Kiteboarding - How to Get Started

REAL Watersports Kiteboarding Lessons Kiteboarding Lessons

Kiteboarding is exhilarating fun on the water! Here's how and where to get started.

So you’re ready to learn to kiteboard – What’s next?

What equipment is required for kiteboarding?

Kite: Kites have an inflatable “leading edge” and struts that support the shape of the kite and prevent the kite from sinking if you crash it into the water. Kiteboarding kites range in size from 5m2 to 17m2. The correct size for you depends on the wind strength and your body weight. Most people start with a 10m or 12m kite and build up a “quiver” that includes a range of 2 or 3 kites (e.g. 15m, 12m, 9m).

Control Bar: The bar and lines are used to control the kite and this is where all of the safety features lie. A good control bar allows you to safely “release” your kite if you get in any trouble which will stop the pull and allow you to safely land your kite. 

Kiteboard: These vary in size and shape. Most people start with a “twintip”.  REAL Water Sports has some great information about choosing a kiteboard. 

Harness: This is an absolute necessity and it’s important to get a well fitting harness to keep you comfortable while riding. For more information on choosing a harness visit REAL.

How to prepare physically:

Kiteboarding doesn’t require any special levels of fitness because the kite pulls from a harness attached around your waist. I recommend making sure that you can swim if you are going to be riding in a location that is out of your depth. In addition, stretching often to make sure you maximize your body’s range of movement is recommended to avoid injury. 

What to expect on your first outing:

Kiteboarding tuition is broken down into 3 major parts:

  1. “Ground Control”: Before you get out on the water it’s important that you learn to fly the kite properly and safely. This typically takes around 1 – 3 hours of practice before you are ready to go out on the water. 
  2. “Body Dragging”: Next up is dragging around in the water without using a board. This will familiarize you with the power available and how to move around in the water if you lose your board. It’s an important step so don’t skip it!
  3. “Zero to Hero”: The final step is to add in the board and work on your first rides. This is the most exciting part but also takes the longest amount of time to master. 

Can you teach yourself to kiteboard?

The simple answer is “no”. Kiteboarding is not a dangerous sport and the learning curve is steep but easy. This makes kiteboarding very exciting to learn. However, if you don’t take lessons at first you'll find it challenging and potentially dangerous. I often compare it to skydiving: it’s not difficult or dangerous – but you wouldn’t try it without taking advice from an expert first…!

Pete Hardie

Pete Hardie has been kiteboarding for over 6 years and surfing his whole life. He is the Head of Digital Marketing at REAL Watersports based in Cape Hatteras, NC. Working at REAL and living in Cape Hatteras allows him to take sessions every day of the year. You can follow Pete on Twitter @pjhardie