In the sport of kiteboarding there is no shortage of misconceptions, myths and wives-tales. if you have been around the sport long enough I’m sure you have heard most of them. In this post we will debunk 5 common kiteboarding myths.
DEBUNKING IN SESSION…
1. You need to have superman strength and fitness to kiteboard.
Kiteboarder’s come in all shapes, sizes, strength and fitness levels. I have witnessed men and women from the very fit to not so fit, successfully kiteboarding.
The reason kiteboarding is accessible to most able body individuals, is because the equipment has advanced and improved in leaps and bounds since the birth of the sport.
Keep in mind as with kiteboarding and most other things in life, the fitter you are, the easier it is for the body and mind to learn, adapt and excel. By all means, become the fittest version of yourself as you can as this will only improve your life, but understand it is not a necessity to get started.
Although you don’t need to have superman strength kiteboarding is a great full body workout and those who kite regularly will most definitely see their physique, strength and endurance improve.
2. Kiteboarding is crazy expensive.
Yes, no, Not really….
I have to admit spending a couple thousand dollars to get setup for kiteboarding made my bank account squeal. Most expenses are at the point of start-up which can make kiteboarding look very expensive at the outset.
We must keep in mind after startup costs, expenses drastically drop off. Here are reasons kiteboarding is cheaper than it may look at first glance:
- No re-occurring memberships or fee’s to pay.
- You can source quality used equipment for a considerable discount via Kijiji, craigslist, kite swaps, ebay and kiting friends.
- Kiteboarding is an extreme sport therefore most equipment is of high quality and if properly maintained it rarely needs replacing.
- Using the wind to propel you around is free. Free fuel!
- Most lakes, oceans and other bodies of water are free to use.
- Forget about paying for lift tickets, waiting for chairlifts and navigating crazy busy chalets, take up snowkiting to get your snowboarding fix and a chance to get outside in the winter and keep your kite skills tuned.
I love things that offer multiple or layered benefits and kiteboarding is absolutely a sport that has many of them, here are some examples.
- Your doing something you enjoy while staying fit and living an active lifestyle.
- It provides you the opportunity to learn a sport that will challenge you.
- Kiteboarding is a great travel sport hence incorporate kiteboarding into your vacations. 2 birds 1 stone.
- You will meet a lot of awesome people throughout your kiting adventures and some of these people will become close friends for life. Forget Facebook for a bit and connect with real friends.
Although the start up costs will hurt the bank initially, the value you get from kiteboarding along with the layered benefits of kiteboarding make it well worth it, in my opinion.
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”
~ Warren Buffett
3. Kiteboarding is really dangerous, I saw this one video on youtube…….blah blah blah
Reduce the risk…
There is no doubt that kiteboarding has inherent risks, but part of being a kiteboarder is learning to minimize those risks and ensure you know what to do when the s*it hits the proverbial fan! Also, insider secret, not being a total dumbass helps to keep you and others safe.
Again with the advancement of kiteboarding equipment, specifically safety release systems and kite design, these risks have been minimized and are absolutely manageable.
Your best defence against possible dangerous situations is to educate yourself and be prepared. Yes, there is no substitute for experience, but you can prepare yourself ahead of time so you will know how to handle most situations as they are unfolding.
Here are 20 tips for safe kiteboarding
- Take lessons from a qualified instructor.
- Buy quality modern kiteboarding gear.
- Learn as much as you can about the sport, your specific equipment and most importantly your safety systems.
- Practice releasing your safety systems in no risk situations.
- Always do a pre-flight check of your equipment.
- Double check your kite setup before launching.
- Ask a fellow kiter for a launch.
- Launch your kite properly.
- Know of any weather systems forecasted to move through your kiting location before going out.
- Be aware of hazards that may be lurking in the water below. Obstacles and wildlife, Ask local kiters.
- Know how to self rescue.
- Know your skill and don’t put yourself in a situation where your bravado extends past your skill.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong, trust your gut.
- Don’t kite alone.
- Never underestimate the power of a kite. Or put another way, respect the power of the kite.
- Hydrate yourself before going out kiteboarding.
- Take breaks when needed. (This is my achilles heal, I like to marathon session it, but I pay for it the next day. This is one I will be working on.)
- Take advice from more experienced kiteboarders.
- Avoid being a kite Kook.
4. I’m too young/old to learn to kiteboard
Anyone who is of able body and without health restrictions, can kiteboard. Although I’m still relatively young (35) I personally have friends in their 50’s that kiteboard and have no issues at all. Kiteboarding keeps you young at heart, is great for your overall health and can provide some excitement in your life.
I have heard of people in their 60’s and 70’s still kiteboarding. The nice thing about kiteboarding is you can decide what level of intensity you would like to ride at. Check David the 77 year old kiteboarder out, his story say’s it all.
OK, there is no upper age limit what about lower? Although some instructors won’t teach kids under the age of 12, you can still have younger kids fly trainer kites. I just had a daughter in 2015 and frankly, as soon as she is old enough, she will be learning on a trainer kite. Starting kids young eliminates the fear factor, they are pretty much indestructible and they soak up learning like little sponges.
5. Kiteboarding lessons are for chumps
I think that lessons are absolutely necessary to keep yourself and others save and ensure you will be on the right track to learn as quickly as possible.
If you decide to go the formal route of a certified instructor (recommended), thats great, you know what you are getting.
It is of great value to have an experienced instructor by your side when learning. Experienced kiters will see the mistakes you are making and tell you how to fix them immediately, not to mention reduce the amount of holy s*&t moments in your learning.
Lessons propel your learning through the roof while teaching you all the necessary safety precautions you will need. In my experience I only needed two, 2 hr lessons until my instructor said “ok, all you need now is practice, go practice!” The money I spent was well worth the leap in progression.
By the way, food for thought, those guys who think lessons are for chumps and try to go it alone, are usually the same guys you see flying across the beach at mach 3 getting worked by their kite because they were never taught “when in doubt sheet out!”. No one wants to be “that guy”!
There it is, 5 common kiteboarding myths debunked.
There are many myths about kiteboarding still out there, please add your favourites in the comment section.