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 Post subject: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:44 pm 
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Hey Guys,

I wanna tell you about my first Kitesurf experience in South Africa.

I have been ‘Kitesurfing’ for nearly 1 year now. I have taken a beginners course in Combuco, Brazil one year ago but just made it to a crappy water start. Unfortunately I have not been practicing much since then. So I decided give it another shot with a beginners course, in order to be able to ride properly…I decided to go to South Africa, known as the top spot for kitesurfers. I was searching the net to find a kitesurf school and ended up at Kitekahunas, Sunset Beach.

What I really liked was that it is a kitesurfing school and a guest house at the same time. I was staying in one of their apartments. The instructors are also staying directly in the house. The Beach house is literally only a few meters from the beach. It includes an epic view on Table Mountain.

As a beginner I was not able to handle the waves at our home spot, as I was used to flat water conditions from Brazil. I took the beginners course including the follow up B course. Most of the times we went to Langebaan, for flat water conditions. On the days we went to Langebaan, we had wind of about 14-16 knots, so I was flying a 9m² kite.

The follow up B course helped me a lot. In the first two days of the follow up course I still was struggling with my water start and staying on the board, but the longer I was on the board, the more confident I became. After the 3rd day we started with longer downwind riding and then after 6 days I already managed to ride upwind!! At first with some difficulties, but I got better.

We used radio communication whilst we were on the water, so Maik, my instructor at Kitekahunas, could give me advice whilst I was riding. This, I think was a great help.

Next to the use of radios, we did theoretical lessons, including video training, when the wind dropped. Good prep for the next days.

Altogether I can say that I was happy with Kitekahunas, especially with Maik, my instructor.

I had great fun at Kitekahunas and can recommend it to people who seriously want to learn this sport. I never thought that I’d make it riding upwind, but the guys at Kitekahunas managed to get me riding ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:30 am 
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That's funny, the first thing I wondered to myself was, "how the Hell does this guy learn to kite in those waves and that frigid water temperature?" But of course you went to langebaan.

Why not just use a school in langebaan if you are a beginner? I'm taking my girlfriend directly there and she is a little bit more advanced then you are. We will do 4 days there before heading back to CPT. If she can't handle the waves and chop by then I'll tell her to go shopping.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:37 am 
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Yes, we went to Langebaan for the beginners course on day two and day three. After I managed to waterstart, we stayed at Sunset Beach, at Kitekahunas. Langebaan is totally useless for beginners who are practicing riding, as you need to be able to stay upwind in Langebaan (otherwise you will get blown on the big lagoon). What is perfect about Sunset Beach is that I didn’t need to worry about staying upwind. We had a long beach, so we mostly went downwind for 2-3 Km. When we stopped, the Kitekahunas bus picked us up.
But true, the water in Langebaan is warm as a childrens paddle pond ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:15 am 
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The beach near Pearly's seems to be better suited towards riders that can stay up wind but I wouldn't say I remember it being "useless." The beach was pretty flat and empty and could be walked up easily enough.

Sharks Bay (which is the southern part of the lagoon) is flat and shallow. It seemed to be a great place to learn from what I recall. Did you make it out there?

So you felt comfortable on kite beach once you could water start? That's good to know. I'm really hoping that the Mrs. won't be overwhelmed there after I let her play around in Langebaan for a few days.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:33 pm 
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The mysterious Michael Eriks with only two posts ever and both on this topic ... hmmm someone associated with kitekahunas who's signed up for a new account just to spam the forum with shameless self promotion??! Make your own decisions on that one!

A more objective assessment of the school is in this post:
http://www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=2362491

And on the topic of Sunset vs Langabaan... Sunset Beach not only has an awkward beach break but also gets deep almost immediately - it isn't at all beginner friendly. Langabaan is waaaaaaay better for beginners.

