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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:22 am 
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Location: Wimbledon, UK
Interesting leash discussion, and valid arguments on both sides.

I learnt in 2004 on the South coast of England.
The school used reel leashes (no option given and no info about how they could be dangerous). Helmets also used.
The reel leash definitely saved time in the learning process, and I wanted to use it.
Yes I continued using a leash (probably cause that's the way I was taught) but didn't buy a helmet of my own
Yes, it was because I wasn't confident to body-drag back to my board, and didn't want to lose time/energy trying to get it back (wanted riding time, not dragging time..), and wasn't really taught these skills. Yes, by this time I knew there was risk but didn't want to give up the leash.
Yes, the board finally twatted me on the head in 2006 or so, on day 2 of a week's kiting holiday in Hurghada/Egypt (5 stitches, but carried on kiting wearing a rather fetching purple swimming cap)
Yes, I bought a helmet after that, and continued using the reel leash
In 2007 or so went on a kite trip to Portugal and the guy running it couldn't believe I was using a board leash, and told me in no uncertain times to stop immediately, and gave me some key upwind body-dragging tips. At this time I would say I was a reasonably competent kiter, easily keep upwind, wave riding etc, just always used a leash. I ended up using one of his boards due to light winds, had a crash, and was forced to body drag to find it (it had no place for me to attach my leash) and from that day I never used the leash again, I felt totally liberated. Kind of like finally ditching the training wheels on a bike - not that I remember that far back :)
Having been through the leash mill I would say this: the leash has no place in lessons, whatever the circumstances! (sorry Richard, you should teach people how to drag upwind - it will take longer but ultimately students will thank you for it - it's a critical skill and definitely is not wasted time! Once you know how it's really not so difficult/taxing, I was just never shown how to do it properly! I wish I had been taught these skills at the beginning.
Yes, I wear a helmet whenever I kite. Which is not so often now, living 700kms from the coast :o

Happy kiting and RIP Rene.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:49 am
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Location: Japan
Sometimes, you don't even need a leash :o



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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 1:40 pm
Posts: 667
Location: L.A. & Ventura Counties, CA
thesimianprince wrote:
Interesting leash discussion, and valid arguments on both sides.

I learnt in 2004 on the South coast of England.
The school used reel leashes (no option given and no info about how they could be dangerous). Helmets also used.
The reel leash definitely saved time in the learning process, and I wanted to use it.
Yes I continued using a leash (probably cause that's the way I was taught) but didn't buy a helmet of my own
Yes, it was because I wasn't confident to body-drag back to my board, and didn't want to lose time/energy trying to get it back (wanted riding time, not dragging time..), and wasn't really taught these skills. Yes, by this time I knew there was risk but didn't want to give up the leash.
Yes, the board finally twatted me on the head in 2006 or so, on day 2 of a week's kiting holiday in Hurghada/Egypt (5 stitches, but carried on kiting wearing a rather fetching purple swimming cap)
Yes, I bought a helmet after that, and continued using the reel leash
In 2007 or so went on a kite trip to Portugal and the guy running it couldn't believe I was using a board leash, and told me in no uncertain times to stop immediately, and gave me some key upwind body-dragging tips. At this time I would say I was a reasonably competent kiter, easily keep upwind, wave riding etc, just always used a leash. I ended up using one of his boards due to light winds, had a crash, and was forced to body drag to find it (it had no place for me to attach my leash) and from that day I never used the leash again, I felt totally liberated. Kind of like finally ditching the training wheels on a bike - not that I remember that far back :)
Having been through the leash mill I would say this: the leash has no place in lessons, whatever the circumstances! (sorry Richard, you should teach people how to drag upwind - it will take longer but ultimately students will thank you for it - it's a critical skill and definitely is not wasted time! Once you know how it's really not so difficult/taxing, I was just never shown how to do it properly! I wish I had been taught these skills at the beginning.
Yes, I wear a helmet whenever I kite. Which is not so often now, living 700kms from the coast :o

Happy kiting and RIP Rene.

Could you please point out ANY post of mine which says we do not teach our students how to bodydrag upwind ? To make this chore worth your while, I'll pay you $50 for each post you find.

