When you are learning to Kitesurf, it is much easier and safer, if your location has shallow water that is above your knee and below your waist. Also you must have a bare minimum of 2 kite line lengths of space downwind of the area that you are flying your kite. This is something that you should spend the majority of your time doing on your first lesson as kite control is THE most important skill to master in Kiteboarding or kitesurfing.

Shallow water means that you can stand up to easily practice your basic flying skills. Being able to stand up is safer because you are not constantly drifting downwind, away from where you started and towards any potential dangers. Remember that flying your kite or practicing board starts in water below the knee is highly dangerous as you could break an ankle or worse when you fall and hit the sea bed.

The key to basic flying of your kite so you are not pulled with power is to be gentle with your bar.

Use your fingertips to start with and move your kite slowly. You do not need to be strong. If you pull your bar too hard and your kite moves through the power zone, remember to…

 LET GO of your bar!

Every kite performs slightly differently so it is a good idea to get used to your kite, the conditions and the wind window by flying your kite through the no power zone where you can practice the following exercises that will help you to progress more quickly. 

  1. Practice holding your kite at 12. Other wise known as the stop position because your kite is not pulling
  2. Practice finding the best bar position otherwise known as the sweet spot by moving your bar in and out feeling the difference in the way the kite moves and pulls.
  3. Practice holding your kite at 10 and 2 as these are the riding positions.
  4. Practice moving your kite to the very edge of the wind window, to your extreme left or right and gently touching the kite on the surface of the water.
  5. Practice moving your kite very slowly, from 9 through to 12 then to 3 and back again.
  6. Practice letting go of your bar until it is natural.
  7. Practice relaunching your kite from the water.
  8. Practice holding your kite in one position without looking at it. 
  9. Practice flying your kite with one hand while standing still. 
This kite is just below 10, the rider is in water below the waist and above the knee and there are no dangers downwind within two kite line lengths. Note the beach here could be considered a danger also the water will get shallower the further forward she goes so this position is fine for static flying of the kite but NOT for body surfing or boardstarts as too close to the beach.

In more detail here are the reasons WHY it is so important to practice each of these skills…

  • Holding your kite at 12 is an essential skill in Kitesurfing. The trick is to only make small adjustments of your bar. If your kite moves slightly to your left then pull very gently to your right. The less you move your bar, the less your kite will move.
  • Finding the sweet spot is also an essential skill in Kitesurfing. You have to safely control your kite on the land but with no power so you don’t get pulled around. You also need to find the sweet spot so you can bring on the right amount of power to speed up and slow down when you are riding on the board. The trick is to pull your bar in just enough so you have control of the kite but you do not feel power. If you do feel power you must push the bar away a little, if you push the bar away too much then you will lose control of your kite. The sweet spot is very sensitive and moving your bar just a few centimetres can make a big difference.
  • Holding your kite at 10 or 2 is the essence of Kitesurfing. It is where you will keep your kite for the majority of your time on the water. The trick is the same as holding your kite at 12, only use small adjustments of your bar. If your kite is moving down, you need to pull on the opposite side of the bar to move it back up. If you are pulling on the opposite side of your bar and it is still moving down then you do not have the bar pulled in enough or you are not pulling on the ends of the bar, you are twisting it. 
  • 4 and 5. Practicing moving your kite from one edge of the window to the other will not only help improve your flying skills, it will also help you to see exactly where the wind window is as well as helping you to practice your turns for the future. The trick is to make sure that your kite moves over your head through 12, in the no power zone and to hold your kite with your fingertips and be extremely gentle when moving your bar. 
  • Letting go of your bar is like practicing using your safety system, you cannot practice this too much. Letting go will feel unnatural at first because it is a very human instinct to hold on. If you are not quick enough to let go, you risk being pulled with great force as well as potentially damaging your kite when it crashes. The trick is simply to practice letting go so it becomes natural and automatic.
  • You have to become an expert in relaunching your kite from the water in many different positions and conditions otherwise you will spend a lot of time in the water. The trick to water relaunching is to pull on one of the steering lines line, not the bar and to be gentle and patient. Study the section on water relaunching and be sure you are confident to water relaunch before you Kitesurf near deep water. 
  • Practicing holding your kite in one position without looking at it enables you to see where you are going and spot any dangers in front you as well as maintain your balance because your eyes are level with the horizon. One of the most common reasons why people who are learning to Kitesurf take longer than normal is because they are staring at their kite too much. The trick to flying your kite without looking at it, is looking at your lines in front of you. If your lines are pointing to 1 then your kite is at 1. If your lines are pointing to 11 then your kite is at 11 and so on. It is also important to know that you have to look at your kite if you are moving it aggressively.

Flying your kite with one hand

Flying your kite with one hand is important to learn as there are many times when you will need to have control of your kite with only one hand. 

Launching your kite, walking with your kite while holding your board, putting your board on and recovering your board in deep water all require you to fly your kite with one hand. 

  • Know that you have half the control when you are using one hand, therefor only move your kite slowly.
  • Keep your bar level with the horizon and don’t twist it. 
  • If your kite is on your right, take your right hand off the bar and use your left hand.
  • If your kite is on your left take your left hand off the bar and use your right hand.
  • Place your hand next to the centre lines not over them.
  • Simply pulling your bar in towards you will make your kite move up.
  • Simply pushing your bar away will make your kite move down
  • You do not need to use any strength to fly your kite with one hand.
  • Know that it is almost impossible to fly your kite on your right using your right hand. 

Basic flying of your Kitesurfing kite made simple

  1. Practice basic flying in water above your knee and below your waist so you can stand up and do not drift downwind.
  2. Be gentle with the bar, you can control your kite using your fingertips.
  3. Pull the bar in for control, push the bar away for less power and let go when you crash your kite.

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