All the people on my course were actually all very experienced riders and despite us consistently requesting (including offering to drive up there in our own cars so it wouldn't cost KiteKahunas anything) to go to Langabaan for a shallow flat water setting that's more conducive to learning new tricks, they refused because they couldn't be bothered to drive up there.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:03 am 
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Here is some official remark from KITEKAHUNAS Advanced Kitesurfing School:

First, thanks Mike for your report on your kitesurfing course with us.
Then there seem to be some misconceptions about where kitesurfing beginners can best learn in and around Cape Town. Our view, after teaching dozens of beginners successfully with our 2-3 weeks A+B courses, with more than 90% success rate to make them real, independent kitesurfers including riding upwind during their course A+B:

1. Langebaan hosts two great freestyle spots, as ChickenTikka correctly writes. In Shark Bay you can stand and both spots have flat water, sometime choppy. We make use of these spots for day 2 and day 3 of the beginner IKO course. Up to water start level.

2. After the student manages to perform a water start, we do not go to Langebaan any more, because students cannot really learn riding successfully there. This is for the following reasons: In Shark Bay they would simply "slalom" through the other beginners in the water, practicing kite flying skills, bodydragging and waterstarts. This would be too dangerous and finally they would end up in the windhole next to the hill - and would have to walk back through the water. Way to strenous. On Main Beach, you can go downwind for about 500m, but then would have to walk back on the very busy beach, often lined up with lots of hostile fishermen. Also sun tanning people and children. Also there are tricky currents.

3. Therefore, we make use of the Kitekahunas developed teaching method to become a comfortable rider, including basic transitions and riding upwind. We do this on "slow downwinders" starting directly at the Kitekahunas Beach House on Sunset Beach. Our beginners bodydrag through the shore break first. Then they practice in the deep water, not bothered by any waves. They can do this for about 1-2 hours, till they are tired and then they come back to the beach. The instructors are with them on the water. Out minibus brings them back.

4. With this teaching method, our beginners mostly ride comfortably within 2-3 days after their first water start, and they ride successfully upwind after 5-8 days of practicing - simply because they have more than 60-90 minutes net board time every day - and not 2 hours "walk upwind time" like they would have in Langebaan (with only 5 minutes net board time per day).

So far our practical experience over the last 3 seasons. This is why kitesurfers who want to learn riding upwind within a week or two come to Kitekahunas and we have more than 90% sucess rate with this.

The Kitekahunas Team


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Location: Bombay, India
Just got back from Cape Town with the girlfriend. At the start of the vacation she was already able to get up on the board and plane a bit. But still not 100 percent nor anywhere near ready to go up wind. Not consistent enough (aborted water starts, with occasional crashes, takes forever to get the board on etc, not adept at body dragging back to board) nor did she have the correct stance.

Day 1 Pearlys: She was all right in pearly's although somewhat offshore wind was troubling for her when she had trouble relaunching. I had to kite out to her once and another time a hobit cat picked her up. Beause it is deep she headed downwind while in the water quite quickly which was a bit annoying. No chance she'll get up wind in those conditions. Also we lost a board because you safety freaks convinced me that she doesn't need a leash. Well, you were wrong. I made her buy a helmet and gave her the leash and it was the best decision I made the whole trip.

Days 2-4 Shark Bay: She was very comfortable here. However, to avoid the other beginners, the mountain windhole, fishermen, etc, I kited the kite way upwind and had her meet me there and basically had her kite between the two big sandbars there. She could then kite back and forth downwind relatively slowly. Because the bay is shallow she didn't drift downwind. She also could walk upwind when she had headed downwind. By the end of day 4 she started to go up wind although perhaps she would have a hard time accomplishing this in deep water/high wind environment. She overall made huge progress there.

Day 5 Kite Beach: The girlfriend didn't want anything to do with the ice cold water and massive shore break on kite beach (think that is what it is called, it has the ship wreck on it). I didn't waste time arguing with her or try and convince her that she should just soldier through the shore break and body drag out a bit and then do a downwinder where some friendly person would eventually help her land her kite. Nope, wasn't gonna try and convince a girl to do that one bit, especially one I am dating. So what did I do? Had her launch me, and gave her the car keys. "Go to the mall and do some shopping, baby."

