Trip Forman of Realkiteboarding shares some thoughts about learning to kiteboard on your own. He runs a major operation and went throught the school of hard knocks instead of formal kiteboarding (it wasn't available within a few thousand miles in those days). His summary of the experience in Cape Hatteras is pretty telling which he described as:
"... it was the most dangerous, scary, clueless experience I've ever had in my life. I wouldn't recommend taking that road to my worst enemy."
The original message listed below is worth a read and some thought. Kiteboarding instruction is much more widely available than it was a few years ago. So new riders should seriously think about their options and the potential consequences of them. This is reposted from the MAKA yahoogroups list.
Jason and crew,
I taught myself (b/c there was nobody to learn from back then) and it was
the most dangerous, scary, clueless experience I've ever had in my life. I
wouldn't recommend taking that road to my worst enemy. Lessons ands camps
will answer all your questions and make it easy to put the whole sport
together in your mind so it makes total sense. Without instruction, learning
to kiteboard is about as easy as learning how to fly a plane on your own.
Don't get sucked into thinking, " Oh I can spend that money on more gear
instead. " It will just be more gear that can eventually hurt you or others.
Plus, we try to make all lessons fun and entertaining through special
programs and personable coaches.
The $$ you spend on lessons will be the best money you spend on the sport.
Jason, Thanks for the props ! We enjoyed having you in Hatteras and Puerto
Rico and look forward to your next visit. When are you coming back ?>? NNE
today, 25 plus with overhead surf !
On 8/7/02 6:46 AM, "KiteRider" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I have been reading this tread on and off, but think I get the
> gist of what the concern is. I have to agree, when I see a beginner
> getting into the sport that is all gung-ho, I feel really uncomfortable.
> Even the people that are not beginners that insist on showing off their
> skills of kite flying by jumping on the beach, like Jim mentioned,
> really make me feel uneasy. I guess I can say I am one of the Dewey
> crew and love to kite there on both the ocean and the bay and don't want
> to ever not to be able to. So, the best I can do is explain my story to
> the beginner and give them pointers where necessary. I learned to kite
> by gradually moving up through kite sizes and spending time learning to
> fly them correctly in the water, then by body dragging. Hell, I bought
> an 11.8 Airblast and didn't fly it for almost 2 months, because I was
> scared shitless after seeing someone dragged into the weeds. I then
> bought a board and started flying the 11.8, slowly, but surely I finally
> got up on my board and let me tell you, I was so frustrated by that
> time, I was ready to quit. Even after I could kind of ride, I really
> didn't feel like I knew what I was doing....pointers from everyone
> helped, but didn't explain it. I got so frustrated, I was recommended
> to REALKiteboarding out of Hatteras. I decided, that before I was going
> to spend anymore money on this sport, I was going to understand what I
> was doing. I took one of REAL's 3 day kite camps and that helped me
> cross the chasm. They tied it all together for me and made it make
> sense....flying, riding, edging, and most importantly....SAFETY! After
> that, I knew what I wanted, and have been through two boards already
> getting there. Now, don't get me wrong, I am still learning and still
> understanding new things everyday, but my recommendation to anyone that
> is just getting into the sport. BE SMART! A $600-$700 3 day
> camp(equipment included) is cheaper than the recommendations of a shop
> owner that doesn't care whether you kite or not(Note - not all shop
> owners are like that, I am referring to the ones that are). If not the
> camp, take the lessons, I know in the Dewey Beach area, East of Maui and
> the Kite Loft have lessons. I am REAL trained and think they have an
> awesome program out of Hatteras, but I am sure if a group of beginners
> got together and contacted them, the would travel to meet your needs.
> My point in this whole conversation is this!
> TAKE FREAKIN' LESSONS....how fun will it be when you are slammed into a
> car because you were just too much of an idiot to take a lesson. All of
> you, get together, and take a group lesson and learn at the same pace.
> Riders (all levels)
> Practice what you preach....Ride safe and promote safety! No one says
> you have to change your style or your preferences(helmet or no helmet).
> Just promote safe riding, don't show beginners the wrong way to kite.
