Posts Tagged ‘kitesurfing’

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What level of kitesurfing are you at, and do you need lessons?

May 4, 2009

Kitesurfing, as you well know, is an extreme sport and a  mixture of paragliding, wakeboarding, surfing and windsurfing, so it appeals to a really large target group. All you need is a board that is just two metres long and weighs between 3 and 5 kilos, a kite that folds up to rucksack size, and a control bar and kite lines.

Whatever you do, don’t try kitesurfing via the “do it yourself” approach. It’s absolutely essential to take part in a course in order to be aware of the potential dangers – and above all to know how to cope with them. Be smart and get taught properly! A kite that’s out of control is a danger to people on the beach as well as to the pilot.

So, you’re thinking of giving it a go? Maybe for the first time, or just wanting to improve your technique, so… how to you classify your level?

Which Kitesurfing level are you?

Kitesurfing level 0 – New Kiter
You are totally new to kitesports (power and sport) or you are currently training with smaller power kites along with a kite control class and/or DVD.

Kitesurfing level 1 – Novice Flyer
You just learned the ropes and can properly set up and launch with assistance. You’re body dragging with control and are now working on smooth starts & riding skills. This is where most students are after their first “on-the-board” lesson.

Kitesurfing level 2 – Intermediate Pilot
You’re up and riding, though may be stopping during direction changes. Staying upwind is not your goal as you’re probably focused on keeping your kite stabilized in the air, and out of the water.

Kitesurfing level 3 – Advanced Rider
Making basic turns and riding in both directions is comfortable. You’re staying upwind more and are experimenting with different power techniques. “Water launch fear” is behind you as you might be trying your first jumps.

Kitesurfing level 4 – Progressive Kiteboarder
Staying upwind is second nature. You’re actively jumping, landing and working on specific tricks. Your kite rarely crashes and you have mastered basic techniques. You are now addicted and have become an avid wind chaser.

Taking courses is highly advisable when learning to kitesurf as it can be extremely dangerous.

People skipping basic kite control training (Level 0) significantly increase their kiteboarding learning curve. Stats show those who skip kite control average a 10% success rate only. Those students taking an introduction course and mastering the simulation exercises show a 90% success rate. Remember, success is defined as being able to get up on a kiteboard and sustaining a short distance ride.

People skipping the safety & rigging course significantly increase their risk of injury. Stats show those who skip kite control average a 98% error rate. Those students mastering proper rigging and safety techniques show only a 2% error rate. Error rate is defined as a students needing assistance during self-rescue drills.

Those are just a few things to think about. And whilst we’re on the subject of education, we’ll end with some kitesurfing guidelines that you would be wise to take on board too:

  • Always use a safety system that depowers the kite.
  • Always use a kite leash with “Quick Release” device.
  • Stay clear of power lines and overhead obstructions.
  • Select a safe launching site.
  • Always maintain a downwind safety buffer zone.
  • Keep windsurfers outside the power-cone.
  • Maintain a 200 ft clear zone around all divers.
  • Observe all mapped kitesurfing boundaries.
  • Do not lay kite lines across any ones path.
  • Do not launch or land at crowded areas.
  • Always announce you are launching a kite.
  • Give way to all other water users.
  • Incoming kitesurfer gives way to the outgoing kiter.
  • When consideration has been given to the above, normal sailing rules apply.
  • Prevent kites from re-launching with sand.
  • Disable unattended kites.
  • Kite with a friend.
  • America’s beaches, airspace and ocean environment belong to everyone. Keep our beaches safe, clean and free.

We’ll follow this lot up with more in the future. Watch this space….

And to end on a cheerier note, enjoy this video from from nuwakite, and remember – kiteboarding is meant to be fun!

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Kitesurfing – an extreme sport

February 9, 2009

“Rugby? Hikkaduwa Beach Fest? Nah, I’d rather be kitesurfing! It’s extremely addictive and loads of fun. You’re completely free, and the only noise you hear is of the wake coming off the back of your board. It’s just you, the wind and the board,” says Dilsiri Welikala.

