Kiteboarding: Getting Started

Photo credit: Daniel Peter/

By Jeremy Lund

Over the next few articles I am going to write an instructional series that will cover everything from your first day of kiting all the way up to making your first jump. For those of you who are already avid kiters, I think you will find knowledge and a new understanding of the kiteboarding methodology. For those of you who have not kiteboarded before, please do not use this series to replace proper training. Kiteboarding is a very unique sport and must be learned with a certified instructor. However, this series will give you a taste of what’s involved and help prepare you for your lessons.

One of the things most instructors and schools recommend before you start kiting is to purchase and practice with a trainer kite. A trainer kite is a two-to-four square meter traction (power) kite that is intended to teach you about the basic kite control and something called the wind window, we’ll get into this later. While I believe that the trainer kite can be a very useful tool, I do have mixed feelings on the topic. Often people purchase these kites without any knowledge and often build, practice and reinforce bad habits. It can be very difficult to break these habits once you have formed them in your muscle memory. To avoid these bad habits, I recommend taking an introductory kite lesson prior to purchasing a trainer. This will allow you to see how these trainers actually apply to the sport itself. Additionally, your instructor will be able to offer some advice on what to practice with the trainer kite before your next session.

During your first lesson you will likely learn about wind direction and strength. It is often a struggle for those who are new to wind-based sports to determine “true” wind direction and recognize subtle changes in the wind. The kite is very sensitive to wind direction and the wind’s true direction is the basis for all of the theory to follow.

Next you will likely learn to set up a kite, but first you will have to learn which size kite is appropriate. During an intro course, you will fly a kite much smaller than what you would normally fly but let’s say you were an avid kiter, how would you choose? There are a lot of factors that we normally consider, but for the purpose of our article, lets simplify it. The lighter the person, the smaller the kite, the less wind, the bigger the kite, the more wind, the smaller the kite. So, we have to factor the rider’s weight, skill level and current wind speed. Most kiters have two-to-three kite sizes to choose from and most kites have a wind range of five-to-eight knots and need a minimum of eight-to-ten knots to fly.

Setting up a kite is pretty straight forward but it deserves a visual tutorial. That said here are the basics. The kite itself will be inflated to about seven-psi or until it is rigid. Then the control bar/lines will be laid out. these lines are typically 20-to-25 meters in length. The lines will be separated, inspected and then attached to the kite using a lark’s head knot (also known as a cow hitch). Most kites use a four-line bar, meaning there are two front lines attached to the leading edge of the kite through a bridle and two back lines will be attached directly to the trailing edge wing tips.

Once the kite is set up, it will be time to cover the safety protocols and launch the kite.

Please stay tuned for next month’s article when we go airborne!

FORECAST BY: Jeremy Lund
Lead instructor and owner of New Wave Kiteboarding
Find us at Sailfish Marina in Stuart, FL
Telephone: (561) 633-9362