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Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

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Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby bahflorida » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:25 pm

Hey everyone.

Just came in here to introduce myself, gain some encouragement/advice, ask questions and maybe even meet a fellow kiter in my position.

Took my first lesson in April, bought a kite, began to practice on my own.

Since then I've accomplished
-Body dragging: down and upwind
-water relaunch
-self rescue
-gotten up on the board and gone downwind fine, upwind only a little.
-self launch (and land)<<<albeit a bit risky, I've gotten more comfortable doing it.

Here is where I am stuck; if there is ANY sort of chop at all, I'm screwed. The only time I've really gotten up on and kited across the water was in the Keys when it was PERFECTLY FLAT.

I just feel that in 7 months I should be seeing more progress. This stuff is fuggin hard ( for me at least). I've tried to hit different beaches in south florida, but so many factors hinder me kiting.
-Not enough wind (summer months)
-Too much wind (I've got a 13.5-can't afford another kite right now)
-Too much chop
-Beach too crowded

The last thing I want to do is endanger someone else when kiting. So its like my options are slim to none when it comes to flat water/less crowds in SoFlo. I don't have the money to drive to the keys every weekend where I can get some actual good time on the water. I guess I just never thought about all the additional costs associated with it, not to mention time. Damnit! ;) short.

-I've made progress, but am frustrated with my slow learning curve.

-Anyone been in my shoes?

-Anyone else a beginner in South Florida? ( I live in West Palm)

This is turning out to be harder than I had imagined, but I can't quit now!

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby Oldpeople » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:50 pm

we've all been there! But you've gotten through all the hard un-fun stuff.
What size board are you using? I lend my big board (158cm) to beginners and it helps them a lot. its very stable and forgiving and edges well. also it makes learning a turn much easier.Down where I am we call it the "magic board"
Chop does make everything alot harder....just one more variable
Just work on being able to ride upwind. A couple of things that helped me. first try not to look at the kite the whole time. just flick your eyes up and back every once in a while. Your body wants to go where you are looking. So look over your shoulder at where you want to go. this turns your head, turns your shoulders and turns your hips and makes you edge. Also try to ride with hands together on the bar. This helps with getting your body twisted into the right position.
All of a sudden this will all click in and you won't be able to figure out why it seemed so hard.
I dont like self launch self land. accidents happen at the beach.
and lastly I believe in teachers. take amother lesson or two or find some one that can help. it will speed the process up a lot.
good will all come!

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby donohu90 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:43 pm

Don't worry man. Kiteboarding has a steep learning curve, but it's worth it. One day it will all click for you and it will feel great. Not having enough wind can make it tougher too. Obviously having enough wind is important for this sport. Are other people riding the same size or bigger kites? As you become more skilled you'll find you can push the lower end of your kites range more, but having enough wind to park and ride makes things a lot easier. I learned in lighter summer winds in the ocean, so I spent a lot of time under powered and having to contend with waves. It's tougher in the beginning, but you'll become a better kiter.

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby matth » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:00 am

I had a very similar experience. I learned in choppy , surfy, conditions and it really made things a lot harder. Once I traveled to a flat water spot it all came together in an instance. After that flatwater weekend I was off and running. One year later I am going toeside, getting some air , and doing seemless transitions turns.
Definitely use a big TT , it makes a huge difference when starting out. Make sure you are nicely powered, being underpowered will make things more difficult .
Remember you need more power in rough conditions. Drop the kite and ride towards the kite (down wind). Lean back enough so you do not bury the nose in the surf. After a few seconds of riding downwind and speed building start to edge the board more upwind.
Looking back at my first runs I know my biggest hurdle was learning to not hook upwind to quick and stall the kite.
Once riding focus on your stance, make sure you are not in the pooh stance. You will never get upwind that way. lean on your harness, push your legs out, front leg strait , back leg pushing, and push your hips up.
Sounds like you are right on the door step. Hang in there its worth the wait. If it was easy everyone would be doing it...I am glad its hard to learn.

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby Kamikuza » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:36 am

Welcome! :bye:

Sounds like here. The lake got choppy when the wind picks up enough to ride, but the ocean was much worse... ninja waves you never see that take your knees out from under you :)

It's a learning curve, but rest assured that if you stick at it, your experience will be good for your progression in the long run... and you might even get to enjoy the chop!

If you're heading out into the chop at right angles, use your knees to absorb the waves as you ride over it, and try to hold the edge down the back side. On the way in, work hard to get upwind.
When you're riding more parallel to the waves, edge into the wave and pop up a little so the board floats over the chop...