Ok, so it’s still only February, and we are still deep in winter with some of the coldest weather still to come – perhaps. But… but but but, spring will be here shortly and we’ll soon be dusting off our kiteboards, untangling the strings and heading to the closest beach.

I know you guys in such exotic places as Montana, New Brunswick,  Idaho, Saskatchewan, Norway, Finland, etc have probably been having a fabulous winter kiting on your broad open plains and frozen lakes, but down here in the south of France we look to the unfrozen Med for our kiting entertainment… and spring is coming closer.

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This is Hyeres where we do most of our kitesurfing, a lovely spot with good wind, a good kite school and lots of windsurfing and scuba diving in the vicinity. Keeps the whole family amused.

But the best places to kitesurf in the world? Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing is attracting novices and athletes from the surfing and windsurfing worlds and people are always on the look out for ‘… the next beach.’

Well, we’ve touched on this subject before and I don’t really think you can say “this is the best…” because it is very much a matter of choice, preference and ease of access, so below I will mention a few far-a-field beaches which might be counted as ‘easy access’ if you happen to be passing that way!

The well known beach of Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain should ring a few bells. It’s famous for its reliable winds and so most visitors to this region are windsurfers and kiters. It’s a great place to learn, but is even better for intermediate and advanced kiters – and the apres-kite life is excellent! Definitely a good place to hang out. The beach starts in town and extends about 6km to the Club Mistral at the Hurricane and then goes round the small headland past Las Dunas to another 8km of sandy beach – all this space ensure that beginners and experts alike have plenty of room – even in the height of summer. However, one drawback… if you are planning to travel between May and October it is imperative to book at least four months ahead due to the limited amount of good accommodation. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Thanks Sarmitel for this wonderful video.

Another place you hear about all the time is Cabarete in the Dominican Republic. It is said to be the most perfect kite surfing destination in the world – quite a claim to fame. In fact, it is so good that many a kitesurfer has moved there in order to be able practice kiting all year round. It also hosts the largest kiteboarding competition in the world – always the third week of June. The main beach has now been officially designated the Cabarete Kite Beach. The reason for its popularity? The trade winds provide a steady consistent easterly wind, which gives Cabarete perfect side-onshore kiting conditions most of the time. In fact the wind is so reliable that you can generally guarantee that there will be no wind until 11a.m. and that this first wind is usually good for beginners. At around 12:30 – 1:30 the thermals kick in and make the wind a lot stronger reaching its strongest at about 4p.m. At around 6 the wind dies off again. If you are holidaying in the Dominican Republic you can bank on the fact that 8 out of 10 days will have good wind. Not bad… and thanks to drtouristtv for this video.

Cape Town has at least 10 wonderful kitesurfing beaches. The consistent wind, great waves and stunning views make Cape Town one of the worlds kitesurfing hotspots. It is one of the best kitesurfing locations in the world, and by far the best kitesurfing location in South Africa. Professional kitesurfers move here between October and March to get in some good practice. Generally the southern peninsula is better suited to more experienced surfers whilst the northern pensinsula favours the intermediate surfers – except for Hakgat which is only for experienced surfers. Langebaan Lagoon is the best spot for beginners as, in contrast with all the other beaches which offer great wave riding and jumping experiences, Langebaan has  some of the best flat water conditions in the world.

Langebaan

Main Beach, New York is just minutes from Napegue, Long Island, and is perfect for ocean riding in any breeze: and the breezes come from nearly every direction – from the west, south-west, south, south-east and easterly directions. Main Beach is a long, golden, clean beach. There is plenty of space and so far no rules…The sandbanks are piled high and the waves are some of the best in New York. There are many sand bars just off-shore which makes for some fun kickers to jump off. It is a 2-hour drive from New York city, but you can find some really challenging and exciting kitesurfing spots. It can get extremely cold in winter though!

