Learn how to kitesurf

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Do you want to learn how to kitesurf? Most people look at kitesurfing and ask themself “how hard can kitesurfing be to learn?” Well actually learning how to kitesurf is not that hard! Kitesurfing for beginners can be challenging. If you know where to begin, and of course having the right information will help to achieve your goals in no time. we have the full guide on how to learn kitesurfing. From theory, basics on land, basics on water, turns, jumps and more.

Team KiteStars will give you all the information needed for everyone to learn “how to kitesurf like a pro!” Therefore you do not need any experience, this is “a complete guide to kitesurfing for beginners.” When do you use this information? During your kitesurfing lessons get a deep dive, or when you are just interested in how it works. We highly recommend not to figure out everything just from this sheet! Please get yourself a kitesurfing lesson for your safety and the safety of every other beach and watersport person.

There will be a few topics to check out. Or go straight to the step by step guide on: How to kitesurf for beginners. Or use the buttons below to navigate through the page.

What is kitesurfing?

Hydrofoil kite surfing

Kitesurfing is an extreme watersport. The kite powers you on the board in a way that you can surf over the water, by just using the wind and the kite. Kitesurfing is closely related to a lot of other sports like; Windsurfing, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, Skating, and discipline freestyle like Gymnastics. Kitesurfing is a unique one-of-a-kind sport due to the kite you are using. By using the kite, you can experience enormous power transferred from the kite to your body and have the potential of feeling like you are flying.

How long does it take to learn to kitesurf?

On average it takes up and around 12 hours to learn for beginners. But the time it takes to learn to kitesurf differs a lot from person to person and of course the conditions during learning. Therefore more accurate will be to say it takes 8 to 16 hours. Want to know why it changes? And want to know what you can do about it to speed up your kite lessons learning curve? Check the full article on: How long does it take to learn to kitesurf

How many kitesurfing lessons do I need?

Woman Kitesurfing

It roughly takes 3 full lessons to learn the basics of kitesurfing for beginners. Most kitesurf schools offer kite courses of 2, 3, or 4 days. It is also possible to book a private solo or duo lessons. Some schools also offer advanced lessons to practice whatever you’re struggling with. The kitesurf courses are a bit cheaper and they give you a solid basis for your kitesurf career.

How much does kitesurfing cost?

Learning to kitesurf is not that expensive but still cost around € 120 – € 400 depending on the amount and types of lessons you take. When you can kite you can rent kite gear or buy it for yourself. The cost of kitesurf materials varies a lot between € 500 and € 5.000 for a partial to a complete kitesurf set. Are you interested in the total cost of kitesurfing materials? Check out our page: What are the cost of kite surf gear

How old must you be to learn how to kitesurf?

Kids kitesurfing

There is no hard age limit for learning to kitesurf. But there are some requirements to start your lessons.

  1. You must know how to swim.
  2. You must weigh around 50 kg or more.
  3. Have enough motoric skills to control a kite.

This comes down that the minimum age for learning how to kitesurf is around 8 or 9 years. There is no maximum age for you to learn as long as you are; “Willing to learn, there is the possibility”. Find your kite school now

Where do you learn how to kitesurf

Kitesurfing is one of the most accessible watersports. It is even easier to learn than windsurfing or surfing. Once you get a hang of it, you will fly over the water and get an adrenaline rush that you will not soon forget. But where can you learn to kitesurf?

What makes a destination the ideal place to learn to kitesurf? Stable wind, the presence of kite schools, a lagoon, or a beginner-friendly place. (with flat and shallow water) The idealistic picture in kitesurfing: blue water a white beach with palm trees and a steady warm breeze of 16 knots.

Places like; Zanzibar, Cape Town, Fuerteventura, or Maui are immediately top of mind. But are they the best spots to learn how to kitesurf?

Our advice on choosing a location:

Our advice is to start learning in your own country (if possible). Get kitesurfing lessons near you so you can focus on learning to kitesurf. This way you will not have a language or culture barrier with your kitesurf instructor, and that makes learning kitesurfing easier. Then when you go on holiday you can enjoy the place and you can show and enhance your kitesurf skills. So look for kitesurf lessons near you to learn how to kitesurf the most efficient way. Find your kite school now.

