How to Kite Surf

Kitesurfing.  What is kitesurfing?  Can I learn to how to kite surf?  Is it a sport that combines the ballet of kite flying with the poetry of surfing?  Well sort of, but kitesurfing is so much more!

Kitesurfing is a sport which can be learned relatively easy by every active and willing person. Anyone can learn how to kite surf, and no one is too young or old for this sport!  The kites have become much safer in the last few years. Kitesurfing has changed from an extreme sport to a sport for the masses.  Let me break it down for you.  The first thing to know about kitesurfing is that it’s actually a specific style of kiteboarding.  Kiteboarding is a surface water sport that brings together elements of snowboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, skateboarding, and gymnastics.  The kiteboard used is similar in size to a wakeboard, that the kite boarder is strapped to it with bindings.  The kite boarder uses the energy of the wind to power the kite in certain directions.  To learn the basics of kitesurfing you need, on average, three to five days and then a few more days to strengthen and practice what you have learned, that will have you flying across the water on your board.

How Do I Learn To Kiteboard?
  1.  Learn to fly a two line / four line kite. No matter how strong your board skills are, they are useless until you learn how to fly a kite. Trainer kites are small two line / four line kites which allow you to practice the basic flying skills necessary to kiteboard, without investing in or damaging a full size kiteboarding kite. Buy or rent a trainer and spend 4-10 hours flying the kite prior to your next step.
  2. Take a lesson. Kiteboarding isn’t something you can pick up in a afternoon using a friend’s kite. There are specific skills you must learn prior to even getting the kite off the ground or in the water.
  3. Buy kiteboarding gear.
A Trainer Kite?

One of the first things I recommend for people considering trying the sport of kite surfing is to invest in a trainer kite. They range in price from $80 for a basic model to $300 for more specialized kites, and in turn end up saving you time, money, and from damaged equipment. First, a trainer kite allows you to get a brief glimpse at kitesurfing before taking the costly plunge. When you first start, kiteboarding is going to be roughly 70 to 80 percent dependent on your ability to control the kite.  A trainer kite will also give you a huge advantage going into lessons.  You won’t spend money getting familiar with a trainer kite.  You can do that before the lessons.

Equipment Needed for Kitesurfing
  1. Kiteboarding Kite – Generally speaking, a kiteboard kite is a large kite with the ability to re-launch off the water and generate enough pull to plane you out on a board. Sizes vary from 4 meters to 19 meters. When looking for gear, make sure to buy a complete kite which will include the lines, bar, safety systems, pump and carrying bag. A knowledgeable kiteboarding shop will help you get the right sized kite for your weight and conditions.
  2. Kiteboard – Though similar in look to a wakeboard, a kiteboard is shaped much differently and uses foot straps instead of boots for most riders. Start with a larger board when beginning the process of learning to kiteboard.
  3. Harness – The kitesurfing harness is often the most overlooked piece of equipment in a kiteboarding gear package. Remember that your harness is directly connected to your body. If it does not fit well, you will always know it. There are 2 basic types of harnesses – the seat harness and waist harness.
  4. Wetsuit/gloves/booties – This all depends on air/water temperatures.  If you kite in 80 degree water, there is not much to worry about, but if you kite in 50 degree water, even if the air temperature is 80 degrees you can have hypothermia in 15 minutes.
  5. Eye Protection (optional) – If you ride often in strong sunlight good eye wear will save the day.
  6. Sunscreen – More is better. Don’t wreck your session or vacation by forgetting sunscreen.  Get your sunscreen here.
HQ Fluxx 2.2M Trainer Kite

The HQ Fluxx 2.2M Trainer Kite – Affordable Quality Kiteboarding Foil Trainer Kite by Premium brand HQ Power Kites.  The HQ Fluxx has been designed with functionality, ease of use and an affordable price point in mind. Whether you are looking for a trainer kite or just a fun foil to enjoy, the HQ Fluxx offers smooth and precise flying characteristics. Shape and bridle of the Fluxx allow an easy relaunch after a crash without assistance.

