Kiteboarding / Kitesurfing FAQ's Page
The most Frequently Asked Questions about Kiteboarding and Kitesurfing
1. What is Kiteboarding? Kitesurfing? What's the difference?
Kiteboarding is the ultimate water sport. The speed of water-skiing, the tricks of wakeboarding, the carving turns of surfing, the quiet freedom of sailing, and the jumping and flying that out does them all.
Some people call it Kiteboarding, others called it kitesurfing.
The words are pretty much used interchangeably.
Other Names for the sport.
Wave-kiting: This term generally refers to people kiting with Surfboards.
Kite-Skimming: Kiting with your skimboard. No footstraps, and No fins!
The first time I held onto a one of those monster kites I was instantly hooked, and that was just standing on the beach! Holding onto the power of a kite that big, while watching it float 90 feet above my head was all it took.
Kiteboarding has all the ingredients to maximize the fun-factor.
The gear is simple and compact.
The kite easily folds up to fit into a back pack.
The board is light weight and fits under one arm.
A Harness around your waist, and
a Carbon Control Bar with lines completes the set up.
Ride in light or strong winds,
flat water or waves.
Insane aerial maneuvers or just cruising.
All of this combined with a relatively short learning curve equal "Huge Fun"!!!
2. Where can I ride?
Kiteboarding can be done in all types of areas.
Most Kiteboarders ride in the Ocean, or bays. Others kite in large lakes or rivers.
3. Looks like fun but... I don't live near the water?
I think there's a question in there.
No water... No problem!
Whether you live far from the water. or just prefer to keep dry? You can go kiting on the Grass, Dirt, Sand, or Snow.
Kite with a Mountainboard. called "Kite-Landboarding"
Or ride with your snowboard or skis... "Snow-kiting"
The options are only limited to your imagination.
skateboard, Ice skates, 3 wheeled buggy, or even roller blades.
4. How much wind is needed?
The short answer is 10 knots and up, although it's more fun with more wind.
When you see the photos of people doing big floaty jumps, they are normally in winds of 15 knots or more.
Yes.. it's possible to kite in less than 10 knots ( 8-9 knots or so ) but it requires more skills and can be frustrating. Once the wind gets to steady 12 knots, life is good!
The steadier the wind the better.
5. Is Kiteboarding Dangerous? Why is it considered an Extreme Sport?
YES. It's true, Kiteboarding "can be" very dangerous.
and at the same time if approached with respect the risks can be minimized.
Kites large enough to pull you across the water also have enough power to pull you up vertically. When a kite is held in a steady position it's like a motorcycle revving it motor
with the clutch pulled it. When you quickly move the kite from one position to another
the amount of power generated can be enormous. Much like revving a 1000 cc bike, and
then popping the clutch. Once second its docile, the next ferocious. Anytime you connect yourself to that kind of potential power there are going to be risks.
Begin with a Trainer kite and master your basic kite skills before moving up to a larger kite more powerful kite. Take a lesson, get gear that has current safety features, learn how it all works, and Think before you fly.
6. What Gear do I need?
You'll need 4 things:
Bar with lines
The above are the only things you "need"
You may also "want" to get:
Kiter Sunglasses: I personally ride wearing contact lenses and sunglasses.
Hook knife: to cut lines should it become necessary.
Wetsuit: for cold water or air temps.
Booties: to protect your feet
Life vest or Impact vest
7. How Much will it all Cost?
The total price is dependant on the type of kite, kite size, brand, year, board type and
Here are a few examples.
For the Water:
$879. 9.5m Inflatable Kite
$399. Carbon control bar with 4 lines and safety leash
$449. Beginner to intermediate level Twin-Tip Board
$149.. Harness complete with Stainless Steel Spreader Bar
$1650 - $1750. USD is a realistic price for a Complete Kiteboarding package
with new 2011 / 2012 gear.
Can I find a package for less?
Maybe... but it's not very realistic to spend less much below $1600, unless you're a feather weight, or riding to an area with very strong winds in which you'll need a tiny kite.
When you see a package advertised for less than $1600. you'll need to look closely to figure out why.
For the Sand, Grass, or Dirt
Packages for land based kite sports like
Kite-landboarding or Snow-Kiting are approximately half the price compared to gear packages for the water.
$300 to $600 Kite complete with bar and lines
$300 for a nice mountain board ( aka Landboard )
$750. Realistic price for a Complete Landboarding package.
For the Snow
Most people getting into snow-kiting will already have a snow-board or snow-skis,
so you'll only need to buy a kite and a harness
Your price will be very similar to a Landboard package.. You may not need to buy a board, but you'll likely be wanting a larger more powerful "sheet-able kite".
8. Can " I " learn kiteboarding?
"I'm only 10 years old!"
"I'm over 55!"
"I'm only 90 lbs and don't have much upper body strength"
"I weigh 250"
"I've never surfed."
" Can I do this? "
Yes Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes!
Yes you Can!
Your age, weight, or past experiences are none-excuses.
As long as have the desire to learn, and are willing to follow our recommendations then all I can say is
"Welcome to the sport!" Lets get started!
