What youth kiteboarders need to know to get started

Kiteboarding on the Treasure Coast. PHOTO CREDIT: New Wave Kiteboarding.
Kiteboarding on the Treasure Coast. PHOTO CREDIT: New Wave Kiteboarding.

Kiteboarding is being transformed by our youth. As the sport becomes more accessible and grows in popularity, more parents are supporting their kids in this great sport.

I am often asked “What is the age limit for kiteboarding?” To answer that question, there is no set minimum age. The most important attribute necessary to becoming a successful young kiteboarder is maturity. However, I also recommend that children be at least 75 pounds for added safety. I have instructed children weighing as little as 55 pounds but it requires special circumstances where specific equipment is used along with ideal weather conditions. When instructing children, I strongly emphasize that they understand and respect that kiteboarding is an extreme sport and there are risks involved. In addition, it is important for them to maintain a relaxed attitude when potential stressful situations occur. Kids looking to begin kiteboarding instruction lessons should be very comfortable in the water, have strong swimming abilities and a respectful understanding of ocean dangers such as waves and currents.

The sport is growing rapidly allowing greater funding by sponsors for events and competitions. The future for these young competitors looks great. This enables young kiteboarders to compete in groups such as racing, freestyle, big air and more.

My favorite part about teaching children is that they learn extremely fast. Sometimes I even have to alter my pace to slow them down. Some of my young students between the ages of 10 and 12 have actually become sponsored riders in less than two years. The combination of flexibly, fearlessness and their ability to learn motor skills gives them a strong advantage.

Teaching children requires a specialized approach. I suggest students start with a half day intro from a professional with previous experience teaching kids. This half day should be enough for them to get a strong taste of the sport and see if they are interested in continuing instruction. New wave kiteboarding provides a kids tailored half day hands-on approach lesson to give a general overview of the entire sport with a major focus on safety and dealing with potential undesired situations.

Our biggest challenge for the youth is accessibility at a young age. Kiteboarding can be very expensive and the initial investment in equipment can be large. It is important for the parents of young kiteboarders to be supportive and stay involved in helping them purchase equipment and travel to kiting destinations.

Kiteboarding also teaches great discipline and focus and is a sport that will keep children healthy and fit. Kiteboarding is a very rewarding sport and once your child has mastered his/her skills, it is truly amazing to watch them fly on the water and having the time of their life.