What is the difference between kiting, kitesurfing, kiteboarding, and flysurfing?
Kiting, kitesurfing, kiteboarding, or flysurfing (if you speak French) is an exciting water sport for the new millennium. The term kitesurfing is usually reserved for kiting in waves, but whatever term you prefer it's a very, very young sport. In 1999, there were probably only a few hundred kiteboarders in the world. Now, kiting can be found in nearly every county and certainly on every continent. The idea behind kiteboarding is very simple....a kiter stands on a board with his feet inserted into straps or bindings attached to the board and uses the power of a large controllable kite to propel him across the water. Kiteboarding is a lot like waterskiing and wakeboarding, only you're replacing the boat with a kite. This simplicity of the sport makes it challenging as your body is the only connection between the kite and the board. You have to pilot the kite in the sky and steer the board on the water, controlling them both at the same time.
How can I prepare for my kiting lesson?
I get questions from my students on a weekly basis on how to minimize the number of hours spent taking kiting lessons. There is one simple solution. Invest in a trainer kite!
Trainer kites are mini power kites geared at providing users with the thrill of flying a kite without the need of an instructor. They are small, safe, easy-to-use, cost around $100, and usually come with a "How To Kiteboard DVD". There is no need to have an instructor with you because these kites will not loft you 40 feet in the air. They will barely move you in even extremely windy conditions. The idea of a trainer kite is to provide a novice kite flier the opportunity to test their skills with the wind. More importantly, these kites fly very similar to their bigger brother (inflatable-power-water-kites meant for kiteboarding). So when you figure out how to fly one of these trainer kites, this will positively affect your ability to fly a large power kite.
So how much do kiting lessons cost? Lessons from a reputable school will typically charge between $70 - $115/ hour of instruction. We charge $70/hr since we would like to get more individuals hooked on our wonderful sport. And I need to clarify that a reputable school means that they are insured, certified, have new equipment and plenty to choose from, have more than one instructor, and have been in business for more than a few months.
When I learned to kiteboard, I didn't have all of the money in the world, so I flew my trainer kite until it got holes in it. You don't need to fly it that long; however, I would suggest to anyone honestly looking to pursue kiteboarding as a sport that they spend 20-40 hours flying the trainer kite before taking a lesson. So what do I need to accomplish during this time? You need to fly it well enough, so you're not crashing it left and right. But more importantly, you need to fly it with control and ease. If you're having a difficult time keeping the kite positioned in one spot, you need to take more time flying the kite. Focus on keeping the kite at 10:30 o'clock (to your left) for 1 minute, bring it up to 12:00 o'clock (directly overhead) for 1 minute, and then park it at 1:30 o'clock (to your right) for 1 minute. If you can do this, you're probably ready for a lesson.
What if I'm really low on funds, and I can't take more than 1 or 2 three hour kiteboarding lessons? What else can I do with a trainer kite to make learning to kiteboard less expensive? You should practice flying the kite with your eyes closed. I say this because kiteboarders that are riding on their boards do not usually look up at their kite. They know where the kite is by where the bar is positioned! You can also start looping the kite with your eyes opened, and if you get really good, you can close them.
Trainer kites are the most effective way to learn to kiteboard if you want to keep down your kiteboarding costs. And once you are ready to experience the real deal, we will make sure you have a fun, safe, and unforgettable kiteboarding lesson!
What is the wind window?
The wind window or power zone is the area in which you can fly a kite. The quarter-sphere shape that defines the power zone can be imagined when you face straight down wind and look 60 degrees to the left of center, 60 degrees to the right of center, and 85 degrees upward. The front face of the powerzone can also be imagined to be the face of a clock with the numbers 9 and 3 resting on the ground and 12 at zenith. The outer edge of the "clock" is also referred to as the stall or neutral zone. The idea behind kiteboarding is to briefly maneuver the kite through the power zone (straight line from 11 to 2 or 1 to 10 depending on direction of travel) to expose surface area of the kite to the wind. That action gives the kiteboarder the needed power during the water start phase to get pulled up on the board to begin riding and then the rider maneuvers the kite to the edge of the power zone to maintain control of board speed.
Can I relaunch the kite from the water?