9. What about girls?
Way back in Sept 2002, we conducted our first "girls kite clinic" in Cocoa Beach, FL.
We covered it all. Theory, Trainer kite flying on the Beach, Safety, Body dragging, relaunching and even boat launching. Even though we had to deal with very light winds, The girls were all up on the board. A total success.
What about girls? The more the better! There are many of ladies who kiteboard, and we would
all love to see a lot more! :) In general I've found that ladies learn faster than men! ... sorry guys.
Ladies are naturally more attentive, and cautious. They pay close attention to the words of their instructor and it shows. Where strength is lacking, a girls skill and finesse can level the field.
10. Ok already! I'm sold! Where do I begin? How do I get started?
Think about it for a moment... Kiteboarding, "Kite" and "Boarding".
The first part is "Kite" , and the second part is "Boarding"
The place to begin is to learn and then master your "Kite Skills".
If you haven't already done so... order a "Trainer Kite", and then practice all of the exercises shown on the included DVD, and explained on our "How-To" page. Beginning with a trainer kite is the smartest thing you can do if you are serious about learning to kiteboard. The same applies to people who want to learn to ride on the water, sand, or snow.
kite skills are very similar to learning to drive a 5-speed. Its NOT difficult, but it does take some time until the basic movement becomes instinctive. Making mistakes while flying a "trainer kite"... NO Problem. But make the same mistake on a BIG KITE and you WILL pay the consequences!
Almost everyone entering this sport seriously underestimates the Torque a big kite can produce. I don't want you to bust a collar bone on your first day out, but that isn't even my biggest concern! The real concern are unskilled kiters putting innocent spectators at risk.
We ALL lose when one accident gets our sport banned from a local beach.
Yup... It's already happened in more than one location.
Kiteboarding "CAN" be VERY dangerous. One minute your standing on the beach and in the blink of a eye you're being lifted off the ground and into a tree.
Take the time to learn and master the kite skills. Later take a lesson and you'll be ripping in no time, going huge, and loving life!
GOT IT? .... GOOD!
You can buy a trainer kite from us, or you can buy one somewhere else.
Either way, get one, and practice. Average price $200. and worth every penny.
With a trainer kite you will...
- Save money on lessons. You'll learn faster and easier.
- Save money on Repair bills. Make your mistakes on a trainer, not on more costly Big kite.
- Save money on Emergency room bills. Broken ribs, collar bone, arms, etc.
- Save our sport from needless bans.
- Save you time by learning faster.
Even though flying a trainer kite can never "guarantee" these things, they go a long
way to help you better understand kites and make controlling your kite instinctive,
thus help to prevent many mishaps.
11. Do I need to have Board skills before learning to kiteboard?
Learning or tuning up your board skills prior to learning kite-boarding is a smart move, and will allow you to learn and progress faster. If you are planning to ride on the water, get out and practice wakeboarding behind a boat, waverunner, or at a "cable park". Wakeboarding practice is by far the best way to develop kiteboarding board skills because the boards and stance are so similar.
Any type of board skills would be helpful. Surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, skimboarding, sailboarding (windsurfing ). But... Wakeboarding practice is the best way to get prepared.
Be sure to practice riding with your "other foot" in the forward position!
We all have a dominant stance. Some of us are naturally more comfortable with the left foot forward ( called "Regular" footed ), and others, like me, are more comfortable with their right foot forward. ( call "goofy" footed ).
When you kiteboard on the water, you initially be spending 50% of the time riding with either foot forward. Yup... It's awkward in the beginning, and even more reason to practice the other stance before stepping into kiteboarding.
12. Do I need to take lessons?
For kite-Landboarding... taking a lesson would be a good idea, but I wouldn't say its a necessity if you're using a small kite.
For Snow-Kiting.. the slippery surface adds risk. You'll need to be confident with your ability to depower, release the kite, and self arrest, before your head meets a tree.
Snow-kite lessons are recommended.
For kiteboarding ( on the water ), YES, There is No way around it, you need to take lessons. Using any type of power kite can be dangerous, but when you add water the rules change fast! Kiteboarding on the water is NOT just about balancing on the board.
There is a lot to learn..
Rigging, Checking, launching, landing, tuning, sheet control, self-rescue, body dragging both downwind and upwind, board retrieval, +++++
13. What's the best brand to buy?
There are many excellent brands and models on the market to choose from.
If anyone ever tells you that a particular brand is the "Only brand to buy" , just smile and say
"ok.., thank you.., bye bye."
The fact is that ANY BRAND that puts a smile on YOUR face is a good brand.
At kitemare, we don't care what brand you buy or even where you buy it! Seriously, as long as you're happy, we're happy for you and "sharing your stoke!".
For sure, after more than 9 years in the business, we have brands that we prefer after considering: Safety, Quality, Price, Performance, Guarantee/Warrantee, and manufacturer support.
In short, there is no 1 best brand or model, only the best one for YOU.
14. Where's the best place to shop / buy?
Any place that..
has solid experience and and knowledge about kiteboarding.
takes the time to answer all of your questions.
provides Outstanding customer service.
