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What to Expect When Learning How to Kitesurf

By Slickrock Adventures on August 17, 2017

Learning to kitesurf

If you’re looking for the next outdoor activity to get your blood racing and heart pounding, look no further than kitesurfing. Also referred to as kiteboarding, it harnesses the power of the elements as the wind pulls your kite, allowing you to power along the waves. Plus, there’s the added bonus of spending your resting time, sitting on some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.

It may sound slightly overwhelming and perhaps you might question if you can do it, but the good news is that anyone can kitesurf. You don’t have to be the next top physique model to partake, quite the contrary. As long as you are mobile, you will be able to learn, no matter if you’re 16 or 60.

Kitesurfing Training

kiteboard training
Unlike some sports or activities where you can work things out through basic trial and error, to learn kitesurfing, you’ll need good professional instruction. Not only is this for your own safety, but also that of other members of the public. It can be a wild ride if you don’t know how to handle a kite properly.

With all that said, the main question is what can you expect when learning how to kitesurf? There’s plenty of new jargon that you’ll discover, ideas and responsibilities that will offer fresh insight into how you participate, but read on and you’ll discover it can be smooth sailing… or rather surfing as you dip your toes into the world of kiteboarding.

First, find yourself an IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) certified instructor. Training is broken into three parts each combining theory and practical elements.

Training-Controlling the Kite

Trainer kite
This takes place on land, involving both theory and practical elements.

It’s all about determining how the wind works and various weather patterns in conjunction with how to launch and fly the kite. You’ll start with a smaller trainer kite which is a replica of the larger models. After playing around with the trainer kite in light winds, you’ll get the “feel” of the wind and how to control it. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

Training-Entering the Water

kiteboard water entry
Moving on, the intermediate course again follows with some theory and some beach work, but mostly practical activity takes place in the water whereby you will learn how to safely enter and exit the sea whilst controlling a kite. Also included is a further in-depth look at choosing the correct equipment (more on that later).

Training-Controlling the Board

kitesurf board control
Finally, the ultimate stage is mainly centered around controlling the board and your riding skills. This is where you’ll learn how to be consistent in riding both directions, changing course without stopping and riding with other people around.

There’s a pretty steep learning curve at first, and it can be frustrating when starting out… (If you’ve wakeboarded before, you’ll find it much easier) but perseverance and good instruction will see you fast becoming one of the many who can proficiently take part in this fun sport.

Where to Kitesurf

Where in the world are the best beaches to take part in kitesurfing? As the sport expands in popularity, so too are the surf spots where you can enjoy it.

Here are some of the best kite spots for beginners and experienced riders alike.


Le Morne, Mauritius

Wind in abundance, Mauritius has a jaw dropping landscapes that will perfectly compliment your kitesurfing participation.

kitesurf egypt

Nabq Bay, Egypt

A beach town that has a plot of the sea protected by reefs, this means tides barely effect the area making this a fun destination that will give you plenty of time to enjoy kiteboarding.

kitesurf maui

Maui, Hawaii

Arguably the most well known destination for kitesurfing, Kite Beach in particular has it all when it comes to this sport. Steady winds, clean and warm water and packed with some of the best instructors in the world, this is a must visit location.

kiteboarding in spain

Tarifa, Spain

One of Europe’s top destinations for kiteboarding and for good reason; it has roughly 300 days of sun per year. The Strait of Gibraltor creates a wind tunnel which allows for consistent conditions all year around.

Kiteboarding Gear

Your local kitesurf shop will give you the best advice but here are some pointers.

Kite size
You’ll want to untimately own more than one kite so you can take advantage of different wind strengths. A 12 sqm kite is usually better for lighter wind and heavier riders and a 7 sqm kite is good for stronger wind or lighter riders. This will definitely depend on your location and wind speed.

Harness Type
There are two types of harnesses; a waist harness and a seat harness.

The seat harness is better for beginners as it provides butt support when the kite is pulling you up vertically. On the other hand, you may want the freedom of a waist harness which doesn’t feel like a giant nappy.

Board Type and Size
There are Twin-Tip boards which can go both left and right (without changing feet position) and there’s the surfboard style for wave riding. Beginners, who also haven’t surfed before, should start with a Twin-Tip board.

Other Gear
There are a few other considerations like wetsuits, helmets, pumps, lines, bar, kite shape etc. but your local kiteshop and instructors will give you the full spectrum of pros and cons of each.

A Last Word

Clearly this is a great sport to get into, with costs of equipment ranging from $1000 to $3000 it won’t be a cheap investment, but certainly one that is worthwhile if you are interested in extreme sports and staying active in the water. Combined with all of the exotic locations you’ll visit as you seek out the best beaches to kiteboard, you’re sure to have an incredible time!

My name is Bianca.

I live in Big Bay, South Africa. A kiteboarding paradise. I’ve been kiting for about 5 years and visited countries like Turkey, Mauritius and Thailand on kitesurfing holidays. Our whole family loves the water and we’re always looking for new ways to enjoy the waves. Kitesurfing is the perfect sport for anyone looking for a safe adrenaline rush that brings you closer to nature. I really hope you enjoyed this article and that you also get to enjoy this wonderful feeling of skimming over the blue water with the wind pulling you along at no charge.