Max is 6 years old and a very talented kiter and wakeboarder. His father Valentin told us how he teaches kiteboarding to his son. Furthermore he gives some tips to other parents how to encourage getting their kids into the sport.
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“Max started out with wakeboarding and he was already quite comfortable with the board when he started with the kite. Like this they can forget about the board and focus on kite handling. The Flysurfer Viron is a very forgiving kite and it took only 10-15 minutes of beach and body dragging sessions to bring him to the point where he got on the board and then quickly went further and further. We chose to follow Max with a boat in the deep water to make him feel secure and give him a lift upwind when needed. Tips for other parents: invest plenty of patience for the first steps and make it playful for the kid(s) with no pressure! They may start with just a few minutes of kite handling first and then try again another time. Get the special kids sizes for both wakeboarding and kiting. It makes a big difference! It appears kids can pick up wakeboarding from 3 or 4 years already, about the same age they can start to ski and swim. Once they can comprehend procedures like quick release they can start to play with a kite under supervision.
We used a Viron 6m DLX for Max who weighs 30kg for winds from 14-18 knots. The board is a 115cm EPIC kids board.”
The way you did this being offshore and no other kiters, and with boat to be able to assist quickly is really safe way....anything goes wrong you can catch him fast in boat.
been thinking this over for a few years, i have an 8 year old. He is asking me now to learn how to kite, and i have made it a point to not ask him if he wants to learn . Ive been kiting 12 years and am 50+.
I have taught him a few things when he expresses interest in doing it: He's flown a stunt kite 5-6 times and Last summer he was flying my 2 line 1m stunt kite with a bar in 10ms and he can land it to me in window edge and launch it from me at window edge. He was aggressivly diving kite into power zone and doing figure 8s. He was comfortable and having fun. He is SUPing with me i ocean, done a few light downwinders too and has done some surfing on small waves with my help in Portugal. When he was 4-5-6 i was pulling him around on a mini soft surfboard without fins. He would hold onto a kite bar that had a long line that i ran with in shallow water. He was edging and turning board back then. He loves tubing behind a boat the few times we have been able to do that. He still can only swim 100 meters in deep water and needs time to do it.
I dont have a boat or anyone that can help me. ( the wife is like- go ahead and teach him but keep me out of it ).
I do live in an area with big areas of shallow water, biggest problem being other kiters. Wind is generally side on or onshore.
Some problems i foresee to get him up on real 4 line kite and eventually on the board: 1. its a long slog out thru 50-60cm water for a 135cm boy. gotta walk out to get off shore. 2. I'm worried if he is hooked in he might lose control or loop kite and get dragged under water a bit away from me and it could take many minutes to slog over to him running in water. 3. id prefer to teach him using a kite that he is not hooked to, teach him to use his arms. If he get in trouble he can just drop the bar and the kite can deploy to a single line leash. No need to learn about depowering.
Any suggestions on a good kite kite i can use in Unhooked mode? Dont want to spend a lot of money.
Only way i can see it working for me is to get a Waverunner. That way i could go out off shore or long way away from other kiters- anchor the Waverunner, set up the kite and get it lauched- get the boy going and then follow on waverunner. If he gets in trouble- jump off the waverunner and help. Big problem then is the 15k usd for waverunner, hassle to launch it and take care of it, and then i bet the boy will only want to rip around on the waverunner......
My problem with the Viron 6m DLX are these quotes from the manual:
Your kite is built for kiters who have a weight of min. 40 kg and max. 120kg. I f you weight less than 40 Kg the Quick-Release might be too hard to open.
Quick -Release Warnings : • The Flysurfer Quick-Release is guaranteed for a R ider weight range from 40kg to 120kg (88 lbs - 265lbs). For lighter or heavier riders we cannot guarantee its proper functioning!
My 6 year old son is only 20.5 kg. The growth chart lists 32 kg as he 99.9 percentile for 6 year old boys.
That's why I decided to get an Ozone Ignition. I can take him out in a shallow bay with on shore winds and launch the kite for him. If the kite hits the water it will sink so I don't have to worry, and he wont be attached.
You should check the JUNIOR PRO 4, the JUNIOR PRO BOARD twin tip, the KIDS HARNESS, and the KIDS BAR from EpicKites that my 9 year old Cameron Maramenides came up with for the kids. Now he is 11 years old and he is responsible for the Kids Program. Cameron started to kite on his own when he was 5 years old. www.epickites.com
This is a video of the 2011 KIDS BAR. We are working on the (4G) KIDS BAR video as we speak.
Looking at your gear, a 4m kite, bar and harness (epic harness XS?) is about 1000 usd. Dollar is so weak against our swedish money this is not totally out of reach, given that the boy stays with it. Really think the bar is important and you got that right.
I have a 120 x 38 board with soft flex that i can adjust stance width- it would probably work good.
My concern is getting him hooked in, but i guess this is the next step, out in shallow water, hooked in and doing some launching, landing and body dragging.