> Teachem' well, keep up the good work and please.....promote safety and
> respect for (as Bill B. would say) their "loaded shotgun"(kite).
> P.S. - Any beginners want to talk about my experience in learning or
> get input on the RealKiteboarding camp I took, please feel free to
> contact me.
> P.S.S. - Special thanks to REAL for all the knowledge they have passed
> on to me!
> Jason Falcone
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Lodico [mailto:Jlodico@toad.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 12:36 AM
> To: M-A-K-A@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [M-A-K-A] Re: Another Urgent Push for Proper Instruction
> Brett and all,
> I met this guy about two weeks ago. I saw he was there again this
> past Sunday. When I arrived he was the only kiter on the beach and he
> was rigged and ready to go. After talking to him a while, I also
> realized that this was his first go at kiting. He shared his story
> about flying the kite on a football field which about blew my mind. I
> could just imagine him dropping his kite into the power zone only to
> score a really ugly field goal.
> There is no question that this creates at the least an uncomfortable
> position for other kiters. He told me how he had bought two kites and
> a board and was gun-ho to go. I wanted to do nothing more than
> convince him to pack up and go take a lesson. Seeing as though there
> was absolutely no wind, I took some time to show him some basic
> saftey pointers. I think I pointed out double checking lines, where
> to rig the kite, proper launching and about anything else I could
> think of. I knew there wasn't enough wind to fly so I helped him to
> at least get a feel for the kite. Jason F. showed up and also
> provided some pointers. I think Jason should have charged him for a
> lesson by the time he was done.
> I guess my point here is that this is a tough situation and it is not
> the first time I have seen it. Last year on one of my first trips to
> Dewey to kite (after taking my own lessons) I saw a guy trying to run
> on the beach with a 11.5 Free Air the same way someone a child would
> run with a dime-store kite (if said person is reading this, please
> don't take it personally). I think I was the only other kiter there
> at the time and I didn't feel comfortable enough (with my level of
> experience) to say anything. I was still new to the sport. As I
> recall, a more experienced kiter showed up, saw the situation, and
> handled it the same way that I attempted to a couple of weeks ago.
> Again, there wasn't enough wind to get the kite in the air so no harm
> was done.
> Although I bought the kite last year, this summer has really been my
> first summer kiting. One of the things I have enjoyed so much about
> the sport is the friendly nature of all of the kiters at Dewey.
> Everyone has been quick to introduce themselves and help out as I
> struggled through the learning curve. The Dewey crowd has been a
> welcoming group and never did I feel as though I was intruding on
> a "local scene". I would hate to see us get to the point of cutting
> lines and not welcoming people back but at the same time, I would
> hate to see us lose the scene we have now (or worse yet, someone
> getting hurt).
> Shops are going to sell gear regardless (does a car dealer care about
> your driving record?). I think we have to make it our responsibility
> to keep it safe by helping the new guy. This could be as simple
> showing him or her where to rig the kite to talking a new kiter out
> of sailing on a day when the wind is up. The new kiter is not to
> blame for his/her own ignorance. Remember the first time you put a
> kite through the power zone? It was more than I ever expected. We do
> need to work together however to make the newbe aware of their own
> ignorance and the potential dangers of the sport. Working tactfully
> to prevent a dangerous situation while giving the new kiter the phone
> number of a good instructor is a responsibility all of us need to
> stick to.
> And maybe we could keep a laptop with all of the kitmare stories from
> the kitesurfing group on hand at the beach. Those are enough to scare
> anyone away.
> Ride hard, ride safe, ride tomorrow,
You are describing a more commonly encountered problem at launches
throughout the country. It is a difficult situation to manage to be
sure. If all or even most retailers approached business with the
ethics and concern for access that Mike describes we wouldn't even
need to talk about this problem.
My advice would be to:
1. Grab as many fellow riders as you can for a group session with the
problem rider. A larger group will make a more distinct impression
than just one guy. It takes away from your time on the water, true.
Just wait until you see how much time a ban takes away from your
water sessions. It is worth the effort.