Do you know the difference between knowing how to do something (but not doing it well) and being able to do the thing PROFICIENTLY as the result of PRACTICING ?

Richard M.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)
http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET
kfRichard@MalibuKitesurfing.NET


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:37 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Ireland
I took my first lessons in early 2006 (abroad in a kite school with a very good equipment and a good reputation), the experience was so bad it put me off kiting for over a year! Being drop of the boat somewhere that felt like a middle of the ocean on my own and not really knowing what to do was a nightmare! Boat would appear every 20+ minutes or so but it felt like ages... That was how I very quickly clocked up 16h still having no idea how to kitesurf! I still remember my bodydragging session - off you go, yep you got it! Did I?!?!
I decided to try again back home with a local instructor in 1:1 lessons and got hooked... I got my first kite and started to go out with already kitesurfing friends keeping an eye on me, I was out only in light to moderate cross onshore winds and on wide sandy and shallow(-ish) beaches where you can walk in the water to get your board back (but often had to fight with what looked back then as a massive white wash ;-)). It never EVER even once occurred to me to attach a leash to my board! And let me tell you I was constantly loosing it... twice I thought it was gone for good. It was so frustrating!
I learnt to efficiently bodydrag upwind to recover my board in one tack only in my first cold water winter session, I got it in less than 10min :-) It was that or go home (or get hypothermia!)

What I am trying to say is that there is absolutely NO NEED for kiteboard leashes, but the blame for using them lies on both sides - instructors and students. If there was an international and compulsory requirement of NOT USING a kiteboard leash during any type of instruction, frustrated (and sometimes lazy) students wouldn't have an option of ditching schools not using leashes for instructors who will happily provide them. If somebody (student) thinks kitesurfing is that easy, it's obviously not a right sport for them and they could be already flagged as a potential risk and danger to themselves and others.

I believe a good instructor with a right approach can teach anyone to bodydrag to quickly recover a board in about 15-30min. But of course that is providing that the student was firstly properly tough how to handle a kite and already has relatively good kite skills.
The offers of "we will get you up on the board in first lesson" are simply shocking! Unless the first lesson is like a 2-3 day long ;-) It's worth to put an effort and time to make your students understand how important is every step of learning process and if they skip anything they won't be able to progress.

RIP Rene


Last edited by Kite Kasia on Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:30 am 
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Posts: 639
I guess releasing from school students w/ sub-par skills in body-dragging, re-launch, self-rescue and kite/board control is happening all over the place and somehow it´s +/- working for the majority, but let´s not say it´s right or safe.

I don´t know if the accident here displayed could had been avoided with the basics better entrenched and won´t guess it in front of my PC, but overall all this logic of "learn how to kiteboard in 10 hours" is not doing any favours & things should go slower and in smaller steps.

But i´m not saying something new, am i?


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 1:40 pm
Posts: 667
Location: L.A. & Ventura Counties, CA
Kite Kasia wrote:
.......! That was how I very quickly clocked up 16h still having no idea how to kitesurf! I still remember my bodydragging session - off you go, yep you got it! Did I?!?!
I decided to try again back home with a local instructor in 1:1 lessons and got hooked... I got my first kite and started to go out with already kitesurfing friends keeping an eye on me, I was out only in light to moderate cross onshore winds and on wide sandy and shallow(-ish) beaches where you can walk in the water to get your board back (but often had to fight with what looked back then as a massive white wash ;-)). It never EVER even once occurred to me to attach a leash to my board! And let me tell you I was constantly loosing it... twice I thought it was gone for good. It was so frustrating!
I learnt to efficiently bodydrag upwind to recover my board in one tack only in my first cold water winter session, I got it in less than 10min :-) It was that or go home (or get hypothermia!)

What I am trying to say is that there is absolutely NO NEED for kiteboard leashes, but the blame for using them lies on both sides - instructors and students. If there was an international and compulsory requirement of NOT USING a kiteboard leash during any type of instruction, frustrated (and sometimes lazy) students wouldn't have an option of ditching schools not using leashes for instructors who will happily provide them. If somebody (student) thinks kitesurfing is that easy, it's obviously not a right sport for them and they could be already flagged as a potential risk and danger to themselves and others.