Keeps the focus on YOUR needs rather than their own.
Leaves you feeling good knowing you helped out a place that is dedicated to helping you.
"....just so you know, the personal service does
actually make a difference.
When it comes to buying kiting gear in the future kitemare.com will be my
vendor of choice! Thanks for making everything so easy." -Robb Dies
15. Is it better to buy new or used gear?
For trainer kites...
Out of the 1,000's of 2.5m to 3m trainers sold, you'll soon find that its amazingly difficult to even find a used one! Strange but true! Everyone who has one wants to keep them.
For full size kites..
It depends. Sometimes you can find a friend that updates their kite quiver every season and then sells their old kites that are less than a year old and still in good condition.
Sometimes the price of a new kite is very close to the price of a used kite or close enough that you don't want to take any chances with gear than may not have been taken care of.
Kiteboarding is still a young sport and with each new season the kites become safer, more stable, and easier to relaunch and control.
For boards and harnesses...
We think used boards can be a huge value. Boards are very durable and the older boards still work great. Harnesses generally last a long time as well. It depends on the price, your budget and your personal preferences.
For me, I only like to ride new kites, for boards.. if I try a friends board and like it, I would would buy their used board without hesitation.
16. I'm already a Wakeboarder, Windsurfer, Snowboarder, Surfer, Skateboarder ...
Why bother with a kite?
Too windy? Water too choppy? Expensive fuel costs?
Wanna rip... withOUT a boat?
Wanna boost big jumps that exceed what you can even do with a giant pylon and
For the price of one ski boat, you can buy kiteboarding gear for
yourself and 20 of your friends! Gasoline is expensive but the wind is Free!
The wake skills you've acquired already make you "1/2" a kiteboarder.
Get a trainer kite, take a short lesson... and prepare for lift off.
Tired of sitting on the beach waiting for more wind?
That was me, windsurfing since 1983 and only really only having fun when the wind was
20 knots or more. Even on those days, the wind and wave angles rarely aligned to produce decent conditions for big jumps or wave riding.
And the gear.... 2 masts, 4 sails, 2 booms, boom bra, mast feet,
mast extensions, battens, A fin quiver, slalom board, wave board, light wind
board, WAY... to much gear. A major pain to travel with.
Now consider 2 kites and one board. Fully ripping in 12 knots, big jumps on FLAT water,
total 360 degree visibility and great "up-wind-ability".
After 17 years of windsurfing I sold all my gear! Ok, I'll admit, I'd still like to catch a session or two on a windsurfer, just to be sure I can still throw a forward loop. On a windsurfer its work just to chop hop a couple of feet on flat water when in the same conditions kiteboarders are boosting 10-20 foot airs.
Kiteboarding is not windsurfing. The board skills are very different.
Windsurfers ride with their board flat on the water while "loading the fin".
When kiteboarding... you'll need to edge on your heel-side rail.
The trimming of a sail is not the same as moving a kite to generate power.
If you come from a windsurfing background, heres a a bit of advice.....
Get out and practice riding a wakeboard or snowboard learn the needed board/ edging
skills and practice with a trainer kite just like everyone else.
Do these 2 things and you'll gain a HUGE advantage when learning to kite!
SNOW-BOARDERS: Wanna ride without a lift ticket? Find a big open field
covered in snow, a bit of wind, a kite and go! On the mountain,
you rely on gravity. With a kite, all you need is wind and snow, the options
are endless. Go big on the flats, and even snow-up Up-hill.
SURFERS: "Surfing is and has always been the king of watersports" no argument there!
but how much time do you actually spend "Surfing" I mean "up and riding" on the board
compared the time you spend paddling, duck-diving, waiting, and fighting for your wave?
With a kite, the action is endless, no paddling out, no endless waiting,
or fighting for the peak. Just high speed ripping, boosting fat airs, and YES down the line
Kites allow you to easily position yourself in front of the lip, escape from a closeout,
connect wave after wave, fly back out to the line-up, and and turn boring mushy
blown out days into an epic day.
For sure, Paddle out for those windless, glassy sessions, but when the wind
picks up grab your kite.
SKATE-BOARDERS / MOUNTAIN-BOARDERS
No worries.... were not leaving you out!
Mountain Boards ( what kiters now call Landboards ) with their big inflated tires work great on hard packed sand, dirt, and grass.
No need for hills or man made terrain. Just an open field, or beach. Grab your board,
add the power of a kite, and cruise, or fly, the option is yours.
Hey skimmer, you've earned my respect! Skimming is not as easy as it looks, and it can be painful constantly slamming the ground in shallow water.
(Yup, Plenty of black & Blue marks here)
Which of these sounds better to you?
"Run > Drop > Slide > Stop " or "Power-up > Hop > Slide > Endless Ride! "
Wake, surf, skim, sand, dirt & snow.... kites are going off everywhere!
At KITEMARE, we're serious about kiteboarding. (no posers here)
Have questions? Contact Us via Email, Skype, or by phone. Be SURE to leave a message,
There is a good chance we're assisting another customer, teaching, testing gear, or just Riding!
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