You can relaunch the kite from the water after a fall or crash. The degree of ease or difficulty varies depending on the type of kite you are flying. 4-line C kites relaunch differently than 5-line C kites and 5-line C kites relaunch differently than Bow/SLE kites. Bow/SLE kites are considered the easiest to relaunch and are the safest kites due to their quick depowering capabilities. We only teach with state-of-the-art Cabrinha bridled bow kites.
Do I need assistance to launch or land the kite?
You normally do not need any assistance launching or landing your kite unless you are trying to launch or land on a crowded beach or the beach has considerable shore break. Different kites (4-line C, 5-line C, Bow/SLE) require different launching, landing, and water relaunching techniques and your vendor, kite manual, or instructor can explain the correct technique for your kite. Self-landing a kite on a crowded beach would put others at risk, therefore, a self-landing/self-rescue type maneuver at a safe distance from shore is called for. If attempting to land your kite to someone on the beach, identify that person as a kiter by communicating. If you want someone to assist in launching your kite be sure to ask first if he or she kiteboards and again establish hand signals before separating.
How much does equipment cost?
A new kiteboard costs between $500 to $900 and a new kite costs between $800 to $2000 including control bar. Used gear costs about half of the new equipment but care should be taken to thoroughly inspect the used gear. For example, any used kite, whether sold by a shop or private individual, should be inflated and left standing for at least one hour if not longer to check for any slow leaks. While inflated the kite canopy can more easily be inspected for tears and punctures. Even the flying lines on the control bar should be laid out to inspect for abrasions and knots.
Taking a few days of lessons can save you not only time but can also save you money on equipment costs. In the beginning of the learning process, most students are using small kites in order to develop the necessary skills and confidence. When they are ready to buy gear, they can avoid buying too small of a kite because their skill level increases, and they will be able to handle a larger kite in the same strength wind as when they were first learning.
How big a kiteboard should I choose?
If you live in a high wind area (18+ knot winds most of the time) and are of average height and weight (5'8" x 160 lbs) you should choose a bidirectional kiteboard 140 cm or smaller. If you live in a light wind area (5 to 18 knot winds most of the time), you should choose a kiteboard longer than 140 cm. There are a few points to keep in mind to increase the range of your equipment. If you have limited kite sizes, you can increase your opportunities to ride by changing the line length (decrease length in windier conditions and increase in lighter conditions) and you can also change up the board. For example, if the winds drop and your kite is too small, you could try a floatier directional board or learn how to foilboard.
What is the typical wind range of a kite?
Different kite designs have different wind ranges but certain other factors have to be taken into consideration as well. Those factors include the person's physical size, skill level with the kite, surface conditions of the water, and board size. For an individual weighing 160 lbs, intermediate in skill level, using a bow design kite with a 133 cm board in 25- 30 mph winds, the kite size would be 7.0. For the same individual kiting in 17-25 mph winds, the kite size would be 9.0, in 13-17 mph winds the kite size would be 12.0, and in winds 9-17 mph, a 16.0 would be the call. If the kite isn't flying well in the lighter wind range for a given size, the rider could take out a floatier directional board and still have a great time rather than call it a day.
How many kites do I need?
The number of kites you need is dependent on the conditions at your local beach and your skill level with the kite. Ideally you should have 3 kites: a light wind kite (9 to 17 mph), a moderate wind kite (17 to 25 mph), a high wind kite (25 to 30 mph). Currently, with the new bow kite designs, most riders around the globe can get away with 2 kite sizes...12.0 and 16.0. In the windier spots like the Canary Islands, Columbia River Gorge, and Maui (to name a few), average riders would need sizes ranging from 8.0 and 10.0 and for smaller sized riders, they can use 5.0's and 7.0's. Please consult your professional kiting instructor for the best gear that will suit your needs and location.
Will I need a wetsuit on Maui?
Most Maui kiteboarders use a lycra shirt if anything at all during the summer. If you have low body fat, then a 2-3 mm shirt could be adviseable. During the winter (November-April) a 2 mm suit works perfect for most riders but if you end up in the water often, a shorty wetsuit could be recommended.
What equipment do I need to kitesurf?