I believe a good instructor with a right approach can teach anyone to bodydrag to quickly recover a board in about 15-30min. But of course that is providing that the student was firstly properly tough how to handle a kite and already has relatively good kite skills.
The offers of "we will get you up on the board in first lesson" are simply shocking! Unless the first lesson is like a 2-3 day long ;-) It's worth to put an effort and time to make your students understand how important is every step of learning process and if they skip anything they won't be able to progress.

RIP Rene


First, you should be commended for your perseverance and willingness to spend a large sum on lessons (unless the boat lessons of which you complain were very cheap). Also for purchasing equipment so that you could put in the time to PRACTICE and develop “...relatively good kite skills.

However, it’s too bad you’re in Ireland because if you were anywhere near LA, I’d pay you $500 to teach me how to consistently “...efficiently bodydrag upwind to recover my board in one tack after a TYPICAL wipeout where it ends up AT LEAST 15 feet behind. I also won’t mind if I can’t learn this in “.... less than 10min ". Even people much more proficient than me are usually seen making more than ONE tack to recover a board that may have started out only being 5 feet behind them.

Also, since you “...believe a good instructor with a right approach can teach anyone to bodydrag to quickly recover a board in about 15-30min.” , I’d appreciate it if you’d explain which parts of our typical bodydragging lesson described below are unnecessary.

Additionally, it’s ALSO important to know HOW MUCH TIME AND MONEY I should expect my students to have spent PRIOR to this body dragging lesson since the results you claim are possible is conditional upon the student ALREADY having “...relatively good kite skills.” Please include ALL prior lesson and equipment costs and ALL prior lesson and (I assume) practice time.

Excerpt from post on previous page:

“Perhaps I have a different definition of what “learning” bodydragging entails than instructors such as robertovilate who says that “Typically learn this skill takes about 30 minutes...

In our case, AFTER putting a kite up and getting into a wet suit, teaching a bodydragging lesson typically takes:

5-15 minutes to describe lesson, goals, potential problems and solutions, QR and knife review and respond to any questions or concerns.

Although we cover bodydragging on a side with outstretched arm (both directions), our emphasis, conditions permitting, is teaching kite control with as much power as possible, preferably in waves (2-5 feet) and whitewater .

MINIMUM of 15 minutes where we go through the various drills to be covered while explaining details to the student (holding onto our harness).

MINIMUM of 15 minutes where the student goes through the drills while we hold on to his harness and give advice.

MINIMUM of 15 minutes where the student goes through the drills alone while we run ahead on the beach.

In reality, if conditions are reasonably good, we will have the student practice as much as they want but this is rarely is more than another 30-45 minutes.

AND for some strange reason, it is not unusual for the kite to CRASH, sometimes multiple times, possibly ADDING 5-30 minutes EACH time .

AND for every 30 minutes
of decent bodydragging, there is an ADDITIONAL, UNAVOIDABLE WALK back up the beach of at LEAST 45-60 minutes.

Although occasionally a student may have semi-decent skills after an exceptionally productive lesson, we would not consider them even barely PROFICIENT until AFTER they were reasonably comfortable doing all the following (excerpted from “Why Practice is Essential” at http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET ) :

“WATER PRACTICE WITHOUT BOARD:

BODYDRAGGING in light wind.

NOTE: "light wind" for novices tends to be where you must keep moving the kite or it will fall, up to about the middle of the wind range of either the kite or the particular kiter. Because of the usual problems resulting from lack of power, you are forced to concentrate on creating the more exacting skills necessary for more perfect manipulation necessary to create the most efficient use of available power.

* Try to keep flying while going against surf to get outside, going with surf coming in, parallel to shore in whitewater.

* Find the best position to "park" the kite where the kite is reasonably stable yet minimizes drifting downwind or better yet, enables upwind travel.

* .Find the best way to "work" the kite where the kite produces enough power to get through surf yet minimizes travel downwind or better yet (but unlikely), enables upwind travel.

* Practice relaunching. NOTE: lack of power requires much more exacting and thoughtful technique for success which aids learning.

