than happy to meet a new kiter and exchange some tips and stories from their experiences.
  • Should I travel to kiteboard?
    • YES! Part of the beauty of knowing how to kiteboard, is kiteboarding in beautiful and exciting new places!
    • Your local kiteboarding spot is probably seasonal like most places. Many kiters will travel during their area’s off-season, or less-windy months, and the options are endless on where to travel.
      • Look at kiteboarding social outlets for photos of people kiteboarding in areas unknown to you, look in kiteboarding magazines for articles and photos of pros traveling to exotic new places, and ask your new kite friends where they like to travel to for kiteboarding. 
  • How do I progress my kiteboarding skills?
    • If you’re asking yourself this question, that means you have mastered the above listed questions and tips and are moving forward toward becoming a proficient and capable kiteboarder.
    • PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Keep getting out on the water and trying new things; don’t be afraid to crash! 
    • Film yourself or have someone film you while you ride. Having footage of yourself riding can help you visualize how to tweak a move you may not be landing. Having someone else film or watch you ride also encourages them to provide you with advise on how to master a trick or move. Along with videos or yourself, watch videos pro riders have posted or of someone you know lands a particular move you’re trying to learn. Visual aid goes a long way!
    • Book yourself a Progression Lesson with an Elite Watersports kiteboarding Instructor. During a Progression Lesson you will ride and attempt new moves while the Elite Instructor rides next to you and assists you in landing whatever you’re working on. 

 

We hope this helps you as you embark on this awesome kiteboarding adventure! Don’t forget, if you’re ever unsure about anything kiteboarding, ask the professionals at Elite Watersports, we are happy to help!

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