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Should kiting be for everyone?

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Starsky
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Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby Starsky » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:34 pm

Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students.

In no way is this an attempt at elitism. Its a legitimate question. Should there be a minimum standard for fitness, swimming ability, environmental assessment, etc. Like prerequisites that any school must screen for before starting into lessons. As simple as a swim test in a pool or at the beach, and a quick little written test on the basics of wind, weather, safety and the mechanics of sailing. Nothing ridiculous. The sport is accessible to the vast majority of people, but there really are the clueless who should not do things like ride motocycles, or get in a whitewater kayak. Should it be done at the school level. If instructors want to improve safety in the sport I think this is the kind of initiative that accomplishes more than a bigger brighter safety release.

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby Tone » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:50 pm

Starsky wrote:Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students.

In no way is this an attempt at elitism. Its a legitimate question. Should there be a minimum standard for fitness, swimming ability, environmental assessment, etc. Like prerequisites that any school must screen for before starting into lessons. As simple as a swim test in a pool or at the beach, and a quick little written test on the basics of wind, weather, safety and the mechanics of sailing. Nothing ridiculous. The sport is accessible to the vast majority of people, but there really are the clueless who should not do things like ride motocycles, or get in a whitewater kayak. Should it be done at the school level. If instructors want to improve safety in the sport I think this is the kind of initiative that accomplishes more than a bigger brighter safety release.


I think the majority of the kiting community are pretty clued up, though saying that, 51% is also a majority.

I think if you are the sort of person who park their car using the Braille method or the guy who always has an injury from being clumsy then kiting isn't for you. I came from windsurfing, whitewater kayaking, sailing and mountain biking and on the whole I have not hurt myself kiting, well not seriously. I learnt about the weather at a young age (had to when you learn to sail and end up teaching sailing) and I think that gives you insight that really does let you assess a given day and lead you to make the correct decision about what you're going to ride etc.

I am pulling this statement out of thin air a bit but I do think that a lot of serious injuries come down to not reading the conditions right. I know of the ones I have seen take place, all but one was caused by the rider not reading what the sky was doing or not feeling comfortable asking someone for advice.

I've been a pain in the ass to people in the past and sometimes, on reflection I shouldn't have butted in but a number of times telling someone they are adding serious risk to their session by planning to launch the kite they thought was the right size. e.g. I come in on a 7m, fully stacked and I see a guy launching his girlfriend on a 9m...

Tony

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edt
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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby edt » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:03 pm

Starsky wrote:Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students.


no.

kiteboarding is really hard. students that are unsuitable drop out and buy boats

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby William Munney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:17 pm

edt wrote:
Starsky wrote:Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students.


no.

kiteboarding is really hard. students that are unsuitable drop out and buy boats


I wonder what percentage go on to become regulars. I would say it's pretty small judging by the number of lessons given and the small number of kiters out riding.

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby balugh » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:40 pm

Surely the dangerous ones are not those getting lessons but the ones that buy cheap...old...kit off eBay and turn up at the beach the next really windy day...because you must need lots of wind to get that death machine into the air. The clueless ones getting lessons go slower...and either eventually learn through sheer determination....or drop out. Sometimes they give up on the lessons and still rock up with eBay specials...but that's pretty rare in my experience...and how can a school be responsible for weeding them out. If we go qualifications...licensing...etc the sport is going to get more expensive for core users and...I think....the nutters are still going to rock up at the beach regardless...

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby POACHER » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:54 pm

Starsky wrote:Do lesson programs have a duty to weed out unsuitable students..


Yes. I hope they do.

quick boring story:
I decided I would start doing wakeboarding lessons to earn some extra cash while working summers at a ski shop. Well...........it was the beginning and ending all in the same day. It was the worst. My first guy was a 5'4" 245 pound twit that not only couldn't swim, but was deathly afraid of the water. I mean I've seen cats react better to water than him. He had zero strength, whined like a 5 year old and wouldn't listen to anything I tried to tell him. It was beyond terrible...Oh, and the best part - at the end of the lesson he said he was disappointed that I couldn't get him up and going.
I don't mean to sound callous, but this guy had no business even trying watersports. Um hello.....you aren't comfortable with water, why would you think wakeboarding (or any WATERsport) would be ok?

