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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to start kiteboarding?
A: A full set of gear (board, kite, bar, lines and harness) will run you anywhere from $500 to $2000 depending on what you decide to buy. Many manufacturers offer entry-level packages that are very reasonable.

Q: Is kiteboarding easy?
A: Yes and no. With good instruction, most people enjoy an incredibly fast learning curve. Without instruction, trying to learn kiteboarding can be frustrating and dangerous.

Q: Do I need to be in good shape to kiteboard?
A: A basic level of fitness is all you usually need. Modern gear can be adjusted to work for people with a broad range of physical ability.

Q: Why can’t I learn from a video or magazine?
A: You can learn a lot from videos and magazines, but there is no substitute for having an instructor provide feedback, share local knowledge, maximize safety and customize instruction to your individual needs. Not to mention most of them are really cool guys!

Q: Why can’t I just learn from my friend?
A: A friend is a good starting point, but he likely won’t have the beginner-friendly gear nor the patience and experience to give you the most effective lesson.

Q: How much do lessons cost?
A: Lessons can range from around $150 to $300 for the basics.

Q: How do I find a school in my area?
A: Your local kiteboarding association or retail shop should be able to provide a list of schools in your area. Check out the Kiteboard Schools page.

Q: Do I need any skills before I take a lesson?
A: All you need is to be comfortable in the water and ready to learn. Many people learn kiteboarding despite limited board-sport experience.

Q: Why do lessons focus on flying the kite?
A: Flying the kite well is at least 90 percent of kiteboarding. Trying to ride a board without having good kite skills is like trying to wakeboard behind a boat that is swerving and changing speeds. It can be dangerous and it is not much fun.

Q: How can I tell which way the wind is blowing and its strength?
A: Pick up some sand and toss it in the air. The sand will blow in the direction of the wind. There are several efficient wind meters on the market that measure wind speeds accurately. It’s a minimal investment that will help to ensure you take out the right kite.

Q: How much wind do I need to go?
A: With the right gear, a 170-pound person with average skill can ride and stay upwind in as little as 6mph.

Q: What is the best trainer kite to buy?
A: Most manufacturers sell quality trainer kites. Ask your local school instructor or dealer to help you make the right choice.

Q: Do I need to fly a trainer kite before I ride on the water?
A: Lessons are your best bet before purchasing or trying any new gear. Many schools will teach you briefly with a trainer kite and then help you learn on their equipment. This will give you the chance to kick the tires on different equipment and see what works for you.

Q: Is it safe to jump on land with my kite?
A: It is never safe to jump on land at any level of kiting expertise.

Q: What happens if I put my kite up and I am lifted off the ground?
A: This can be a frightening experience when learning to kite. Don’t panic! Try to sit down and steer the kite slowly to the side of the edge of the window. If someone is around, have them hold you down until you can safely land your kite. If all else fails, grab the tether on your leash and let your bar go. This will depower your kite enough so you won’t get hurt.

Q: What kites are best to learn with?
A: Many foils are used for trainer kites. However, it is recommended that you use either a foil kite that can re-launch efficiently or use an inflatable. Most schools teach with inflatable kites.

Q: How many kites do I need?
A: Modern kites can handle a wide range of wind conditions. In most areas you can get by with two or three kites.

Q: What happens when you crash your kite?
A: With some instruction and practice, many kites (especially inflatable kites) can be re-launched from the water. Make sure to find out if your kite is water re-launchable. If so, take the time to learn this important skill.

Q: Can I put straps on a surfboard or use any old wakeboard to learn?
A: Yes, you can use either but your learning curve will be shortened with a board designed specifically for kiteboarding.

Q: Do I have to live near an ocean to kiteboard?
A: No! Anywhere with a stretch of clear land, water, snow, and wind can be ridden. People ride on lakes, rivers, snowfields, grass fields and even hard packed dirt. So for all you middle Americans, this sport is the best kept secret. Take it to your windblown lakes and snowfields!

Q: Is it safe to ride in offshore winds?
A: It is never safe to ride in any conditions that you can not handle. Make a plan before you go out and designate where you will drift if you or your equipment fails. Most importantly, never ride alone!

Q: What do I do if someone is coming right at me and I don’t know what to do?
A: The best thing you can do is to look at your surroundings. If you see someone coming in your direction, either ride downwind of them or put your kite in neutral well ahead of their passing you. Many new riders make the mistake of panicking and putting their kite straight up in neutral at the last minute. If you know your surroundings, you will have time to telegraph your position.

Q: What do I do if someone tries to out-point me when I have the right of way?
A: Give them plenty of room to pass you. They are clueless!

Q: Can I kiteboard in very light wind?
A: Yes, we have seen kiteboarders riding in as light as 5 knots of wind. In addition, the equipment is evolving quickly to be more efficient in light wind.

Q: Can I kiteboard in very strong wind?
A: Yes, you can kiteboard in over 40 knots of wind, but must use a kite size suited to the wind range you are riding in. If you are a beginner, be accompanied by a credible instructor or professional.

Q: Can I re-launch the kite from the water?
A: Yes, most kites will re-launch very easily depending on the kite’s size and rider experience. Some foil kites are not designed to re-launch. However, some have inflatable cells to aid in a re-launch. Please check with your local school or dealer to make sure you buy a kite that is best suited to your skill level.

Q: What equipment do I need to kiteboard?
A: You will need a kite, a bar and lines, a board, a harness and an open mind. In addition, there is a variety of optional accessories to customize your equipment. Please do a little research on the internet or through your local dealer or school to ensure you buy the right gear.

Q: Can I kiteboard on the snow or ice?
A: Yes, you can use your kite to pull you on a snowboard or skis. Many riders have been crossing over to the snow and developing boards and equipment specifically for this riding style. Check out www.kitesnowboard.com for information and tips.

Q: Do I need an assistant to launch or land the kite?
A: You normally do not need any assistance to launch or land your kite unless you are in a crowded beach where the safety of others is at risk or you are learning. It is not recommended to have an inexperienced person launch or land your kite at any time. Often they put themselves and everyone around them in danger if something goes wrong. Different kites have different launching, landing and water re-launching techniques. It is best to work with your local school or dealer to learn the ins and outs of your equipment before you get into a bad situation.



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