If you've never tried it before, kitesurfing can look extremely difficult and daunting. You shouldn't be put off having a go, however, as it's a fun and exhilarating sport that you will soon be able to master if you put in the practice. This article outlines some tips to help you start out in kitesurfing.
Start slowly and don't expect miracles
As with trying any new sport, it's important to start out at a comfortable level and be patient. No one is good at kitesurfing the first time they try, and you can expect to encounter lots of frustration when you're just starting out. Perseverance will pay off, however, and you will soon start to see improvements in your level of skill as you continue to practice. Working with an experienced and dedicated trainer will help you immeasurably, so it's important to choose your coach carefully.
Kitesurfing lessons are available in many coastal areas of the UK, and it's worth asking around to see if you have any acquaintances who kitesurf and can recommend a good instructor. If you're not yet sure that kitesurfing is for you, ask local watersports clubs if they offer one-off taster sessions. You'll be able to borrow or rent equipment, so the financial outlay will be minimal. Many people who try kitesurfing love it and decide to continue with the sport, but it's always a good idea to try any sport out before you commit to a lengthy course of lessons or invest in expensive equipment.
Listen to everything your instructor says, and don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how basic they seem. You instructor will have worked with countless beginners previously, and will be perfectly placed to help you start out in this exciting sport. Pay attention throughout all your lessons, and you'll soon find kitesurfing becomes second nature to you.
Don't attempt to kitesurf alone
Kitesurfing is not only more enjoyable if you go out onto the waves with a group, it's also much safer. Kitesurfing can be dangerous, and even seasoned surfers can get into difficulty at times. When you are just starting out, it's more important than ever that you stick with an experienced group or instructor. In addition, you will need someone to help you cast your kite and land it at the end of your session. If you are inexperienced when it comes to tides, currents and wind conditions, you could find yourself in danger. Having a supportive group around you will help you stay safe while you hone your kitesurfing skills.
Practice, practice, practice
Even the most experienced kitesurfers will always feel there is something they need to improve or a particular technique they need to work on. The only way to become good at kitesurfing is practising. This might seem frustrating at times, as kitesurfing requires certain conditions so you won't be able to just head out any time you feel like it. Persevere however, and get out onto the waves every opportunity you can and you'll soon see huge improvements in your ability and fitness levels. If you're not located near a suitable stretch of coastline, so your time out on the sea is limited, it's worth practicing flying a kite on land when the conditions are good. Becoming adept at handling a kite will give you great insight into the fundamentals of kitesurfing and it’s an excellent way to keep a toe in the sport even when you can't get out onto the waves.
Use the right equipment
As with any other sport, new and improved equipment for kitesurfing is being released constantly. While it makes sense to borrow or rent equipment when you're just trying out the sport, it's worth splashing out on the best kit you can afford once you've fallen in love with the sport and decided you want to continue to master it. Don't just buy your equipment based on price or what you like the look of - speak to your instructor or kitesurfing acquaintances, or check out online forums dedicated to the sport. You will most likely see the same brands and pieces of kit cropping up again and again, so always take on board recommendations from experienced kitesurfers before paying out.
What you'll need
You will need the following in order to kitesurf, but you should be able to rent or borrow some items when you're just starting out. Once you're sure you want to carry on kitesurfing, you can start building your kit.
Kitesurfing kite: This is a large kite that can be launched off the water and generates adequate power to pull you along on your board. You can buy a complete kite that includes the kite lines, pump, safety accessories and bar. Ask the retailer you choose for advice - experienced staff will be able to help you choose the best kite for your requirements.
Board: Kitesurfing boards look similar to wakeboards at first glance, but they are actually a different shape and have different foot straps. It's generally a good idea to start out with a larger board until your skills improve and you can use a smaller board.
Harness: There are different types of harness, but they all work in the same way and connect directly to your body while you're out on your board. It's vital that you choose a harness that fits you well and is comfortable to wear.
Wetsuit: While these can be rented fairly easily, you'll want to buy your own if you're becoming serious about the sport.
Most importantly, have fun!
Kitesurfing is an exhilarating sport and there's nothing quite like it. It should be fun, so try not to become disheartened if you don't master it as soon as you'd like. Try and enjoy each practice session and you'll soon find that the "good" sessions outnumber the frustrating ones.