A kite, board, harness, control bar and lines, pump, life jacket and helmet if needed, water, sunscreen, and a rash guard or wetsuit if you get cold.
Do I need to bring anything with me for the lesson?
We provide everything you will need for your lesson....drinking water, harness, life jacket, helmet, appropriately sized kites, kiteboard, etc. You will want to bring sunscreen and a lunch. Sunglasses are a good idea as you are looking up in the sky alot and you will definitely want to have some kind of strap for your sunglasses.
When is the best time to come to Maui for lessons?
We offer kiteboarding lessons year-round but the best season historically is May through October. During November through April, we usually get 60% kiteable days versus 75-95% during the spring/summer.
Is kiting safe?
Kiting is considered an extreme sport and safety has to be taken seriously. At Kiting.com, our primary goals are to introduce the sport safely to our students and to provide the most suitable learning environment possible. We recommend private lessons for students learning our sport since everyone picks it up at different paces. If you'd like to take a group lesson, we only recommend it for the very first lesson. Thereafter, private lessons are only recommended. Accidents, when they do occur, usually involve advanced riders who are pushing the envelope and attempting new tricks or going out in conditions that are too extreme for their ability. Knowing your limits, having the correct gear for the conditions, understanding weather, and being in good physical shape go a long way to keeping you safe out on the water.
How hard is it to learn how to kiteboard?
Learning how to kiteboard is actually easier and takes less time than learning how to windsurf. The learning curve is much steeper for kiting, but it is so much more fun! Most of our kiting students will take a full week of lessons at 3 hours each day, and they can usually be independent by the end of the week. However, some of our students will be independent after a few lessons, or some of our students will take a few months. Our students that pick up our sport the qickest are ones that have already experienced wind sports (eg. windsurfing or sailing) and those whom have been flying a trainer kite for over 20 hours.
I am a windsurfer, is it hard to convert?
As a windsurfer, you already have good balance on a board, have used a harness, and understand the wind, so learning to kiteboard can be easier than for students without those skills. However, the learning curve is still pretty steep as you need more balance in kitesurfing due to the nervous kite which tends to pull you out of the footstraps and off the board. Keep in mind that 90% of our sport is effectively flying the kite. Once you have the kite mastered, the sailing aspect will remind you very much of windsurfing.
How fast will I learn the sport?
Progress in this sport depends on skills a student holds from other sports wind sports/board sports. Clients with prior experience in board sports such as wakeboarding, surfing, waterskiing, windsurfing, and snowboarding pick up the riding part quickly. In addition, windsurfers already have experience using a harness, which is very important. But, the best skills one can possess are good hand-eye coordination with flying the kite, good listening skills, and a good comfort level in the water. Two goals of the Kiting.com team are to help reduce the frustration level of learning kitesurfing and to accelerate the learning curve. As a result, Kiting.com students become independent kiteboarders more quickly and safely than any other school in Hawaii.
What sort of physical shape do I need to be in?
You should be in relatively good physical shape before taking kiting lessons, but you don't need to be an elite athlete to learn the sport. We teach youth as young as 8 or as mature as 80. Strength isn’t the key to this sport; it's all about finess because you fly the kite mainly from your harness. You should be strong enough to unhook the control bar from your harness hook when needed, but the amount of pull when your chickenloop is out is around 25lbs of pressure (25mph wind with an 8 meter).
Top level kiteboarders implement bodyweight calisthenics, live vegetarian, and have a positive mindset. Get in shape today!
(Suggestion: work on your core). Kitesurfing is not very aerobic - you don't run out of breath as quickly as you do when running because the kite does most of the work. Muscle fatigue in the legs can wear you out, but as your skills improve your endurance increases. Being a good swimmer and being comfortable in the water is very important! The better your health is, the safer you will be!
I have flown a trainer kite and have already done some body dragging. Will I be able to take a class starting with the kiteboard on my first lesson?
This is a very common question. While we appreciate that students want to save money and time, we want their experience to be fun, safe, and easy. If a student has had some experience, we normally have them set up their kite gear with our supervision. Once the gear is setup, you will most likely do a tandem body drag in the water. We need to see that you can body drag upwind. If you can drag upwind to the instructor, demonstrate a kite relaunch from the water, and can demonstrate a proper self-rescue with the kite, then we would begin instruction with the board.