Of course, depends what you call chop... went home to NZ for a summer holiday and got out on the estuary - what I thought was awesome flat water had the locals were moaning about all the chop...!

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby vp » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:49 pm

We've all been in your shoes - some longer than others, but we've all been there. 7 months is probably more than average , but I know some people who have been in your shoes for years. I've been running a kiteboarding school for over 8 years now, and have seen it all. Other than your physical shape and previous sports experiences, there are two main factors that can contribute to a faster learning curve:

1. Proper gear for the conditions.
2. Perfect conditions.

Unfortunately, as you already know, both require investment - money, time, or both. I'd like to say that it will be worth it, but everyone has different budgets for money and time.

1. Gear: It would help to know your weight and board size to make some suggestions for gear. You might be getting overpowered on your 13.5 and might need something smaller , especially in Florida during the winter. Your board might be too small for your weight.. etc.
There are some excellent deals on kiteboarding gear to be had right now.

2. Conditions: As you already know - consistent winds , flat and shallow water .. you can find these conditions in the Keys. If you can, when you see a good forecast , go for a few days . ride few days in a row in good conditions with proper gear and it will click .

A lesson with a good instructor might save you months of trying to figure things out on your own. If you can't afford another lesson at this point, pick up the Progression Beginner DVD - it's very helpful.

Also, here are a few tips for consistently going upwind which wont cost you anything. Not sure these will apply to you, since i've never seen you ride:
- all your weight should be over your back heal. back knee bend, front knee almost straight.
- look ~45 degrees upwind and try to twist your shoulders and hips that way. take your back hand off the bar if you can.
- if you're in heavy chop, keep your kite a bit higher than usual.

Good luck!

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby dracop » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:13 pm

I'm currently a beginner but I love it. Even body dragging can be entertaining. Reminds me of boogie boarding but with propulsion.

I prefer slightly deeper water though - the beaches are just too crowded for my tastes. Body drag out, play in the bay, surf in if you can or body drag in if you cannot surf. If the wind dies its a headache but you are done no matter what so at least you get a nice swim workout. Practice that self rescue and check that PFD hehe! Oh, and make sure you are good at upwind body dragging if you do go deeper - you will need it to recover your board after every wipe.

If you want a customized lesson to break your plateau, I would recommend the school in Key Biscayne. They helped me a ton in getting started although they are pricey. LOTS of shallow, waist deep water if you dislike swimming and want to be able to stand up for each start.

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby edt » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:35 am

Your progress is pretty typical.

"This is turning out to be harder than I had imagined, but I can't quit now!"

Don't worry you will eventually be able to throw down. You already have the most important skill: not quitting.

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby timothymcmackin » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:50 pm

Hang in there! Sometimes I wonder how the heck anyone ever learned this crazy sport.

What did it for me was more time on the water in a shorter time. In the spring and summer of 2013, after some lessons, I was going to the beach for a day once a month or so and making very, very slow progress, and even having sessions that were a complete waste.

Then I spent a week at Hatteras (at Kite Club Hatteras -- highly recommended!) where I could have a lesson one day and a session the next. So many things came together in that week! What really worked for me is to have a lesson one day and make mental notes about good riding form and body position. Then the next day I'd do a downwinder in the sound there, where I could make 300+ yard tacks without fear of going too far downwind. In places with less water to work with, by the time I was up and riding downwind, I would run out of space and have to hike back upwind. In the hatteras sound, I had all kinds of space, so I could burn 50 yards or more going downwind and getting comfortable, and then start to make small improvements to my form and slowly turn upwind. Of course, I wasn't rocketing upwind at first, so I needed a long, long tack to slowly inch back and over time, gain a little ground on the upwind tacks.

That's what seems to be working for me: a lesson followed by downwinders to rehearse what I learned.

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Re: Who's been in my shoes? Being a beginner sucks!

Postby balugh » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:32 pm above a bit of persistence and time on the water. The summer I learned, 2007, instead of taking a long summer holiday I spread it across a bunch of long weekends. This gave me 3 (sometimes 4) days on a regular basis through the summer to try to get a session in. I got at least one session in pretty much every week that summer (shut out once if I recall correctly). On good weeks I got 2 or 3 sessions. This helped lock in the muscle memory that's inherent in kiting, provided lots of practice in different conditions...flat through chop and out in some decent waves. Sometimes I felt like Bambi on ice (still happens on occasion) but that's one of the best things about the sport. Mother Nature is different every time you go out to play with her... But it is well worth the effort.

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