Hampton Main Beach

That’s it for today. I’m sure there will be more later…

Just remember, if you are just beginning to learn how to kitesurf  “You need to get over a certain fear point – doing so gives you an adrenaline rush,” so says Mischi Walter – a professional kitesurfing instructor based in Sri Lanka, but he adds “Even children can learn the sport, overseas there are people who are over 70 who are kitesurfing!”

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A little more on kitesurfing…

January 31, 2009

A great kitesurfing video. Amazing what you can get up to! Thanks prayfawind for posting this. Love your pseudonym as well – perfect.

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Kite Surfing in Canada

January 30, 2009

“The potential for kite surfing is mind blowing!”
Don Montague, Naish Sails

Well here we are – back on the subject of kite surfing again. It was kite surfing that originally got us started on this blog. Fast growing and simple to learn, kiting is one of the newest and most rewarding adventure sports out there, but in time the lure of other extreme sports proved too much and we broadened our field somewhat.

however, they still talk of kite surfing being the newest adrenaline sport taking America by storm. Europeans have already been hit hard by the kitesurfing bug. Some say it is the newest water sport of the millenium…

I know, I know – it’s not THAT new. However, it has taken a while to grow in popularity.

“LET’S GO FLY A KITE….” – remember that song? how long is it since you watched Mary Poppins, or did you ever watch Mary Poppins? not that it matters much, it’s just that kites have grown up a bit since those halycon days…

Although it is still mid-winter here, and probably frozen and bitterly cold in Canada – I decided to choose that country, and its wide choice of kitesurfing, kite skiing, kite snowboarding and kite mountainboarding, as my topic on this bright, sunny and crisply cold morning…

Canada has two coasts – the Pacific and the Atlantic, the Great Lakes, and  hundreds of  small lakes which makes Canada the perfect year-round kitesurf playground – despite their extremely cold winters. Remember, if you don’t fancy braving the freezing waters, all  you need do is swap your kiteboard for a snowboard or skies – or even blades to make the most of the frozen lakes and huge areas covered in deep winter snow.

Of course, the fact that canadiantourism dropped a broad hint that I should go and have a look at the following video of kitesurfing in New Brunswick, had something to do with this article too!

Shippagan, on the mainland, and Lameque, an island just off the coast in northern New Brunswick is said to be one of the best kitesurfing locations in Canada. The regular wind, the deep-water lagoon, and the warm water of the Baie des Chaleurs give perfect condtions for learners and keen participators of this sport.

From New Brunswick to Newfoundland … why not?  Would you ever have thought of kitesufing in such cold spots? But you can, and you can also discover the freedom of kite-skiing or kite-snowboarding in total synergy with the wind. Deer Lake, however, is a 50km stretch of water that separates the Upper and Lower sections of the Humber River. It offers some great recreational potential and is often used by canoeists, kayakers, boaters, windsurfers and kiters – beware of errant golf balls from the nearby resort though!

Slowly making our way west, we come to Brittania Bay near Ottowa where you can rely on experiencing this region’s strongest winds. They are generally north-west and this allows for some excellent kiting and surfing. In fact, they have perfect conditions for kite boarders and windsurfers who launch from a special 2nd beach at the end of a long rock pier. The waters are quite shallow on either side of the pier, allowing beginners to wade in shallow water.

We shall now take a rather large step across the interior of Canada and come to another halt in the Rocky Mountains – Canmore, Alberta to be exact. this is the home of kiteboarding, kitesurfing, snow kiteboarding, kite skiing and mountainboarding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They look at the combination of the above sports as a ‘lifestyle’ and are keen that others view them in the same favourable way.

Alberta is perfect for round-the-year kitesurfing. They, too, have  numerous lakes to choose from and lots of windy days during the summer. Kitesurfing in the winter,as you can imagine, is ideal:  miles and miles of snow-covered terrain and if you head up to the ski areas – no need to buy a ski pass.