Purchase Now: HQ Fluxx 2.2M Trainer Kite TR plus Kiteboarding DVD Bundle (4 items) Includes ‘The Way To Fly’ Beginner Kitesurfing Instructional DVD + WindBone Kite Lifestyle Decals + WindBone Key Chain : Foil Power

Prism Tensor 5.0 Power Foil Kite

The Prism Tensor 5.0 is an amazingly versatile wing for land-based power kiting and all-around fun. The 5.0 is the largest of the Tensor power kites, with the stump-pulling power to get you up and going on snow or in lighter winds where a smaller kite just won’t get it done. It will fly easily in 5 mph+ winds, and really pull hard in 12+, great for larger pilots, and light wind areas.

Purchase Now: Prism Tensor 5.0 Power Foil Kite (Silver) 3-Line Control Bar Traction Trainer Bundle: Includes FREE 2ND Kite : HQ Symphony Beach II 1.3M Foil Kite + Prism Kite Repair Kit + WBK Kiteboarding Key Fob Accessory Snow Traction

Ocean Rodeo Origin 3.0 Kiteboard

The Origin is an agile, practical twinny built around a superior shape with swept 33cm tips giving it a prime progression template.  Recognizing that many riders rack up a lot of kiteboarding hours in choppy water, we developed the Origin to track, grip, go easy on the knees, shoot upwind and load up for a big boost in ‘real world’ conditions.

Purchase Now: Ocean Rodeo Origin 3.0 Kiteboard, 142cm x 42cm (Gen 3.0, Green/Black)

Thurso Surf Kiteboard

The Aero Progression takes the popular design and construction of the Aero into a super easy and comfortable board to start and continues your kiteboarding progression Full light woodcore and Kevlar strip made this twin tip board light and stronger giving this board a smoother and livelier ride. Include fins, handle and footstrip.

Purchase Now: THURSO SURF Kiteboard 140X42 BLACK&BLUE

2016 Ocean Rodeo Session Harness

Specifically designed for kiteboarding.  No line snag points, all buckles are hidden.  Removable leg straps, ride on seat or waist!  Incredible comfort and support with molded PVC inner lining.  Handle pass leash safety release and hook knife.

Purchase Now: Ocean Rodeo Session Harness

Mystic Warrior Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Waist Harness Bundle

2016 Mystic Warrior Waist Harness – The Mystic Warrior is the #1 Best selling harness of all time for good reason, hands down the most functional, most durable, and most comfortable harness available that does not ride up due to exclusive spreader down strap system -and the Warrior is now available in its latest 2016 Model Version.

Purchase Now: 2016 Mystic Warrior Kitesurfing Kiteboarding Waist Harness Bundle

Men’s Front-Zip Long Jumpsuit Bahia Man by Cressi

Wetsuit for diving in warm seas and for snorkeling.  Ideal for water sports thanks to its utmost freedom of movement.  Made in double lined neoprene (2.5 mm thick).  Wrist, ankle and neck watertight muffs and front, waterproof zip for ease of wearing/taking off.

Purchase Now: Men’s Front-Zip Long Jumpsuit 2.5mm | BAHIA MAN by Cressi: quality since 1946

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

The Onyx Outdoor Movevent Torsion Vest comes in Orange and Aqua. This vest fits your body like a glove, yet innovative vented channels help keep you cool during movements. SOLAS grade reflective material gives better visibility. The sculpted and flexible design conforms to you and stays in place. Shoulder adjustments are made with neoprene comfort pads. The vest has an adjustable side belt; strong durable zipper closures; and a zip assist loop at the zipper base to keep the vest in place when you need it.

Purchase Now: ONYX MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest, Medium/Large, Yellow

Mystic 2017 2mm Regular Kitesurfing Glove

Mystic 2mm Regular Kitesurfing Glove Features GBS (Glued Bind Stitched) Extended cuff length Fabrics M-Flex (50%) Soft touch neoprene (50%).