So my hat is off to anyone that is a kiteboard instructor. I mean really you guys/gals EARN your check. Kiting is 100 times more difficult/intimidating than wakeboarding. How the hell do you pull it off day after day? I'm sure everyone isn't as bad as the screw ball I had, but I'll bet you get everything from cocky D-bags to overweight kooks that think "That looks easy!"

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby kazi » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:06 pm

I'm pretty much self taught, even though I had two lessons. Both lessons came with buying a new quiver of kites and both were pretty much worthless, as they consisted of "here...I'll show you what to do" as I watch them sail off into the distance with my gear.

I'm friendly but not super social and have a hard time asking for help. I think people progress faster and safer when they have better social skills.

That said I think the sport weeds people out all on it's own. Because of my experience I consider myself an amazing, attentive and safe instructor. Of the friends and family who expressed major interest in learning to kite and that I've taken out and got them to the point of body dragging up wind, exactly none of them have stuck with it past that point (I'm not buying them their damn gear, driving them to the beach, blowing up their kite and sending them off on their merry way).

Kiting looks awesome so there is allot of interest expressed but far fewer that stick with it thru the spaghetti-d lines, skunked sessions or occasional kite mare (we've all had em).

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby jats2k9 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:29 pm

In a phrase, " Kitesurfing is not the would-like-to-do kind of sport. You must want to do it and truly commit."

Besides all of what you guys have already mentioned, add on top the chasing of the right conditions, the wind, the spot, the continiously forcast checking, and the willingness to pass out on any other activity that takes place during your free time because is windy and you want to get on the water.
That really cast out the ones that do it because it's cool from the ones that are here to stay.

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby Flyboy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:52 pm

My preparation was the years of frustration & humiliation involved in learning to windsurf well. After that experience, the difficulty in learning to kitesurf wasn't that bad, but most people have never tried a "difficult" sport. There are lots of sports that are easy to do badly (like golf) but very hard to do well. Kitesurfing is a sport that is (relatively) hard to do at all. The majority of people are not up to the basic athleticism & commitment required.

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Re: Should kiting be for everyone?

Postby dazarter » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:32 pm

Yes kiting should be for everyone! if your fat thin ugly or look like clooney, you don't have to be fit at all to kite! especially on the coast, just pump up the kite someone launches it you cruise around, easy as pie! where the problems start are when you get in deep water, in gusty lakes, near trees and big rocks around boats, in shallow water (20 cms). Kiting where the winds are constant makes kiting really easy, here on the baltic oscean and on the local lakes makes kiting a real challenge and quite dangerous. A friend once told me he kites because its fun and does running and mountain bike to stay fit!

It all depends what you do with your kite, it you want to do air style like toby you have to invest a lot of time in the sport, to cruise around on a sunday afternoon its easy….of coarse you have to be able to swim... :o ,

From my side the first steps in kiting are annoying, but once over the first runs its just gets better and better…..like all sports, i used to ride professionally mountain bikes and could still bet nearly all my mates who thing they are fit….without training.

I would not say that old people should not ride bikes because they are fat and slow, it does not matter one bit how fast you go.

I notice here in Germany that the age of kite surfers is quite high, a friend is also doing a caurse soon because he is fed up with windsurfing but stayed away because he thought he was too old, on the beach the other day the average age was about 40 years old with a lot of kiters in the 60's.

What I'm saying is why bother to write such threads, people are people, let the big mouths try the sport out. It takes all sorts, some die , most don't :) , happens in all sport (a lot more people die riding bikes….)

So lets concentrate on the safest kite systems first, let the idoits do what they want (they do anyway!) the better the safety system the more chance for less fatalities, the bow and modern kites have gone along away to help us all progress better and faster without the extreme danger!


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