In my rush across Canada I did rather step over the Saskatchewan. I hope you can picture, in your mind’s eye, the vast acreages that reach out to the horizon in every direction. Now give all this a coat of snow and imagine the fun you can have. And in summer you can exchange your skis or board for all-terrain rollerblades or a mountain board and keep that adrenaline pumping.

There is also Lake Diefenbaker – 125km south of Saskatoon. Lake Diefenbaker is a reservoir shaped like a T with a dam at each end. Water levels change depending on the season and beaches can be big at times making it the perfect place to learn and upgrade your kiteboarding skills. You can come in and land almost anywhere along the 300km shoreline. Diefenbaker is a premiere kiteboarding destination for all levels of kiters and is well worth a trip.

And of course, across on the west coast is British Columbia. Not only do they have the ocean but they also have plenty of inland lakes and reservoirs and, too, the Okanagan valley which is Canada’s California, a beautiful region of fruit trees and lakes. Kitesurfers in BC have a choice of ocean, lake or snow kiting. The world’s their oyster.

Remember that kitesurfing is a unique experience for real adrenaline lovers and people who wish to try something different and exciting!

And just to remind you that this is not a tame sport, watch Sebastien Cattelan break the world speed kitesurfing record on 3rd october 2008, thanks to ikraal for posting it, and congratulations to Sebastien.

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Snowkiting, snowboarding and kitesurfing???

December 20, 2008

Did you read our blog two days ago? … How similar (or otherwise) is snowkiting to kitesurfing on water?

We have shown some classic instances in the past of when one or other (snowboarding and kitesurfing) goes wrong – well, snowkiting is relatively new on our blog and here is another classic … although happily no-one appears injured, and thanks to BUZZZZ101 for posting it.

Although a bit noisy I think you can put it down to fear, concern and relief!

I’ve been into a forum re. this video and the general opinion is that it is genuine – there are no no edits and no sped-up digital moments! Lucky he held on!!!

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How different is SNOW KITING to KITESURFING on water?

December 18, 2008

They say that Snow Kiting is a lot easier to learn than kiteboarding on the water. This relatively new discipline is a combination between snowboarding and kiteboarding.

  • It is easy to stand on snow, which makes the whole process easier.
  • It also takes a lot less wind to drive a board across snow than it does across water.
  • The whole learning experience is a lot less daunting as you need much less power and wind to get you moving.
  • Finally, holding an edge in snow is much easier than in water making up-wind progress much easier to master.

Thanks to bada55ba55 for this video:

It strikes me that one of the best things about snowkiting is that you are not limited by access to mountains and lifts. Wherever there is snow covered terrain – you can kite. A major additional bonus is that, invariably, you will be kiting alone or with friends – but you are unlikely to be kiting with the masses. What better sport could there possibly be?

With the early snows across North America, Canada and Northern Europe, kiters have been out exploring. Check out the photo below – a group of friends from Colorado benefited from a couple of storms which hit the southwest corner of the state and gave them some great terrain on Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton:

You can snowkite anywhere where there’s a field, snow, wind, and space, and if you live in an area where the lakes freeze over and get powder – then that too makes for a good snowkite surface.

Caroline, a passionate snowkiter from Norway, has this to say of the sport:

“Snowkiting is the real deal. When you snowkite you use nature in a totally  different way from snowboarding. When you snowkite you don’t use anything other than the wind and your kiting gear. The special thing about snowkiting is that you can ride into the mountains where nobody else has been before, and have fun messing about with your friends just doing what we love to do… When you snowkite, every day is unique, there is always something new, like the places you go, the weather conditions, new tricks, etc. The biggest difference from water-kiting (kitesurfing) must be that you can use your surroundings in a totally different way, like jumping down a cliff or riding in epic powder.”