* Practice various self-rescue techniques when self -launch fails.

* BODYDRAGGING in strong wind.

NOTE: "strong wind" for novices usually indicates something like the upper half of the wind range of either the kite or the particular kiter.

NOTE: This is usually the BEST WAY to gain experience with more power and often bigger surf and although common factors often combine which substantially reduce risk, dealing with increased power and larger surf also provides an especially good opportunity to get used to wearing a helmet if you haven't done so. At some point, you may also want to see if an impact vest or life jacket is helpful.

Obviously, you should be comfortable bodydragging in light/medium wind before attempting strong wind.

CAUTION: Although this level of wind may be reasonably safe IN THE WATER, the risk of injury etc. on LAND is substantially multiplied. Therefore, try to arrange to get in the water immediately after launching and quickly bodydrag away from shore. If you have any doubts about launching, DON'T. You also need to know what to do in the event that the wind goes up past where you are comfy and you need to come in.

Also, increased power increases the possibility of equipment failure and therefore pre-use examination should be thorough. It is also beneficial to have a plan B in mind for responses to the more common types of breakages.

The most serious disadvantage is the likeliness of having the worst ratio of practice time to walking time because of very fast downwind travel. The best solution, if feasible, is to have a helper with a car pick you up at the end of the beach. If you must walk, know the most efficient technique and if you're really into fitness, jog.

DRILLS:

* Keep control while airborne and going fast and coming down;

* Recover from imminent loss of control;

* Keep control while launching off and through wave faces;

* Keep control while underwater in whitewater and wavefaces;

* Keep control when spun onto back and otherwise off balance;

* Use the kite for partial lifts to simulate looking for a board.

* Maximize upwind travel - both sides and simulate looking for board.

* Keep control while working each side of the window such that the kite's power tends to pull you onto your back as the kite goes up.

* Instead of landing, practice self-rescue (preferably not for the first time).

* PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to how much faster the kite moves in strong wind and the deadlier nature of the power generated; NOTE: A thorough understanding of this phenomenon coupled with respect borne of personal experience is a VERY VALUABLE ASSET usually only gained after a scary incident(s).”

I kind of doubt that a student who “knew” how to bodydrag after 30 minutes would be PROFICIENT at most of the above.”

Richard M.
Malibu Kitesurfing - since 2002
(310) - 430 - KITE (5483)
http://www.MalibuKitesurfing.NET
kfRichard@MalibuKitesurfing.NET


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:51 pm 
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Related to the subject of "board leashes" and "teaching":

HERE COME THE BOOMERS

Baby Boomers, that is... and I believe that there will be a large number of these elderly (over 65, let's say), who have worked hard, raised families, and in general consist of a cohort who have "delayed gratification" of fun activities. A lot of these elderly folks will be looking for a healthy recreational hobby. Kiteboarding is a perfect answer... since once you learn how to do it, the activity is kind of like sitting in a 'Lazyboy recliner', where you go out and 'mow-the-lawn', doing nothing extreme... just enjoying the outdoor experience... and they will gravitate to the activity of kiteboarding, especially since it will satisfy their 'extreme' desire to do something with their grand children and adult children.

These elderly people will probably be in good enough shape to kiteboard in a conservative manner, but will realize that they have lost their stamina, along with some balance, quickness of reflex, hearing and vision acuity, as a result of the normal aging process. Near the end of their session on the water, their strength will be sapped, and they will quickly realize that having a board on a board leash, will solve the problem of becoming exhausted while dragging back to the board.

They are going to use board leashes.

It might be worth starting a separate thread, discussing the special problems, that this group of people will present to kiteboard instructors, and younger kiters, in general.

This "graying" phenomenon of "activity aging" happened with windsurfing... it is now happening with Kiteboarding.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:37 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Ireland
RichardM wrote:
First, you should be commended for your perseverance and willingness to spend a large sum on lessons (unless the boat lessons of which you complain were very cheap). Also for purchasing equipment so that you could put in the time to PRACTICE and develop “...relatively good kite skills.

