Australia's First Kite Surfing School (since 1998)
Learn to harness the power generated by these large kites! No previous experience required but having flown small stunts kites will definitely help. You don't have to be strong - many kids and women are now right into this sport too! Average health, fitness and a desire for adrenalin is all you need.
When flown directly overhead or off to either side the kites put very little pressure on the lines, but when they are flown low downwind of the rider, they generate the power to accelerate the rider out of the water then up and continue planing. As your skill develops you will be able to turn around, go upwind, wave ride, jump, and many other aerial tricks.
Ian Young is the pioneer of kite surfing in Australia and is an International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) Level 2 Instructor. He teaches safely with the fastest possible learning curve - WinDesigns operations are fully approved by the relevant government authorities. One major difference in our method of teaching is the use of a jetski to ensure your one-on-one tuition is as efficient and effective as possible.
How difficult is it to learn? It's easier than windsurfing to get planing and jibing. It takes a little longer to learn to go upwind but then it's quicker to get into wave riding, jumps and other tricks. 80% of the skill is in flying these power kites - if you put the kite in the right spot in the sky, you hardly even have to think about the board.
Unfortunately my jetski and a lot of my teaching gear was stolen so I can now only provide introductory safety, theory and kite flying on the beach.
In the one hour introductory lesson you will do about 20min of theory revision then 40min of hands-on safety and flying a 4-line power water kite. I charge $80/hr cash only and usually conduct lessons at Brighton (Scarborough) or Leighton beaches in a light seabreeze by appointment only.
About 80% of the sport is in the kite flying, so the more instinctive it is the quicker you will progress, so If you havenít flown a two-line stunt kite before Iíd strongly recommend you spend 3-4 hours on one before you come to your first lesson. When flying a stunt kite you should put it on a small bar (a cut-off piece of broom stick is fine) and tie a piece of cord between the bar and your harness (or ordinary belt) to create a pivot point in the centre of the bar. As you fly the kite from side to side focus on NOT grabbing or twisting the bar, pivot the bar with your hands, donít use your shoulders and try to keep the bar fairly horizontal the whole time, move your feet so that your hips and shoulders remain square on to the pull of the kite. Concentrate on controlling the axis of the kite and practice parking the kite perfectly stationary above you and low to either side one-handed and flying patterns turning as sharply as possible (pivot the bar, set the angle of the axis) then relax and let the kite fly in a straight line pulling through the belt (not pulling with your hands).
The single most important part of kite surfing safety is to assess your conditions, including weather Ė this doesnít cost you a cent, so start today. Read the forecasts, look at the charts and the sky and guess what the wind strength & direction will be later that day then check to see if youíre right using a wind speed meter or checking www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/ - itís also useful for forecasting up to five days ahead. To learn more about how to forecast weather visit www.bom.gov.au/info/ftweather.
If you book a lesson Iíll send you my theory notes (copyright material) which provides much more specific information on the patterns that you should be flying, common mistakes, etc. I can also provide a basic trainer kite for $89 (ready to fly with lines and bar).