Do I need lessons?
Yes, you should always take lessons from a qualified instructor. This sport can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Check out our kitesurfing schools to find one near you.
Do you need waves to kitesurf like for surfing?
The beauty of kitesurfing is that you can have fun in such varied conditions. The kite enables you to position yourself where you want on the waves and gives you the power to eject if need be: a lot of kitesurfers are addicted to waveriding as they get the benefits of having a kite to power them while still being able to kill its power while on the wave for a pure surfing experience.
However, yet more kitesurfers seek out flat water conditions. Flat water enables you to go fast and keep control, making it perfect for freestyle where you need to hold down a lot of power to jump high and fast, and to keep control in fast landings.
In reality the average kitesurfer rides on whatever is at their local spot: usually chop, small waves or swell. And they love it.
What age do you have to be to kitesurf? Can my kids and or gran do it?
The main thing is you need to be quite fit and a confident swimmer. Young children can be started on small trainer kites to learn good control without a lot of pull and progress on to kitesurfing with a small kite under close supervision. The world tour is currently dominated by teenagers and new entrants are getting younger and younger. Strength is not nearly as important as good technique: it’s all about going with the flow, not fighting the kite.
Kitesurfing can be taken to whatever level you choose: be it savouring a calm sunset ’soul session’ or launching yourself high into the air. There is no age limit but strong swimming and fast thinking are a must in case something unexpected comes up.
Do you need really strong arms?
The kite is attached to a harness which you wear around your waist and this takes the force. The only work your arms do is pulling gently on the control bar to steer the kite. Your legs and core take most of the strain as they transmit the force through your board to push against the water. With new more depowerable ‘bow’ kites less effort is needed though kitesurfing is still very good exercise and you can push it as far as you want.
How much wind is needed?
When the wind whips the water into chop with white caps you can kitesurf. Around 11knts is the minimum and many amateur riders keep going up to around 35knts. It is important to match the size of kite you use to the wind conditions and your body weight. If in doubt rig a smaller kite as gusts can take you by surprise and be very dangerous, especially while launching or landing.
How much does it cost to get set up?
A new kite costs from €350 to €1500, a board can be bought now for around €350 and a good harness for approximately €80. Most kite schools offer good beginner packages to their students where you can get everything in one go with a discount. Once you have your equipment kitesurfing is a very inexpensive sport: the wind of course is free!