However, it’s too bad you’re in Ireland because if you were anywhere near LA, I’d pay you $500 to teach me how to consistently “...efficiently bodydrag upwind to recover my board in one tack after a TYPICAL wipeout where it ends up AT LEAST 15 feet behind. I also won’t mind if I can’t learn this in “.... less than 10min ". Even people much more proficient than me are usually seen making more than ONE tack to recover a board that may have started out only being 5 feet behind them.

Also, since you “...believe a good instructor with a right approach can teach anyone to bodydrag to quickly recover a board in about 15-30min.” , I’d appreciate it if you’d explain which parts of our typical bodydragging lesson described below are unnecessary.

Additionally, it’s ALSO important to know HOW MUCH TIME AND MONEY I should expect my students to have spent PRIOR to this body dragging lesson since the results you claim are possible is conditional upon the student ALREADY having “...relatively good kite skills.” Please include ALL prior lesson and equipment costs and ALL prior lesson and (I assume) practice time.


Hi Richard,

Sorry I perhaps have trouble in clearly expressing my thoughts, although I've been living in Ireland for over a decade now, English isn't my first language...

I prepaid a package of kite lessons and purposely went to a kite destination to learn everything from the scratch. By any means it wasn't cheap! It's a network of kiteschools with kite centres in different locations all over the world and they had and have a very good reputation.

I really hope the standard of instruction I got is the thing of the past as I learnt absolutely nothing and when I think about it now my blood almost boils. I really had no choice but to try again... otherwise I would be either divorced now or spending no time with hubby at all or possibly we actually would had to break the engagement! ;-) Kitesurfing isn't only a sport, it's a very addictive lifestyle!

I don't think nor suggest anyone should or could learn to bodydrag in 10 minutes. I was talking about bodydragging back to your board... The pre requirement being the skill of a good kite control while in the water of course, that would include bodydragging lessons.
And of course all of the above requires time and practice!

I'm not an instructor, nor super flash kitesurfer and I don't mean to upset nor offence anyone.
This is quite difficult subject as in my opinion learning how to safely kitesurf takes a while and lots of practise, obviously to save on the cost most students would choose to learn as fast as only possible...
But I will stand by what I said before - if there was an international and compulsory requirement of NOT USING a kiteboard leash during any type of instruction, frustrated (and sometimes lazy) students wouldn't have an option of ditching schools not using leashes for instructors who will happily provide them. If any student thinks kitesurfing is that easy, it's obviously not a right sport for them and they should/could be already flagged as a potential risk and danger to themselves and others. No instructor or centre would have to worry that if they don't provide kiteboard leashes to students they will loose customers.

K

P.S. Richard - I don't get it always in one tack, but most of the time I do :-) I suppose I don't wipe out as hard as you do, I'm too chicken to try those fancy moves! ;-)


Last edited by Kite Kasia on Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 11:56 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Wimbledon, UK
Ah, Richard..you nit-pick my friend. I actually apologised to you for taking what could be construed as an 'opposite side' primarily because I understand and accept your p.o.v. I also agreed with you insofar as a leash does save time when you are learning (and thereafter if one chooses to continue using a leash). You want to pay me 50 bucks to prove something, the next poster $500 for proving or disproving something else. Why are you so on the defensive man? OK, so you do teach people to body drag upwind (mea culpa).Just don't use leashes in your lessons. It's wrong, unnecessary, dangerous and ultimately does your paying patrons a disservice.


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 Post subject: Re: beginner death in france, detailed by the teacher.
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:38 am 
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Location: Ford Lake, Michigan
tomatkins wrote:
HERE COME THE BOOMERS


Old people do not try new things. They do the things they already know. I know it looks good in a mountain dew commercial to see granny snowboard down the mountain . . . but . . . if old folks are not even willing to put the 3 days in to switch from skis over to a snowboard what are the odds they will put in the month for kiteboarding. Maybe 1 in a 100. Not happening. There is no stampede of olds.

What the olds will do, is go out and buy themselves a nice little sunfish or if they have more money, a 30 foot sloop, or perhaps even a yatch. That's what the olds do when it gets windy, not kiteboarding. (present company excepted -- if you are an olds and kiting you are 1 in a 100).


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