True Story about Fishermen I had a fisherman hook one of my steering lines while I was turning around at pearlys. He must have been at least 20 meters away. I assume he did it intentionally, because it couldn't have been easy to get me. I had to quick release the kite as it started to loop. So watch out for those afrikaaner fishermen.

My Unprofessional Advice: If you are learning with a school you can probably go wherever they say you should go. They will take care of you no matter what happens. I think your learning curve is best in shark bay but as long as the instructor is there for you then it shouldn't matter too much.

If you are on your own I'd go with shark bay as well. This is primarily because the water is warm. If you are just starting out at kiting I think a frustrating day of freezing temperatures getting pounded by big waves on kitebeach is enough to make you quit the sport unless you are an adrenalin freak like myself. However, if you like yourself, then you won't want to do this to yourself or to your loved ones.

If you are able to get on the board and zig zag fairly efficiently but are not yet going upwind then I would consider going to one of the cape town beaches like kite beach but not until then. If you are like my girlfriend and do not have this basic riding skill from other sports (like snowboarding) then you will be hopeless to learn it in such wavy andrough conditions and should give yourself time somewhere warm and shallow like shark bay (or better yet egypt).


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:31 pm 
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We regrettably took a 2 week advanced kite surf course at Kitekahunas.

We selected Kitekahunas because:
1. Of their professional outlook and good teaching methods (as advertised on their website).
2. They committed to providing an instructor between 2 people.
3. They take you to all the best spots in and around Cape Town.
4. They have good quality accommodation.

Unfortunately from the list above we only experienced the good quality accommodation.
The course started with a meeting to talk about our abilities and objectives for the course (a professional start). However that soon changed when the tuition started.

All students are taught together, regardless of their ability and on the same radio channel, which means that the radio feedback to each student is heard by everyone. This can be quite off putting when a beginner is given constant feedback and instructions. Note that the radio headset is a walkie-talkie strapped to the outside of your helmet and only allows communication from the instructors. In our experience the instant feedback on the water did not work, the communication was very infrequent (because our instructor was kiting himself and had to look after the beginners, i.e. getting their board back), and when you didn’t hear there was no way to ask him to repeat (walkie-talkie was only one way). After we provided some advice regarding this, the instructor asked that we kite to the beach for feedback. This didn’t work either as it would take him a while to notice, so you would give up waiting being as he was downwind helping the beginners in the water. In practice we (2 people) only received direct instant feedback on our kiting about 10 times over 5 days.

We were only allowed to kite at Kitekahunas’ local beach. Sunset beach is a wave spot and gustier than a lot of the other nearby spots, which made it very challenging for learning. Even the beginners had to battle the waves and conditions. We asked a number of times to be taken to a more favourable location where the conditions would be more forgiving for learning but the response was that if you can do the trick here you’ll be able to do it anywhere.

Other facts that might be of interest:
• We didn’t get the one instructor between 2 as promised.
• On a down winder in really high winds one of the instructors drove his kite between my lines whilst showing me a trick this resulted in over £120 of damage to my kite – no apology or financial re-imbursement was provided and I even had to walk back to the kite school whilst the other instructors had a lift in the van.
• We always had to kite at time that suited, Wolf the school director, which meant we missed some of the best wind conditions.
• When the instructors wanted to get out on the water, safety was not a concern.
• The video analysis didn’t have any footage of me (only my husband).
• On one occasion Wolf, the school director, rudely told us to hurry up out of our wetsuits because he was cold. After some constructive feedback to him he told us to F**K off.

We approached Wolf, the school director, a number of times to rectify the issues but after a week we saw no signs of improvement. On two occasions he told us to f_ck off if we didn’t like the way they managed their courses. In the end we decided not to complete our course at Kitehaunas because we felt that their approach was limiting our learning and enjoyment of our honeymoon.
After requesting a refund based on the grounds that “the service is not as described” he wrote back.....
“You criticise our teaching methodologies. These have been developed by professional sports teachers and qualified instructors over year by testing various methods in practical tests. If you think you know better, you should operate your own kitesurfing school. But as discussed with you, we do not agree with any of your points.
Regarding your "further action": Should you plan to publish any negative comments about our school, possibly under the coverage of anonymity, we will vigorously counter this, reveal in particular your identity, warn the kite industry and stations around the world about you, and also we may take legal action for libelling.”

