I have written down a checklist of the skills needed before kitesurfing in waves... Please comment if there is something that I forgot to mention.
1) Swim – unless wearing a PFD
Are you comfortable swimming in the ocean with waves crashing on your head while your kite is dragging you? Most people are not. Wear a PFD!
2) Deepwater Self Rescue
You are all alone… Can you FLAG your kite and wrap your lines? Grab the bridle folding the wingtip and sail back to shore?
3) Upwind/Downwind body drag & duck dive Are you proficient at body dragging while ducking under the waves before they slap your face? Try it without your board before going out. Never allow a wave to push you towards your kite and slack the lines* keep it powered!
4) Relaunch procedure in waves
Let go of the bar before you stall the kite, keep some line tension and swim with the waves if the kite is pulling you under.
5) Able to fall while keeping the kite in the sky
Send it to 12 when you fall and extend your arms or just let go.
6) Change directions quickly
Slide, hop, pivot, whatever… You gotta be able to turn on a dime!
Do not let the kite fall out of the sky… A quick downloop will put your kite right back in the power zone. Downlooping makes for a stylish S-turn and a quick waterstart as well.
Waterstart & Ride downwind
You’ve got to get speed asap or the shorebreak will crunch you! Point your board towards your kite and get moving so you can ollie over the whitewater.
9) Jump or Chop Hop
Speed is your friend… don’t slow down and chop hop over little waves. Send it and jump over the bigger ones landing downwind keeping your speed.
10) Understand wave conditions & currents
Talk to the locals + be cool to surfers
11) Right of Way in surf
The dude on the wave has the ROW and generally* he is going to turn downwind to ride the wave, so keep clear.
12) Emergency plan/kite release protocol
What if the wind dies or turns offshore? What if the kite is getting pummeled in the waves? There are many different scenarios, but you need a plan for each! Listen and learn from others mistakes and kitemares!
NEVER do the following on a public beach or when kiting in the surf
- Never launch or land your kite with beachgoers less than 50m downwind of you
- Never fly your kite over non kiters heads
- Never ask some random person to catch your kite
- Never kite in between swimmers or surfers
- Never jump upwind of surfers
- Never kite out farther than you can swim
- Never catch a wave someone is already riding
SKILLS TO LEARN
- S turns
- High Speed Carves
- Wave Slash
- Boosting off Waves
- Air Transistions
- Directional Skills
- Jibes & Tacks