How fit do I need to be to start kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing can look very challenging and only for athletic people. To start with kitesurfing you don’t need to be super fit or strong. There is not much power involved to control the kite. You can steer the kite with two fingers. Once you get up to riding on the board this can be challenging for the legs, this is the spot where most starting kitesurfers feel the power and can get sore after a while. But no stress the more often you go out and try to improve your kitesurfing, the stronger those legs get!

What skills do I need to start my kitesurfing journey?

There are no skills required to start kitesurfing for beginners. Some people have board sports experiences like snowboarding or wakeboarding, this can help a little when getting on the board. The best skills to have when starting kitesurfing from the beginning are experience flying a kite, and feeling confident to swim in open water. The real skills of controlling a kite and riding the board, you will learn along the way. Most important is to be relaxed and allow yourself the time to learn in a non pressured way. After all, it is a new sport or hobby and you should enjoy every bit of it!

So how do you learn to kitesurf? Like every sport or new skill in your life, you need to do the research and need to put your time into it. We have done the research for you and combined it with miles of experience. With all this experience Team KiteStars has created a step-by-step guide for you to follow.

The step by step guide on: How to kitesurf for beginners

The complete step-by-step guide on how to kitesurf contains all there is to know to get started.

  1. The kitesurf theorie
  2. The kite surfing basics
    1. Controlling the powerkite on land
    2. Controlling the kite and power on land
  3. How to kitesurf with kite and board
  4. Tricks and beyond

What do you learn in this kitesurf guide for beginners:

1. The kitesurf theory

Knowing all about the wind for kitesurfing

The start of kitesurfing begins with a basic understanding of where the wind is coming from. Since the kite is powered by the wind and your capabilities of adjusting your position and the position of the kite in comparison to and with the wind. It seems like a natural thing to know where the wind is coming from, however, we of team KiteStars found that it is quite common to feel confused by the wind and its variable directions. Our position relative to the kite will be discussed at the wind window.

Basic wind checks:

Basic wind checks before you have any knowledge about kitesurfing: Look outside your window and figure out if it is windy. If you are living in a city it does not mean “if you see wind now, or no wind at all” that it is also windy or not windy at the kite spot. Then how do we check the wind?

Where to check out the wind conditions?

Knowing the right wind direction and strength is important. Before kitesurfing, you can check the upcoming conditions on your kitesurf spot. Here are a few options to check out the weather and wind conditions on your favorite kite spot. By checking the weather before a kite session you know what to expect.

Besides the wind, make sure the weather stays good during your kitesurf session. Some sun is preferred but some rain won’t hurt you. Make sure there is no thunder while you are on the water. Always keep a small eye on the sky if you see the weather is changing then adapt! Do not find yourself miles out of the coast exhausted in a change of weather.

When you are on the kite spot how do you check the wind?

You already checked the wind from home and now you arrived on the spot. Let us make it practical where is the wind coming from? What do you check to know it for sure?

  • Check beach flags.
  • Look at kite positions of the kites that are laying down on the beach.
  • Check the riding directions of the kiters already riding.
  • Feel the wind in your face.
  • Hear the wind: if it is blowing straight in your face you will hear it with both ears.
  • Check the ripples on the water.
  • And if still unsure please ASK!

Knowing how the wind works make learning kitesurfing a lot easier. You can check out the complete Wind guide here. Pay special attention to the wind window of kitesurfing. The wind window is the position of the kite relative to the wind. This is useful to know for the how-to later on.

Kitesurfing rules

The kitesurfing rules are good to know before starting the sport. This helps you understand the things to be aware of while learning and kitesurfing yourself.

kitesurf rules
Kitesurfing rules on the water

Kitesurfing is a unique experience with a massive adrenaline rush. No other sport offers such an experience in the water. Kitesurfing allows you to harness the power of the wind to propel you through the water. This makes kitesurfing easy to learn and loads of fun.

2. The kite surfing basics

In this part, we will explain the basics of kitesurfing containing how the wind and the kite work.

Controlling your kite is definite 70 to 80% of the process of learning how to kitesurf.

Team KiteStars

That being said, kite control must always be on top of your list. While controlling the kite it is also important to exactly know how your safety works, and feel confident to use it! Then it is time to implement the rules on the beach and the water like we discussed in the theory above.

