As kite boarding becomes a more common sight, more and more people wonder whether they would be up to try it. It looks unreal, more so with people leaping 10-20 feet over the surface of water with "out of this world" stunts. You have been hearing about this amazing new sport from friends, colleagues and television. You have seen kiters and have been amazed with the fun that they seem to be having. You have been given a kiteboarding voucher as a gift. You want to try something new, something exciting and out of the box. You are all ready to go book that kiteboarding lesson.
Or maybe not.
Your eagerness suddenly turns into anxiety, soon you envision the most terrible things that can happen to you as you kiteboard. Things like sharks, wind blowing you far away, or maybe the Loch Ness monster pulling you from underneath the water. Soon after this, you put kiteboarding off to discover another day, time or maybe in another lifetime. You miss out on something you would want to do because of fear.
Since kiteboarding is a mix of different sports that involve flying, and boarding on the water, it is best to identify what exactly you are afraid of. Are you afraid of the water? Afraid of drowning? Are you afraid of heights? Afraid that the wind might blow you away to a far away land where no one would ever find you? Whatever you are afraid of, it is best to identify the primal fear, to best address it and eventually conquer it.
Fear is often eminent due to the lack of information, the feeling of not knowing how things are, thus resulting in not knowing what could happen. Most fears are resolved and conquered by feeding of information and awareness. This is one reason why kiteboarding should not be feared. The basic and non negotiable aspect of kiteboarding is the learning. Learning safety procedures, getting to know the equipment and their functions, how the elements work (air & water) together to give you a successful kiteboarding experience.More so how it is about how to use these elements together with your gear and new skill to make your adventure as safe as possible. No one will tell you that kiteboarding is not dangerous. But what makes this sport attractive to adrenalin junkies and enthusiasts is the fact that a significant amount of time is given for participants to learn every single detail to make kiteboarding safe and fun.
Here are some other details to help you take that first step in experiencing a kiteboard adventure:
- Kiteboarding is easy to learn.
- Kites are easy to control.
- You can kiteboard in a flotation device.
- You can wear a wet suit.
- You control the jumps. You can just stay flat. No need to leap in the air. Kiteboarding iseasier to track than wind surfing, so it is easier to get back to the starting point.
-You will be trained and supervised by professional and accredited kiteboard instructors.
So challenge yourself, identify and conquer that fear. Kiteboarding is such a rewarding sport that most curious first timers become full pledge kiteboarding enthusiasts.
Long time ago, when I first saw a kite on the beach, it was love at a first sight. At a time I couldn't start learning immediately, because there was no kitesurfing school at that place, but when I got home from my vacation, I got glued to the computer screen, searching for kitesurfing information, images, videos, tips and tricks.
Years later, when I started teaching kitesurfing, I realized that many people share the desire to learn this fascinating sport, but not everybody feels they can do it for many different reasons. Another group of possible readers of this post are kitesurfers’ partners (girlfriends, wives, husbands, etc), who are normally pushed to try kiteboarding by their other half.
The fear of a kite’s power is directly connected to the lack of knowledge and practical ability to control a kite. It’s easy to understand that once you have something perfectly under your control, it does not scare you at all. The problem is how to reach that skill level, when you need to practice exactly what you are scared of.
Here are two main reasons why people have a fear of kitesurfing, and how to overcome it:
#1 PROBLEM: The fear of being pulled by an uncontrollable force because of lack of knowledge about how a kite works.
SOLUTION: Adopt a step-by-step learning approach, and try as many times as you need! You’ll eventually get it.
Throughout the years of teaching kitesurfing to students of varying ages, abilities and attitudes, I realized that everyone needs his own personal approach and time.
Here’s a step-by-step summary of learning any new sport:
* Choose a skilled instructor (a certified kitesurfing instructor in this case)
* Try to put what he says into practice
* Have a feedback from your instructor
* Try again and perhaps fail again
* Repeat the routine of the last two steps, until you complete the exercise correctly, showing you learned a new skill
* Automatize the action and perform the exercise with confidence so you can move on to the next step. You should become comfortable in applying what you have just learned. For example, in kitesurfing, you should repeat body drag as many times as you need to feel completely comfortable with a kite before trying to stand on a kiteboard.
The last point is fundamental to give us enough self-confidence to forget about our initial fear of kitesurfing. The best thing you can do throughout this process is to confide completely in your instructor by telling him or her what you are feeling when you perform a certain action and where you feel incapable of doing something. The more feedback you offer to your kiteboarding instructor, the more they’ll be able to guide you to reach your goal. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they are the best indications for your instructor to point you in the right direction.
Sometimes you might think you won’t be able to do what is asked from you, but it’s worth to try it, and most of the time you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish!
So if your desire to learn kitesurfing is strong enough, you’ll eventually become so skilled that you’ll overcome your fear.
In the end the recipe is pretty simple: keep doing what scares you until it doesn’t anymore. Of course, you want to do it in the safest way possible: get a certified kitesurfing instructor, who will create a 99.99% safe environment for you to learn.
#2 PROBLEM: Hearing or reading about some kite crash
SOLUTION: Learn the safety rules and the right of way: you’ll be completely safe
The last reason that can scare you to try kitesurfing are news about kitesurfers crashing or getting injured that you might read or hear about.
Let me start by clarifying that normally these guys are not beginners, but already advanced kiters, who underestimated the danger or didn’t follow the basic safety rules in kiteboarding. You can read about those basic safety tips here.
If a beginner has a kitesurfing accident, normally it’s a self-learner without a proper training, who had no idea of what they would face. But there’s nothing else to say here – the world is full of fools.
Therefore I can’t stress enough the importance of starting your kitesurfing lessons with a trusted expert instructor, who has the responsibility of putting you at ease and giving you all the time you personally need to learn. If your instructor doesn’t create that feeling of comfort and fun during the lesson, change them: you need to feel relaxed and focus on what you are trying to accomplish, not to please a person you are paying for your kitesurfing lessons. On the other hand, you take lessons to learn and you rely on an expert to guide you, so if he or she says you can make it, believe it, let go of your fear, and just do it.
Remember, you have to enjoy yourself during every moment of your kitesurfing learning process, that’s the best trick I know to make the fear fade away, giving space to lots of hours of enjoyment. Have fun!