Q: How do I get started kiteboarding?
A: Take a lesson (see below), or at LEAST get a good $32 training
video AND a $120 trainer kite & then make sure your first full-size
kite isn’t too big (see below).
Explanation: It’s easiest if you gain kite skill before getting
on a board.
Q: Is it hard to learn?
E: It’s actually easier to learn than boardsailing (although
you can’t get on the board right away), IF you get lots of
kite practice before getting on a board.
Q: Is it hard to learn to ride back upwind to where I launched?
Will I often have to swim back when I can’t launch the kite
on the water?
E: With sufficient kite practice first, & informed gear choices,
you’ll probably never need to swim (especially since the wind
blows you back to the beach here in Southern California), &
you likely won’t have to walk upwind more than about a half
Q: Is it dangerous?
A: Not as long as you exercise good judgment.
E: Just BE CAREFUL, get lessons, & use the right gear. A famous
kiteboarder once put it very well: “It’s (only) as dangerous
as you want to make it”. Like riding a bike: On a bike path
with a helmet, your fine. Just don’t go the wrong way on a
1-way street at rush hour after dark in the rain with no helmet!
Q: Won’t I get cut by my lines? Wouldn’t somebody
else get cut by my kite or lines?
A: Not as long as you exercise good judgment.
E: Just BE CAREFUL, & use the right gear & technique. With
a proper safety release (supplied with any good kite), once you
let go of the bar, the kite has nearly no power, so the lines are
not under enough tension to cut.
Q: Do I need somebody to assist me launching & landing
the kite or board?
E: It helps (especially at first), but is no more necessary than
help zipping your own wetsuit, or pulling a mast out of a sailboard
Q: What if I let go of the bar? Won’t I lose the kite?
E: With the right gear (any good kite) there is a leash attached
to your body, which de-powers the kite.
Q: How much gear do I need to cover a broad range of conditions?
A: Very little.
E: With the right board & kite you can cover more than a 15
knot wind range. Your gear flies for free, since you can even fit
2 or 3 kites & boards in a bag marked “golf”. You
get more light wind range (than a sailboard) by moving the kite
around in the air to create more power, & because the wind is
stronger higher up. You get more high wind range (than a sailboard)
by raking the rig further to windward (flying the kite higher) without
being limited by your body hitting the water.
Q: What size gear should I buy?
A: If you’re around 160-190 pounds, a standard modern inflatable
around 11-13m* and a standard modern bi-directional board around
140cm or a directional board around 5.5’ is good from around
8 to 20 knots (typical Southern California conditions).
E: *The size may seem big, but without even completely deflating
it still packs up into a sailboard quiver bag, with plenty of room
to spare. Go up one board AND kite size if you’re over 190
or riding at a lighter wind location (& go down if you’re
Q: What will it cost?
A: Top quality complete new gear packages range from around $1500
E: You’ll get a discount if you buy the board & kite together,
half of lesson fees may apply, etc.
Q: Is the gear fragile?
E: Unlike a sailboard sail, you can actually walk carefully barefoot
on the kite (on sand, grass or carpet) without damaging it. Even
the most “fragile” epoxy boards are as strong as sailboards,
& are much more durable than surfboards.
|Q: Do I need to get a 2-line kite first, even
though I'll want a 4-line later? Do I have to learn on gear I’ll
E: If you get the right gear & instruction, you can learn on the
same 4-line kite you'll end up keeping.
Q: What other equipment will I need?
A. Not much.
E. Wetsuit & harness. Options include board leash, helmet, eyewear,
booties, gloves, PFD, boardbag, etc.
Q: Where can I take lessons?
A: Captain Kirk’s!
E: We teach at Long Beach, & at La Ventana, Baja. You can also
get instruction in the Gorge, & Maui, but it’s actually
harder to learn there because the smaller kites required in their
stronger winds are more responsive to any poor control movements you
Q: How much are lessons?
A: As little as $179 for the first 3 hour lesson, including gear [trainer
kites and kiteboarding kites] IF you bring a couple of friends with
E: It’s best to take a 3-pack, because the first lesson is only
on land, you’ll only be barely getting in the water by the end
of the 2nd lesson, and it’s half price for the 3rd lesson (getting
up on the board). E-mail us for a copy of the lesson program, complete
with group discounts. 50% of the lesson fees apply towards the MSRP
of a new kite/board package at the shop (except the super-inexpensive
Royal kites, and Best Waroo & Bularoo kites).
Q: I’ve been told I need to use a trainer kite first,
to learn, is that true?
A: No, but it helps a lot.
E: The new B2 flies more like a full-sized kite, so you learn more
with it than with smaller traditional trainers. We provide one for
your first lesson, but you’ll get much more benefit from your
lessons if you have your own kite & video to use first (AND between
the lessons too).
Q: Do I need to know how to surf, windsurf, or wakeboard first?
E: Any will help a little (as will snowboarding, waterskiing, etc.),
but the board skills required are minimal. It’s all in the kite,
so normal multi-line kite-flying skills help a lot, which is why the
trainer kite is so important.
Q: Does it take a long time to get good?
E: After only about a dozen sessions you’ll likely be jumping.
Q: Do I need to be strong?
E: It’s actually much better to use finesse instead of strength.
As you practice with just the kite, you’ll gain this finesse,
as well as strength (as your muscles build).
Q: Can I plane in lighter wind than a sailboard? Can I jump
in lighter wind than a sailboard?
E: Just like boardsailing, it depends on the size of your gear. However,
a HUGE kiteboard is still under 6’, but you don’t really
need a bigger board for a bigger, heavier kite (even a 20 meter!)
since it’s always lifting up.
Q: Where can I go?
A: Nearly any beach.
E: In Southern California, Long Beach (Belmont Shore, Cat Beach) is
the best, but if you live or work closer to another beach, you can
go right there*. Strong wind (boardsailing) areas such as Cabrillo
Beach, Lake Isabella (or even The Gorge) are often LESS desirable,
since the wind can be very gusty, & the water is often crowded
*Once you get good at staying upwind you can just body-drag upwind
through the surf.
Q: What is the season for kiteboarding in SoCal?
E: At around 160-180 with a 15m+ kite & 179 bi-directional or
6’surf board, you can ride nearly as much in a normal winter
as the summer.
Q: Where can I kite in warm water in the winter?
A: La Ventana, Baja.
E: In winter it’s the most consistently windy spot anywhere,