Our personal view is that Wolf is a slick business man who will entice you onto his courses with some great marketing, but unfortunately he doesn’t deliver because his heart isn’t with the customer but more with his own personal interests.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:29 pm
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Oh boy, this is about to get ugly.

First a side note:

Bummer, I also had my lines broke by an instructor from one of the major schools in Langebaan (not kitekahunas). This happened when the guy suddenly performed a backloop transition without looking back to see that I was there. He did it quickly enough that there was no place for me to put my kite so we tangled and my lines snapped.

He did apologize but that was it. I was a bit surprised by this; if I broke someone's line because of my f*ck up and I was running a school/business I would certainly get those lines fixed for the guy just to avoid damaging my school's reputation - obviously any kiteschool operates on the goodwill of the beaches they use. Thanks Bru!

Now Back To Sunset beach and Cape Town
Assuming even 1% of Loupeylou's story is accurate I think this is pretty good testimony to why you are better off going to Langebaan or someplace else (like egypt) if you are not already a fairly accomplished kiter. This has nothing to do with the service that Kitekahuna's may or may not provide, but everything to do with that whole Cape Town coast being not particularly conducive to early stage learning: Cold, wavey, shorebreaky, strong current, filled with lots and lots of kiters that are trying to catch waves and therefore have to be much more aggressive and less forgiving about right of way. I've been kiting steadily now for a year and a half and found kite beach to be challenging even at my advanced intermediate level. At this point I've kited on four continents and over 10 countries in all sorts of weather and conditions and this was still some of the more intense stuff that I've done.

I would also add that the same can probably be said for a lot of other big kiting destinations. Tarifa, Spain or Mui Ne, Vietnam are two destinations that come to mind as great kiting spots that are pretty terrible places to learn to kite in my opinion. I'm sure there are many others like this.

I can definitely appreciate that once you can kite or do a trick in Cape Town's big surf and waves you can do it anywhere, but I think that's still a bit unnecessary for learning. For example, I didn't try doing any unhooked stuff on kitebeach last week, it was enough just to try and catch waves and avoid the various obstacles and kitesurfers to keep me challenged/entertained. I didn't get around to throwing many tricks and did nothing new there. The best place for trying new stuff for me has always been someplace with boring flat water and a relatively small area so I get bored easily and half to focus on repetitively practicing the same trick until I learn it.

I'd be curious to know what your level was Loupeylou and what type of stuff you went there to learn?

That's really too bad that you didn't get decent video. I think instant video feedback is really helpful for me to learn. For this, I have a waterproof point and shoot camera that I have my girlfriend use to take video of me when I try something new. This is really helpful as I can see immediately where I'm fing up.

Other than that the PROGRESSION DVDs are all I've ever used and I can't say that I haven't been able to master anything I've tried in those DVDs so far - I'm now on the advanced DVD. They go into painstaking detail on everything and they can be purchased for a lot less then these courses and watched on your ipad or dvd player. Big plug there!

Finally, i think it must be tough to run a decent kiteschool. I really don't think there is too much that these guys can do for you, no matter how good their walkie talkie systems/ video systems are or even student/instructor ratio. Most of this has to come from the kiter and how hard and fast the kiter pushes themself and also weather conditions. If you have to sit around and wait for an instructor to help you get better then you are gonna be learning pretty slow as it is no matter what. I never have patience for that. The instructor is just trying to make a living and frankly, I don't blame them for trying to take on extra students, but I also wouldn't waste my money on a 2 week course unless I was damn sure ahead of time that it would be constructive for me and my level of kiting and objectives. Also, i definitely wouldn't put up all the money upfront, that's just good business.


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 Post subject: Re: Sunset Beach Cape Town, Kitekahunas – Kitesurfschool
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:11 am 
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Also refer to link ......
viewtopic.php?f=83&t=2374726


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