After you know how to control a kite, know the main kitesurf rules, and know what to do to stay safe. “You are ready for the kiteboard” It is time to learn: kite surf water start, the actual part of riding as a kitesurfer. The kite surfing basics can be tricky to learn.

Important tips for beginners to learn the kite surfing basics are: 

  • Stay positive
  • Stay calm
  • Learn from kitesurf instructors. 
  • Take your time, and practice a lot. 
  • If you feel like it is not going fast enough? Look around and learn from seeing others succeed or making mistakes.
  • You will not be stuck on this level forever, if it does take longer than average it is not that you are not talented, you are just learning at your own pace.
  • Most of all enjoy!

2.1 Controlling the kite on land

The first and most important skill you need to develop is controlling a kite. This can be done on the land by a trainee kite. Or directly in the water with a tube kite, there are different styles of teaching. Non are wrong as long it is a well-thought-out process. There are a lot of different trainee kites or power kites, make sure you get a kite that can be controlled with a kite bar. This makes the motion of steering and controlling the trainee kite the same as the tube kite that is used for kitesurfing.

how to kitesurf - trainee kite

2.1.1 How to use a trainee kite and power-kite

Starting with a kite on land

Depending on the type of trainee kite you use and the wind, the kite can get started at the edge of the wind window or in the power zone. For those who are not familiar with the wind window follow the link and we will explain the theory on this page.

The setup trainee kite

How to set up a trainee kite: Start with the wind directly on your back. Now place the Trainee-kite on the ground, and put some weight on the edge that is closed to you. Preferably you start at a beach, so you can grab some sand for the weight. Now connect the lines to the kite and walk the lines out. Here is the split between the edge of the wind window and starting in the power zone. To start in the power zone: Walk backward from the kite, with the kite directly into the wind. For starting at the edge of the wind window, walk out the lines sideways at 90 degrees in the wind direction. For both options, make sure there is no tension in the lines when setting up the kite.

Starting a trainee kite

Now you are ready to start. To start or launch the trainee kite, get some tension in the lines. This makes the wind get into the kite and the kite starts getting its form. Make sure you do this calmly and easily. This way you won’t get surprised by the power of the kite. When there is tension in the lines and the kite starts getting its form, you are ready to launch the kite. Of course, since you are learning together with a buddy or an instructor you can also let your buddy hold the kite at the edge of the wind window, or slightly in the power zone. In this way, you can explore the first bit of where your kite fills up with the wind. You want to steer the kite right above you (at 12 o’clock). You can do this by

Steering a kite

The trainee kite or power kite will react the same way as the kitesurfing kite. This is a good way to train the steering of the kite. The steering is being done by the kitesurf bar. This is basically a stick with the lines attached to it.

How to make the steering movement:

As a beginner, you want to hold the bar with two hands, and at the sides of the bar with relaxed arms. Make sure the bar is parallel to the trailing edge of the kite. This way the lines keep straight and you can easily steer the kite by pulling on the hand in the direction you want to go with the kite, this is called your steering hand. Keep the other arm long. The distance you pull the steering hand towards you is the acceleration moment that makes the kite turn faster.

This means if you start with little adjustments you will have a slow steering momentum. If you increase the action you are increasing the momentum of the kite. The kite always wants to go to the front side (of the kite) so if you turn the kite, the direction changes. If you stop steering (hold the bar with 2 straight arms) the kite will continue the direction, till it can’t go any further.

Counter steering motion

There is an important counter steering motion to learn on this level. Otherwise, you will find your kite is not reacting to your motion. 

“Every action needs an equal counter-reaction!” 

While steering the kite, move the bar in the same way as the kite goes. This makes sure the lines will not tangle and you know what is left and right. You can move the bar with the kite, by holding the bar without pressure. This way the bar will almost automatically follow the position of the kite. You can always adjust accordingly.

The power of the kite

To understand the power of the wind and the kite we can go into the depth of the aerodynamics behind the kites, but we won’t. We just want to focus on the wind window and the basics behind that. When standing with the back into the wind you look at the area the kite can be in. Depending on the position of the kite, the power that the kite generated depends a lot. Where the kite has the least power at the edge of the wind window. In this phase, it is all about exploring with your kite steering it through all possible positions relative from your position to the position of the kite relative to the wind.