2. Introduce yourself and ask for the guys complete name. You also
should try to find out where he got his gear for future reference
3. Give the guy a short version of what is at risk and how this sport
is more complicated and potentially far more dangerous than it looks.
Also describe how the lines can easily cut through flesh and into
bone. Speak calmly but convincingly. Group closeness and participation
in this would be a plus.
4. If despite your best efforts you are not getting through to the
guy about the critical need for proper training before kiteboarding
near the pubic, I would:
a. Tell him you will provide all his information to anyone seeking to
make a claim or legal complaint against him, not only today but in the
b. If you have a repore with the lifeguards, if any, you might ask
them to lean on the guy.
c. Cutting lines has been done before but has some potential legal
consequences. You could explain those to us Brett as that is your
expertise. Something that has been done at one launch in Florida is
for a package of new lines to be handed to the guy after his set was
cut. He was also asked to get lost and not return.
Human nature being what it is there will be cases when all of the
above has no positive influence whatsoever. For shops that look
after access and promote safety in the manner described by Mike, I say
they deserve all the support and business that we can sent their way.
For those shops that don't show that level of concern on a consistent
basis, they may not be earning that level of support. Such
indifference to access and safety issues may earn another reaction in
the not too distant future by concerned riders.
--- In M-A-K-A@y..., "Mike Anthenelli" <mdrider@a...> wrote:
> good points, brett. i agree with you completely, and pride myself
> Kite Loft as a business that promotes safe, mandatory instruction
> time kiteboarders. one of these days some rookie jack-ass will
launch in one
> of our delaware parks, hurt himself or someone else, and the sport
> banned from the area just like it has happened so many times before.
> to do my best to prevent this from happening. ride on.
> Kiteboard Instructor
> The Kite Loft
> Ocean City, MD 21842
> OFFICE: 410.289.7855
> FAX: 410.289.5726
> CELL: 443.366.0800
> -----Original Message-----
> From: bigeugene2000 [mailto:BIGEUGENE@A...]
> Sent: Monday, August 05, 2002 2:38 PM
> To: M-A-K-A@y...
> Subject: [M-A-K-A] Another Urgent Push for Proper Instruction
> Yesterday as I arrived at my kiting spot for the day, I noticed a
> lone guy setting up a kite. I approached him and said "Hey, if
> need a launch, let us know." After introductions, I asked the
> how long they had been riding. "Never. I've flown the kite on a
> high school football field though," came the reply. After
> inquiry I found out that this person saw kiteboarding in Maui--and
> some STINKY JACKASS IDIOT RETAILER sold him a 12.0m Slingshot on
> spot and sent him on his way (I hope to find out what retailer)!
> I urged the guy multiple times to take a MULTI DAY COURSE to learn
> proper kiting for his and everyone else's safety.
> He still wanted to launch and I gave him some very basic pointers.
> He didn't understand what "luffing" was, or even the "wind
> He kept his kite at the zenith most of the time he was out and
> hurt anyone, luckily.
> Upon rethinking my actions, I think I might have done everyone a
> favor by being a Mean Bastard and 1. Forbidding the guy from going
> out, or if that didn't work 2. Cut his lines. But I am not a jerk
> nature, and I think people like him are victims in a sense as
> of reckless retailers who sell kites without ensuring instruction
> just to turn a buck.
> EVERYONE in this sport needs to understand that it is essential
> new kiters to get instruction before purchasing or flying a kite.
> Considering how crowded locations such as Dewey and Hatteras are
> becoming, it is even more important now.
> We have come too far in this sport to let this type of "lapse in
> judgment occur." In this case, I blame the retailer who sold the
> kite without giving or mandating instruction as essential. It was
> if the person went in, they sold the kite, and there was no more
> discussion. Ridiculous!
> I am open to suggestions on how to best diplomatically deal with
> persons in the future. Everyone has a right to kiteboard--but
> with proper instruction. I think that from now on I may be more
> blunt with persons such as this--i.e. telling them point-blank
> the person who sold them the kite was an idiot, and that they are
> being stupid, reckless and idiotic as well if they hope to "self-
> teach" themselves to kiteboard in a windsurfer/kiteboarder
> Kite On,