Purchase Now: Mystic 2017 2mm Regular Kitesurfing Glove Black/Grey 170155 Size – – Large

SeaSpecs Extreme Sports Sunglasses

SeaSpecs Copper Blaze Extreme Sea Specs Sunglasses SeaSpecs are extreme sports sunglasses for kiteboarding, Surfing, Jet skiing, Windsurfing, Snowboarding and other extreme sports. SeaSpecs incorporates an adjustable non-removable strap that is comfortable, secure and easily adjustable with one hand.

Purchase Now: SeaSpecs Extreme Sports Sunglasses Copper Blaze

30 Comments

  1. Aj

    This is a great layout for a website. I didn’t even know kite boarding was a thing! I like how you have all the things you need layed out. I am a little curious on the eye wear part. Is it like carpentry where you’re supposed to wear eye protection but some people don’t or is it more casual?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes it is! Eye protection from the sun is essential. You can ruin yours eyes actually by not protecting them, not to mention the wrinkles you get from squinting :D! Thanks for the visit to my kite surfing post.

      Reply
  2. Jill

    Hi Leahrae, Thank you for all the great information. We live right near the beach and love watching the kite boarders. It looks so beautiful but can see sit takes a lot of skill and body strength. A wonderful sport. Think that it is important to have lessons before going into the sea with the kite board.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Jill, you definitely will want lessons. It isn’t super hard per se, but it does require some instruction. It is a great sport to watch and to actively do 🙂 Thanks for reading how to kite surf.

      Reply
  3. Mario

    I’ve tried this extreme sport here on Tenerife ,it’s something awesome. We have one beach in Medano (small windy town), where come hundreds of kite surfers every day.
    In general, it’s not so difficult, so I think everyone should try it, it’s amazing experiance!
    Cheers

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Mario! I have been to Medano :). My aunt lives in Tenerife. Love it there. Perfect place to go kitesurfing with the trade winds. Thanks for stopping by Mario.

      Reply
  4. Josh

    This site is awesome! I especially love how you incorporated so much imagery. Looks like something I definitely want to try! Now I have all the information I need to get started!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a blast Josh. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  5. Anna

    Hi Leahrae,
    First time I saw kite was in Vietnam. The wind there is very strong and waves are not that high that makes it a perfect place for kite surfers. I took a couple of courses and it worth it.
    I totally agree with you that you first need to know how to fly it. First 2 lessons I was using a training kite from the shore and was trying to operate it. It took time and a lot of physical activity to learn the process. But once you get it it is easier once you step with it into the water!
    The gear is very expensive though and until you realize that it is something you would want to do, it worth to rent and then once you master your skills to invest in a good gear.
    You would want to have jumpsuit and gloves at the beginning for sure

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are right on with your information. It probably is a good idea to take the lessons, get a feel for kite surfing and then if it is something you enjoy, well then you are ready to purchase. The trainer kites are a little less expensive the way to go in my opinion. The equipment I have listed is really the best price on those links. On some other sites, the price was considerably more. It is fun, and if you are at the water a lot and enjoy the water, this is something to try for sure. Thanks for taking the time to leave me your comments.

      Reply
  6. Sophia

    I have always wanted to try out kitesurfing – when I see people doing it on video and in real life I am so fascinated. I like the “lifting” aspect of it. When I see people jump up several meters in the air, do a backwards flip and then land gracefully back on the water, I am spell bound! I mean, to me that is almost akin to flying. Must be a big adrenaline rush! I am 5’2 and 120lbs, what size kite and what kind of board would you recommend for someone of my size? Also there is a small lake by my house, would you recommend that as an ideal place to try practicing kiteboarding?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, practicing on the lake is perfect! The first kite in the post will work great, the second one I have listed is for larger people and that one will not work. The second board is the best board for you as it is shorter than the first one (the information on Amazon for the first one is definitely incorrect, it is a 47 and not a 42), so get the Thurso Surf Kiteboard. Both of these items are the cheapest on Amazon, I looked around 🙂 Thanks for reading how to kite surf, and please let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
  7. Jessica

    Hi Leahrae,

    Wow! I have seen kitesurfers in Hawaii but that video is AMAZING! I was totally transfixed. I would definitely want some guidance if I started kitesurfing so I appreciate your recommendations here for specific equipment and why it is important.