Really explore the edges and the power zones! Take time to do so, this is super crucial for the remaining of your learning curve. This is not done before it is controlled and boring and boring and controlled.

Landing the power kite

Landing a power kite is a bit different than the tube kites that we use for kitesurfing but the beginning is the same. To land a power kite or trainee kite, steer the kite slowly all the way aside. Do this slowly so you don’t get any power in the kite. It does not matter if it’s left or right but makes sure the kite goes toward the edge of the wind window. If you steer the kite to the side on the edge of the wind window, it will touch the ground. If you do this slowly and walk towards the kite holding the steering hand on the line/bar, you are landing the kite yourself. The kite can’t catch any wind or power if you only hold pressure on the steering line closed to the ground. 

It is even better to ask your buddy to grab the kite before it hits the ground. Power kites and trainee kites are designed to only hold power if there is tension in the lines. So make sure if someone gets the kite, or you land it, you release the tension in the lines.

Video How to learn to kite on the land.

2.1.2 How to use a Tube Kite for kitesurfing

After you are trained with a power kite or trainee kite it is time for the real deal, the tube kite. For kitesurfing, we use a tube kite (or fly surfer) with 4 or 5 lines with a kite bar. The tube kite is named after the tube that is placed in the kite, and of course, can be pumped up. By pumping up the tube of the kite the shape of the kite stays the same. Now it is optimized to hold the wind and generate power. There are different types and shapes of tube kites. For now, we are not focused on the different types but on the process of learning to control the kite. First, we are going to learn to kitesurf. After that, we going to learn how to jump and massive tutorials on how to do tricks.

how to Kitesurf at Kite Centre Zanzibar

For the tube kite, the basic principles are equal as they apply for the trainee kite, with a few additional differences. Let’s talk you through the complete process of how to control a kite:


There are different types of kites, make sure you know the gear you are using. All tube kites are set up on land, and make sure you have enough space around you before launching your kite. Most lines are 22 to 24 meters, so make sure to have at least 25 meters around the kite cleared, before starting and launching your kite.

Set-up of the kite

How to set up a kite: First you need to pump up the kite, make sure you lay down the kite downwind from you, and you attach the kite to the pomp. Otherwise to kite can fly away or you need one hand to hold it, this makes pumping difficult. How hard must a kite be pumped up? The main reason for pumping your kite is that it remains in its form in any circumstance. To test this you can try to fold the kite in half, if this works easily you need to keep up pumping.

Some kites have PSI levels written on the kite as well. If your pomp had a PSI meter, you can’t go wrong. You might if you know you crash the kite a lot pump it a little bit softer, this will improve crash endurance over time. If you know you can keep the kite constantly up then you could go a little bit harder for a nice responsive kite.

Kite on the beach 

After pumping up the kite, you need to lay the kite down. Make sure it is with the leading edge on the ground and facing the midsection to the wind. This way the kite will stay on the ground. With heavy wind, the kite can slowly move. In that case, put some weight on the kite, this can be some sand or your kitesurf board. 

Kite bar and lines: After the kite is pumped up, you can lay down the lines in a straight line and connect the lines to the kite. Make sure there is no tension in the lines jet, otherwise the kite can shift and pick up some wind. When you start this is also the moment you let your buddy check if you did everything correctly.

Safety of the kite 

Quality check: Make sure you know your material and especially its safety on it. This starts with the condition of the kite and lines. When building the kite up, you can see how the conditions are. Make sure there or no holes in the kite, knotted lines, and no fraying of the lines or tears in the kite. 

The safety systems. After the quality check makes sure the safety system work. This means; 1. The quick-release and 2. The eject system of the kite. Know how they work and test them before every session. Due to sand, salt, or wear, the system can malfunction. Show your buddy you know how it works and that you feel confident using it! It does make the session a lot more fun, if something does go wrong that you can stay calm and you use the safety with comfort and ease.

Starting the kite

Now you are ready to launch your kite. Make sure you have a buddy or another kitesurfer that will help you to get started. The helper can hold the kite on the leading edge and lift the kite a bit off the ground. You as the kiter can attach the kite bar and safety leach on your kite harness. Once the kite is attached, you can slowly walk without tension on the lines towards 3 of 9 o’clock of the wind window.