Although a relatively new sport, snowkiting has already had 4 annual Snowkite Masters events and will be having its 5th in February/March 2009. Over 100 snowkiters from as far away as Tahiti took part in the 2008 event, held in Utah. The Kiter-Cross races gained the most popularity as participants and spectators were entertained by a fast and dynamic course. The terrain created unique challenges for competitors, with quick downwind-downhill runs and technical upwind-upslope reaches.

The 2009 event will be held on the weekend of 28th February, 2009, again at Skyline, Utah. The French  Snowkite Masters will be held at Serre-Chevalier from the 10th – 17th Janaury. This event will match up the best French snowkite freestyle champions with the top British snowkite freestyle riders and a host of other snowkiters from around the globe.

Here’s another video, with thanks to mwiemarkus. Makes you want to leave all this rain behind, and rush up to northern Europe to find snow expanses like this. For you guys over there in America you must have vast areas where snowkiting can be done. Lucky things.

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Anne Quéméré has had to call it a day…

December 16, 2008

The French refer to The Doldrums as the ‘Le Pot au Noir’ and that is pretty well what it was for Anne Quéméré as she tried to cross through the region en route to Taihiti to become the first person ever to kite across the Pacific Ocean.

Whilst battling her way through she felt justified in appointing herself a new member of the “No Pity For The Doldrums Association”!

It threw everything at her – from appalling thunderstorms, huge unpredictable winds, sunshine and balmy seas, and then, on 10th December,  just as things were beginning to look up and The Marquesas Archipelago beginning to show up on the corner of the map, the sad news came through to everyone watching her progress:

The news came during the night. Anne QUÉMÉRÉ was forced to abandon the Adrien Challenge of crossing the Pacific by kite and without assistance. “I must take this unfortunate decision and it is one of the most difficult taken in my lifetime” stated Anne, during the night.

The following excerpt comes from Anne’s website:

She left San Francisco on November 4th, and travelled close to 3500 kilometres over the 7000 that had been projected After a period of good sailing, Anne QUÉMÉRÉ joined the Intertropical convergence zone, otherwise known as the Doldrums. Since her arrival in that area, aboard the Oceankite she did not succeed in advancing any significant distance. Then came the “shock” of four days past when the kite was torn and the pulley system permanently damaged. “After the shock to the Oceankite over a week ago, I had great difficulty myself , recovering from this event. It’s as traumatic as one suffers after an automobile accident. I’ve lost confidence in my equipment as well as myself. It’s not pleasant but, its obvious. Without wind, one goes nowhere.” There hasn’t been any wind for the past ten days or what wind there was, came from the South which was pushing the Oceankite back on its track. “In one night, I lost all the mileage I had gained in one week” she explained over the phone during the night. And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s no more power on board, since this morning. A cargo ship, 25 hours away will attempt to pick her up. The manoeuvre is difficult as her transponder is out of commission. From the sponsor’s point of view, Adrien, Bretagne International and Yslab, they have already made their position clear. The safety of Anne is the priority. Anne’s rescue will be the subject of a further release later on in the day.

Anne was safely rescued but sadly had to abandon her Oceankite as conditions did not allow the huge cargo ship the chance to pick it up.

Anne had waited 48hrs before taking the decision to abandon her attempt to cross the Pacific single handedly. It will have been an enormous wrench to her to have had to submit to the decision.

On the 12th December she wrote: “Tonight, I’m in the wheelhouse, overlooking the sea and I still feel emotional, having trouble to accept this defeat. I won’t see the Polynesian Islands slowly rising out of the Ocean as I had so often imagined. I won’t savour the taste of victory but already, I know that this experience and its 2000 miles since San Francisco brought me new wisdom and fabulous images which I will never forget.”

Anne will be dropped off in Panama tomorrow, 17th December, and will be met by her father. When asked by her daughter if she would attempt further challenges, she hesitated and her daughter responded for her… “You’ll go back because what you do is cool”…

So watch this space, I imagine we’ll be talking about Anne again before too long! And our sympathies go out to her in what must be a difficult moment for both her and her team. What she achieved was still incredible, and bold, and adventurous. It deserves praise.