    I am confused how the boards don’t come off if the surfers can pop out of them and back in so easily! I guess they are experts!

    Thanks for this very interesting review to kitesurfing equipment.
    Jessica

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Jessica, it takes practice to do that. My son has a knack….me no. It takes a lot just to stay up! It is a blast!

      Reply
  8. Sylvie

    That looks like a lot of fun! I never knew you could kite surf! The post is very informative and exhaustive.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a blast Sylvie! Yes, lots of information for sure, but all well worth it if you want to try kite boarding! Thanks for reading how to kite surf.

      Reply
  9. anthony

    Hey Leahrea, great article! Every time I go on holiday I see people kite surfing and wish I get extremely envious!! This article has made me take the plunge I’m doing it!!

    Now I know how much the started gear I going to cost me. I have just one question. How much are lessons and how many does the average person need?

    I know that every case is individual but a rough guess would be amazing, thanks.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ok, lesson prices can really very from location to location. Here in Florida, and specifically St. Pete Beach, it is $110 for a group lesson and $170 for a group lesson. I am sure there are lesson bundles, and may be cheaper in other locations. Really hard to say. Usually around 3 lessons is good 🙂 Thanks for reading How to Kite Surf!

      Reply
  10. Tony

    Hi, Leahrae,

    I have always been envying kitesurfers while watching them on the beach! Reading your article is the first time I realize I can join the party!

    I thought I am old for kitesurfing, but you gave me the courage to take action! What would you recommend as an equipment for a newbie?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ok Tony, the two kite “kits” on the post are really great choices, and I found them to be the best price on Amazon. The second one is a great buy, and a good one to start with. Glad I prodded you into trying it! Thanks for visiting beachtraveldestinations.com.

      Reply
  11. CJ

    I can remember going to the beach as a kid and seeing people kite surfing. Always wanted to try it. Probably haven’t since it has been years since I have been to the beach. Which brings me to my question. Is kite surfing something you can do on a lake?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Of course you can do it on a lake 🙂 Just need some wind, which is anywhere. So you can still give it a try! Thanks for reading how to kite surf.

      Reply
  12. John

    Leahrae,
    This sounds like a sport that you have to live close to the water to do. Those of us that just vacation next to the beach do not have enough time to learn enough to have fun.
    I have body surfed and been on a boogie board before, just looks like neither will help me here.
    Great information for those who live closer to the water.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      True John, it is something that if you try, you will love and you will want to be near the water so you can kite surf. But, anyone can do it. It looks like it might be difficult, but with a few lessons, you would be up and kite surfing!

      Reply
  13. Fred

    Another great article! This is totally something that I would want to try. I love how you gave a list of all the equipment that you need and the different kits that you could get. Thanks for all the info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Fred, and it is a sport worth a try. All that could happen is that you could fail a few times, but then get right up and have a blast! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  14. Jessica

    When I went to California, I saw so many people Kitesurfing. I always felt that it would be awesome to try. You have provided tons of helpful information about kitesurfing. Thank you! Now, I want to give it a try!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You should give it a try Jessica! Tons of fun! Glad you enjoyed reading and I have sparked an interest for you. Thanks for visiting BeachTraveldestinations.com

      Reply
  15. James

    Back in 2014 I was in Cabarete, Dominican Republic and I had the opportunity to do a 3-day course in Kite surfing. Unfortunately the winds were not strong enough to go out on the water. Your article has sparked the ambition to give it another try. Thanks for posting

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You need to James, we only live once! I know you will have a blast. Kitesurfing is an awesome water sport. Thanks for reading how to kite surf.

      Reply

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