If you do not know the wind window jet, make sure the kite is at the edge of the wind and perpendicular to the wind. Now you can build up some tension in the lines, by walking backward without pulling the bar. Once you feel a bit of tension and the kite got some power, you can give the signal to release the kite. Once the kite is loose you can steer the kite slowly above you to (12 o’clock).

Steering the kite

When the kite is above you at 12, you can control the kite from here. From this point, you can slowly steer from left to right. Do this with minimal tension on the bar. Keep the arms as long as possible. Keep the bar always in the same line as the trailing edge of the kite. So steering is more pulling en pushing the bar, than turning. This motion looks more like riding a bike than riding a car. 

Building up momentum:

If you can steer the kite while remaining in control, you can work from there. The first thing to practice is making figures 8 in the sky. Keep the kite in motion while you steer from left (10 o’clock) to right (2 o’clock). This way you start noticing the motion of the kite in combination with the wind. After that, you can try to control the kite with one hand. Keep the hand in the middle of the bar, around the powerline. Now Keep the kite in control with just one hand. You need this skill later to pick up your board it’s called body dragging upwind.

Power of the kite 

If you control the kite well enough with the steering of the kite, you are ready to get some power in the kite. There are two main ways to get power in the kite. The first way is to steer the kite fast and keep it moving. This makes the kite dive into the power zone. By doing this the kite can hold a lot of wind and this results in big powers. Making the kite pull you forwards what we call: body dragging downwind. The other way is to pull the bar, by pulling to bar towards you make the kite pivot a bit putting the trailing edge down. This angle makes it possible to keep more wind in the kite, and therefore more power.

Finally, combining these two options

Steering in fast and pulling the bar makes the most power. “Don’t try this as the first thing!” Build it up so the power can build up and you can control the power. This is important so you can retain your confidence a keep acting accordingly to what needs to happen.

Landing of the kite 

After your practice session, it is time to land the kite safely. You can not do this alone, so make sure your buddy can help you or find someone else who is willing to help. Making the non-verbal signal by tapping with one hand on the head means that you want to land your kite. Every kiter with a bit of experience knows this. This is handy to know because then you know they have the basic understanding of how to land a kite.

Reverse your start

Landing the kite is basically the reversed steps of launching a kite. Steer the kite slowly towards aside 9 or 3 o’clock. Don’t steer the kite fast otherwise the kite can hit the ground or get too much power. When the kite is just hovering above the ground, your buddy can grab the kite at the leading edge. Once someone has the kite at the leading edge, you can walk towards your kite. This makes sure that there is no more tension in the lines. Now your buddy can flip over the kite or hold it till you are there.

3. How to kitesurf with kite and board

How to kitesurf: In this part, you will learn everything from start to landing with pictures and video if there is no video yet, then come back regularly to see the latest updates on the page.

First of all the planning of your kite session

Are you ready for a kitesurfing session? Plan your kitesurf session with the right preparation. 
What are the things to look for:

  1. The kite spot.
    What is the nearest spot to you and does it fit your needs of a spot. Is there a beach with a beach break or is it a flat lagoon? This can be a maker or breaker of your session. 
  2. Rules and regulations on the spot 
    Make sure to check if it is allowed to kite at the spot where you are going. 
  3. Potential tidal changes on the spot.
    You don’t want to get caught in a tidal change when you are a beginner and the tides start to push you out into the open ocean.
  4. The wind and weather forecast.
    What is the direction of the wind compared to the spot? Make sure there is a side to the onshore wind when you start. Then check if the wind is strong enough. Still in doubt? Check the Wind guide to get you started. 
  5. Your kite buddy.
    Don’t go out alone! only go with your buddy or with a group you need to supervise each other and from time to time a rescue is needed. So help each other out!
How to kitesurf - Wind directions

Starting your kitesurf session

Make sure you don’t forget any kite gear on your trip. Good preparation is key. Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Check out all about the kite gear.
You won’t be the first one that forgets a kite bar or a pump so double check your list before you go. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving with the best conditions on the spot but being incomplete and then watching out the session as a buddy or going back home to collect your missing gear.

Do a quality check of your kite equipment before every kitesurf session. You don’t want any problems when you are on the water, so make sure you check your kite gear regularly. 

