I just recently bought a ram air stunt kite and have enjoyed alot of fun with it and it got me into researching kites. After some time, I found some websites in kite surfing and now I am extremely interested in participating in this sport. I live in Miami and not until reading these forums, I was unaware that kitesurfing was very popular down here.
I already have some links to kite schools down here, but I would like to hear other people opinions on which would be the better choice. Also, what type of equipment would be best suitable for a beginner such as myself; I weight 140 lbs.
I don't know any of the local schools but my advice is this:
Take some lessons from a local shop and try out some of their gear before you buy anything.
That way you will know what you are getting into, know some of your gear options and eliminate the risks of destroying your own gear from doing something stupid the first time you go out.
Lessons might seem expensive but several hours of lessons is worth it in terms of reducing the chances of wrecked gear, bodily harm to yourself or worse yet innocent bystanders. Additionally the kite and board that are best for getting your first rides are sometimes not the best to progress on after your first hour riding the board. If you spend 15-20 hours practicing flying your trainer kite before you go for lessons and make sure the instructor is aware of your initial experience, you should be able to get the most out of the money you spend on your lessons.
Before you go for lessons, practice flying your trainer kite in different wind speeds, flying it up and down, flying it in a sine wave pattern while you run across the wind with it, launching and landing at the edge of the wind window, maybe even sit on the ground flying it and then roll over on your back to note how the controls are backwards for when you get draged through the water on your back.
Hang out at the local launch(es) and spend some time observing the guys with experience. Don't be afraid to hassle some guys and ask them some questions while they are de-rigging (it's better not to bother guys who are just getting ready to go out).
Then find a reputable shop to give you lessons and sell you gear. Ideally look for a shop with a wide selection of gear and PASA or IKO certified instructors.