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Advice to beginners

forum for kitesurfers


Postby Guest » Tue Jan 29, 2002 4:23 pm

I think that we really need to change how new
participants commonly look at getting into the sport of kitesurfing. This is
for their safety, their speed of learning and significantly for the rest of
us, in a way to avoid incidents and possible kitesurfing bans.

In the past, lots of us got a traction kite, often not a great first choice
either, spent time in the "school of hard knocks" and figured it out, more or
less. We really didn't have a lot of choice a few years ago as instructors
were extremely rare. We all had our share of incidents, injuries, kite
damage, that we could talk about. Today, it really isn't necessary or
appropriate for new riders to go through that.

They should get ADEQUATE lessons from a good instructor. They will get to
try a variety of gear that they don't have to buy and should speed their
development in the sport dramatically. They will also be learning this
sometimes dangerous sport in a much safer way. Importantly for the rest of
us, they should have a much lower chance of causing an incident that might
lead to bans. Sure it costs, as do flying, hang gliding lessons, sky diving
lessons, etc. Have folks figured out how to do these other sports on their
own in the past, yes, but good thing that they don't anymore!

Next, at the same time as the lessons or just after, they should get a
trainer kite and an intro to kitesurfing video, e.g., "Get'n School'd" or the
like. They should really work with the trainer and watch the video(s) until
the basic lessons on technique thoroughly sink in. They should spend all
their time with the trainer while on land and near hard objects as opposed to
learning control technique with a full sized traction kite that could drag
them into trouble. If they still like the sport and want to go on, then they
should tackle the question of what kite(s) to purchase. This list and other
resources can provide lots of help in answering that question when your
friend is ready.

All too often guys go right to the last step, getting a kite, rigging up,
going out and flying this full sized traction kite on land and waiting for
something bad to happen or not! The problem is that there are a lot more of
us out there these days. Our learning curve incidents, that we all make,
aren't so acceptable anymore. We need to approach kitesurfing in a safer,
more responsible way:

First lessons,
Then trainer kite and videos,
Then worry about what kite(s) to buy

My two cents, hope more folks approach this sport this way,
Rick Iossi

<< A freind wants to get into KS , what is the best gear to start of
with?? kite/board, size???
Hes about 95kg never flown kites but can snowboard,waterski.

any ideas steve? or other KS instructors??

Cheers Macca >>

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Postby murdoc » Tue Jan 29, 2002 4:55 pm

hey rick, thanx for your opinion....

as a 'hardass bump 'n stunt' learner, too - i thougt of another thing:
when i learned kiting, there weren't any tubekites larger than 10m² flat.
and definately NO kiters with 16m kites in 5bft on tiny wakes, doing tricks and shootin' themselves into the sky like you find them now at every kitebeach.

everyone around here knew: this is whole new and extreme...
i can remember when a fellow told me when he was out the other day with a 7.5m naish in 6bft (when he now flies the 10m airblast), with gleaming eyes - how hard he ripped and how high he jumped.....

the guys who learned the oldschool way started much smaller and took longer than today -

now u got the possibillity of being taught all the tricks :wink:

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Postby Toby » Tue Jan 29, 2002 6:20 pm

Hi Rick and Murdoc,

you guys are absolutely correct.
Whatever we can do, we should.

Therefore the forum has been created, too, to give KS and newbees worldwide a platform to get more information and helpful advices regarding material, avoiding accidents and to discuss/create new products.
Hopefully the forum will increase so producers of kite stuff will join and listen to the experiences and wishes of their buyers.

Very important is, that newbees listen to what experienced kiters say!

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Postby phree » Tue Jan 29, 2002 8:12 pm

Agreed. However, I've noticed that some of the worst violations of safety protocol are done by experienced kiters. Someone said here ealier that overconfidence is the biggest cause of incidents. I would agree with that and add that over-inflated egos seem to be a major problem, as well. Some guys just have to do their big airs twenty feet from shore to make sure their beach audience gets the maximum impact. Never mind the tourists snorkeling in the water nearby or the couple with a baby watching from the nearby shore.

I agree with the necessary evolution of newbies taking lessons but I think it is equally important that we all take on a more pro-active role in keeping each other in line with safe kiting techniques. I see good riders making bad choices that are the things that rightly piss the general public off. Then nobody says anything to them when they come in because they want to avoid confrontation. If we don't police ourselves then eventually public pressure will see to it that somebody else does.

I think we all need to actively develop a kiteboarding culture that is very watchfull, extremely helpful to each other and not at all hesitant to keep other kiters in line when they are seen practicing unsafe things that erode our rights to beach access.

Safety enforcement can be done in tactfull ways rather than getting in someone's face the second they come out of the water, all pumped up. We need to police ourselves but not in a hostile way. Peer pressure can be an effective tool but requires that everyone participate. Our young sport can look to other established technical sports for examples of an effective and appropriate culture of safety. If we don't develop this kind of culture now, we will surely see a faster erosion of our beach access rights.

So don't just go to the beach to go kiteboarding and be in your own little world. Talk to the others and compare notes on conditions, be alert to others that may be in need of assistance launching, landing or arranging their gear. Actively discuss safety aspects of each kite zone with everyone you talk to. Discuss ideas of how to help correct kiters with unsafe practices. Take a few minutes to chat with the curious bystanders. These are people's important first impressions of our sport. Let them see that we are friendly and safety concious. This helps promote the acceptance of our sport. Please help create a culture of pro-active, safety oriented, self policing and friendly kiteboarders.

Anyone finding this string of messages to be of interest should go back and click on the subject: We need to start talking more effectively.


Postby Guest » Tue Jan 29, 2002 11:12 pm

Lots of good points! Murdoc, your comments about larger kites are worth repeating. When I started the largest kites that I could get my hands on included a 8.5 m Wipika Classic and a 9 m F one ATK about 8 months later. Interestingly enough, if the rider is incautious enough you can still get spanked pretty good by even a 5 m Wipika Classic. I proved this to myself during an 80 ft. high speed body drag following a sudden 40 mph + gust that hit following a bad launch a couple of years ago. The opportunity to savor such an experience with a 9.5 m or larger four line sled boggles my mind. You are so right, now that large kites are common, we all need to be a lot more cautious, new guys in particular.

Toby, thanks for creating and maintaining this forum. The best tool we have in maintaining kitesurfing access is good communication.

Phree, you make some excellent points. Experienced riders that are too careless are a big part of the threat to continued access. Your idea of building a supportive culture that helps itself is a great suggestion. As you point out this has been done in other sports with success. I think we need to copy those good examples to help to keep us out there shredding. Your advice to take a few minutes to help others and talk with bystanders to build good will is excellent.

We are all in this together, like it or not. We need to work together to keep our access to this incredible sport intact and to promote safety in general!

Rick Iossi

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Postby Toby » Tue Jan 29, 2002 11:24 pm

it really is a good point, that good kiters are dangerous too.

Our ideas should be in mind of any kiter going to the kitebeaches next time.
Beginners, ask the guys who now about the sport and pros always look around if you can help or avoid acccidents.

Let's look into a safer future!

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