Set up a kite

Similar to a trainee kite your first action is to set up your kite. Get your kite attached to your pump and pump up your kite with the wind in your back. When your tube is fully pumped up, place the kite upside down on the beach with the middle strut facing the wind. Then it is time to untangle your lines and lay them down over the beach. There are two options to lay them down.

The big question up or downwind lay-down of kitelines?

One option to lay down the kite lines is downwind and the other option is upwind. If you choose to place them downwind it is very easy to see if your kite lines are not twisted, and when attached and you go for the launch it is the safer option because you are in a dead wind zone relative to the kite. You will need to walk all the way to the edge of the wind window. Did you choose to walk out the lines upwind, then you need to place the kite over the lines which make the check harder. When launching your kite it is directly in the power zone. When inexperienced this can lead to major injuries because you could get lifted up in the air even before your session started. So as a beginner please place your lines downwind.

Launching the kite

Now you are ready to launch your kite. Make sure you have a buddy or another kitesurfer that will help you get started. Walk to the edge of the wind window and feel the build-up in the pressure of the kite. Keep your arms extended and the bar pressure low. Now feel the placement of your body relative to the pressure of the kite, and the wind windows edge, and the subtle increase of power in the kite. Now it is time to steer it slowly up to 12 o’clock.

launch the kite

Get into the water

Now you are ready to get into the water. When controlling the kite with one hand you can grab your kiteboard with the other hand. If you find this to be a challenge ask your buddy to assist you with bringing the board into the water. It is more important that you reach the water than it is to bring your board. Since kitesurfing is 70 to 80% kite control. Now walk towards the water and look for a good spot to start. Ideally, you get a spot with enough room from other kite surfers and obstacles.

Walk into the water at least to a depth of 60 cm to 1 meter deep and more than 23 meters of space downwind. This is because your lines are probably at around 21 meters and then combined with the depth of the kite this gets you a 23-meter-long hitting machine if you make a steering mistake.

How to bodydrag downwind

To get comfortable with the kite and the power, start with a body drag. With the body drag you move through the water with just your body, so you leave the board on the beach for now. More information on the page How to body drag.
Body dragging is a crucial skill to learn. It is not too hard to learn and it is where you make your learning meters on the kite. 
For a downwind body drag you start with your kite at 12 o’clock and place your body on your belly in the water. Now slowly create a steering motion between 10 and 2 o’clock. When you start your steering motion slightly pull the bar in and when you start steering back up sheet out your bar a bit. If you do this in a controlled flow you will be pulled forward, in the direction of the kite and downwind.

Video of how to bodydrag:

Bodydrag upwind:

Once you got this mastered it is time to do an upwind body drag. This requires you to be very subtle with the amount of pressure in the bar, and the small counter steering motions while keeping your kite in one position at 11 or 13 o’clock. Keep your body in a boat-like shape underwater and steer with your free arm in the direction where you want to go to. The easiest direction is slightly upwind. When you got these skills locked in you can always use them to collect your board when you lost it upwind of your position. Or to get yourself in safety when you find yourself in tricky positions.

The water start for kitesurfing

After the body drag it is time for the kiteboard. You are going to use the power of the kite to get your body on your kiteboard and make that long waited for waterstart. Make sure you have enough room, at least 20-30 meters of room downwind of your riding direction. This because you are now very likely to make steering mistakes, because you have to combine your feet action and your kite control. Just before you start make sure to hold the kite steady right above you at 12 o’clock. Put the kiteboard on your feet, and keep your knees bend.

Now slowly position the kite in the opposite way of witch way you want to go.

Kids kitesurfing lessons

Gain momentum

This presetting steering motion gives the kite the possibility to go through the power zone. This way you have room to steer with controlled power and gain enough momentum to get on your kitesurf board. You can pull the bar a bit towards you, to get enough power to get fully on top of the board. In the beginning, try to point the direction of your board a little bit downwind. When your skills are increasing you could try to point more in the direction where you want to go to. But begin with creating a bit of momentum downwind and not break down your kite momentum because you are holding your edge. Check out the full: How to waterstart.

Riding downwind

Your first meters on a kiteboard are going downwind, and that is perfect in the beginning but frustrating in the end. Riding downwind is going with or slightly with the wind. Aiming your board with the wind makes it easier to get more board speed, you can also get on your board easier. Make sure the front or the nose of the board is always above the water, you can do this by bending your back leg, and extending your front leg, then shift your weight more on the back of the board.

How to kitesurf Riding downwind and upwind.

Riding upwind

After your first successful waterstarts and dozens of meters on your board, you are ready to ride upwind. This skill is important to learn because it allows you to keep kitesurfing without losing height compared to the wind direction. This makes life a lot easier because you do not need to walk back over the beach to gain height again.

Riding upwind is almost the same as riding downwind. The big difference is that you aim your board slightly towards the wind. You can do this by pressing your back leg on the board. Make sure you have enough board speed to ride upwind while kitesurfing. To keep riding in the right direction, a pro tip is to let go of the front or leading hand. This makes you open up your shoulders towards the direction you go in, and turn your whole body including your hip and shoulders which will help you press the board upwind.

Making turns

Learning how to kitesurf would not be complete without making turns. The waterstart and riding downwind can be done in one direction. To switch directions you can take a turn with your kiteboard. Most kiteboards that are being used are twintips, this means there is no difference in the front and back of the board. This makes it easy for you to kitesurf both directions. The kite still needs to change positions but you already have your kite control down so this should not be too hard.

How to make turn kitesurfing

This is how you make the turn while kitesurfing

When you are kitesurfing and you want to make a turn, lower your board and riding speed by steering the kite up and steering the board upwind. Do not do this too quickly because then you are jumping, we will get to that later. When slowing down the board you will notice that the complete board will touch the water, or even go under it a bit. Make sure the kite will be at 12 o’clock by then. When you are completely still this is the moment you can change direction really easily. Do this by shifting your weight from your current back leg towards your new back leg. And turn your head. Almost all your motions from now on will be initiated by your head. For now steer the kite in a new direction, the same way you would do a water start with a similar amount of power.

Heading back and landing

Are you done kiting? Then you need to get back to the beach. Make sure you return slow and safe because most accidents happen on and near the beach. Make sure you do not go too fast and take a good look around. At the beach, there are a few things to look out for. More starters are near the beach, they are learning to body drag or control the kite. They can lose control of the kite or go far downwind.
Other things to look at are waves they will roll over near the beach. Don’t get caught in a rolling wave when entering the beach.
Water is getting more shallow, make sure you’re not surprised if the water is gone and you hit the sand bottom beneath.
Landing the kite is the same as starting it but in reversed order.

Instruct your buddy

Instruct your buddy to grab the leading edge of your kite when you steered it to the wind window edge. The question to get help from your buddy or another kiter on the beach can also be made by sign language. The sign for this is tapping with one hand on top of your hand. This can be very helpfull since you sometimes can not hear each other due to the wind.

Clean up the kite

Once the kite is landed safely it is time to go make sure you pack the gear up accordingly. Kites and lines can be wet from crashes and rain. Preferably leave the kite to dry, this makes packing the kite easier since the sand won’t stick on it. You want to clean up the kite as clean as possible, this means dry and without sand, seaweed, or other materials. This keeps the kite good for a long periode of time.

Detach the lines from the kite and roll up the lines onto the bar using the figure 8 method. Let the air out of the kite and roll up the kite towards de deflate of the kite from the tip. Hold the leading edge as a reference to rolling the kite up in a straight line. Now grab your gear put it in the bag and you’re ready to head home and upload your new learn tricks to KiteStars or check your progress on your personal page.

4. Learning how to do kitesurf tricks

After learning the basics of kitesurfing most surfers try to jump with the kite, and we totally understand! Jumping and doing tricks and just really enjoying the time on the water, is part of being a kitesurfer. We encourage people to learn and try as many tricks as they can and want. But while trying tricks and jumping, stay safe! Not only for yourself but also for people around you. Performing jumps or tricks require you to control the situation. Also, look around and keep enough distance from other kite surfers and the beach. Want to learn a trick? Check out our: Kitesurf tricks

4.1 How to jump with a kite

Jumping in kitesurfing is a lot of fun. It looks great, but feels even better! This is how you jump with a kite:

  1. Kite with decent board speed and your kite position at 45 degrees.
  2. Hold your arms at the outside of the kite bar.
  3. Steer the kite to the opposite side of your kite, and steer your board hard upwind.
  4. When the kite is over your head, you will feel a bit of a pull. Use this moment to pop your board.
  5. Now pull the bar to really get you up the air.
  6. On the apex of the kite, release the tension on the bar, and start steering the kite back in the original direction.
  7. When landing, pull the bar just before landing.
  8. Land downwind with your board and bend your knees on impact.
  9. Now you can get your edge again and kite away.

More kitesurf tricks

There are a lot of kite tricks you can learn if you have the basics of kitesurfing skills. All the kite tricks are here at KiteStars. Check out all the Kite tricks if you are ready for the next chapter.

How to learn kitesurfing

Learning how to kitesurf is not a theoretical job, you need some background and it helps a lot, but you learn how to kite by doing it. Start save at a kite school and build your way up.

Start at a kitesurf school

Learning how to kitesurf should always start at a kitesurf school. Like driving a car, you should not try to learn to kitesurf on your own. This is not safe and you can hurt yourself and others.

Learning to kitesurf should be done at a kitesurf school, but which one and what do you learn at these kite surf lessons? Mostly VWDS and IKO kite schools are good to look for.

Finding the right kite school for you

It is tempting to look at kite schools that are the cheapest, but we always recommend checking out the certification of the kitesurf schools. the different certifications will tell a bit about the quality of the kite lessons and the quality of the kitesurf instructors. For all the tips and tricks on how to find a kite school read more on: Kite schools.

What do you learn at a kite school?

The main reason you visit a kite school is to learn how to kitesurf. For a kiteschool and its instructors is safety and being self-supportive while learning how to kite way more important.

Therefore make sure you follow the instructions in the kite lessons and your instructors will correctly help you. At every kiteschool, there is kite gear ready for you to use so don’t worry about that. Want to know what a full kitesurf course looks like? check out the Kitesurfing lessons

Stay positive and have fun kitesurfing

The process of learning how to kite surf takes time to fully master, and the time on the kite and in the water are all training hours to get better. Don’t let focus on the parts of kite surfing that you can’t jet, but enjoy the parts of kite surfing you already know and enjoy every minute on the water while getting better.

The kitesurf materials

Kite surfing is considered to be an extreme sport and can be dangerous for you and the surroundings if you do not try it in a safe way. The kitesurf material, and the knowledge of how to use them is a very important aspect of staying safe.

Please don’t try learning to kitesurf on your own with materials you don’t know enough about.

For kitesurfing, you need a few essential materials. Every part of the gear is important and has more information on its own.

  1. Kite
  2. Pomp
  3. Kite bar with line.
  4. Kite surf trapeze or harness
  5. Safety lease
  6. Kite board

Depending on the weather and substances you can have optional kite equipment such as:

Make sure all the equipment is in order every kite session you head out. Check the gear regularly and replace or repair damaged parts. The full list and info for Which gear do you need for kite surfing. 

When starting kite surfing at a kiteschool, all the required kite surf gear will be available for you on the spot.

Conclusion how to kitesurf

In conclusion, kitesurfing is not hard to learn. But in any sport, you need to invest time to get progress. This How to kitesurf guide is made for all the beginner kitesurfers out there who want to start kitesurfing. We don’t want to replace the kitesurf schools but want to spread good information about the sport kitesurfing. This way beginner kitesurfers and pros can learn to kitesurf or get better at it. Did you miss anything in this article or do you have feedback? We love to hear about it. Leave a comment or send a message.

Can you teach yourself to kitesurf?

You can’t teach yourself how to kitesurf safely. The reason is safety, a kitesurf instructor is giving kite surf lessons and knows the dangers. Besides from strong wind, you need to watch out for other kite surfers, currents, obstacles, and mainly your kitesurf equipment. So in the end, we won’t recommend learning yourself how to kitesurf.

How many kitesurfing lessons do I need?

You need 8 to 21 hours of kitesurfing lessons to learn how to kitesurf. The amount can vary from person to person. But after 21 hours of kitesurfing lessons, you can surely control the kite and make the first meter on the kitesurf board.

How hard is kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing is not that hard to learn. On average it takes 2 to 4 kitesurfing lessons to learn how to kitesurf. Like any sport or activity it takes time and practice. Kitesurfing looks way harder to learn than it really is. Just make sure you follow the proper kitesurfing lessons and take the time and focus to learn the sport.

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