Will I be riding on a board the first day?
Roughly 5-10% of our beginner students get to the board on the first day and attempt water starts. Most students need 2-3 days of lessons to become competent and confident with the kite and do some riding on a board. Taking a few days of supervised lessons and having the proper equipment for all conditions will be less expensive than going out and buying the various sized kites one needs in the beginning.
Will I get on the water on the first day of lessons?
All students without any kite flying experience spend about one hour on land learning correct kite setup, becoming familiar with safety systems, and flying a small 4-line bow kite. Once the student acquires basic flying skills and muscle memory during the land class, the student and instructor move to the water with the kite. Some of the skills the student will work on in the water are body dragging upwind to simulate recovering the kiteboard, relaunching the kite from the water, and self-rescuing or self-landing in the event the kite won't relaunch from the water. Should all of these skills develop in a timely manner, the student would start working on water starts..
What is the best time of day for lessons?
We recommend beginners to sign up for morning lessons due to three factors.: 1) the beach is less crowded in the morning, which makes equipment set up quicker and easier, thus maximizing time; 2) the ocean is less congested with kiteboarders in the morning, which makes the water classes more fun and less intimidating; and 3) to avoid staring into the afternoon sun, which is in the same area of the sky as the kite due to the wind direction relative to the afternoon sun.
My son and I would like to take a lesson together. Do we have to each take private lessons or can we take lessons with one instructor?
Semi-private lessons can be a fun way to learn especially if you and your son plan on continuing with the sport back home. From this course, the 2 of you will have developed a buddy system and will know how to launch and land the kite properly for one another. The rates for semi-private lessons are calculated at 1.5 x the published private rates. For example, the 1 day/3 hour private course is $210 and the 1 day/4 hour semi-private rate is 1.5 x $210 or $365. Semi-private lessons are safe and are essentially private as one student is actively involved while the other student observes and then the pair reverse roles. Semi-private lessons are available for friends or family members.
What can I do to prepare for my lesson ahead of time?
Fly a trainer kite as much as possible but be sure to watch a good training DVD like Kiteboarding For Beginners to learn which kite skills to practice and how to correctly practice them. Practice flying the kite while harnessed until you can fly it one-handed and then, when your flying skills become automated, it will be so much easier to put the board on your feet and get up and ride!
I already kiteboard. Can I rent kites?
There is no insurance policy in the USA that allows kite rentals, at this time. The sport is very new and insufficient accident/loss history has been established with the sport to convince the insurance companies to write a kite rental policy. Of course, there are insurance policies for instructional programs and at Kiting.com we provide all kiteboarding gear during lessons. Clients who provide IKO, PASA or other acceptable proof of kiteboarding skill level and can demonstrate riding upwind have the option to rent kites with our school.
To rent kites from Kiting.com, one would need to purchase personal insurance or present an IKO or PASA insurance ID number and demonstrate specific intermediate kiteboarding skills to a Kiting.com instructor or present an IKO or PASA certification card. If one doesn't possess or has forgotten the IKO or PASA certification card. Even if one does possess an IKO or PASA certification card, a skills demonstration may still be required considering Maui's wind conditions are more extreme than most other areas around the world. We charge $70/hr for our skills demonstration since you are basically taking a short lesson. Once you get checked out by one of our professional kiting instructors, you may rent equipment from us anytime that you would like.
What does FAA have to do with kiteboarding on Maui?
In September 1999, complaints to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about kiteboarding from an individual resulted in a federal ban of the sport on the north shore due to perceived violations of specific Federal Aviation Regulations. FAA officials agreed to "look the other way" and allow the sport to continue while a waiver application was under review). At the present time, that certificate of authorization or FAA waiver is in the name of an attorney who happens to be the dad of two prominent pro kiteboarder phenoms.
All kiteboarding activities in the Kite Beach area are regulated by the FASS due to the proximity to Kahului Airport. Although a waiver to those FAA regulations allows north shore kiteboarding, riders need to be aware of the one-mile wide by two-mile long FAA cooridor at the end of the airport runway extending to seaward that is expressly off-limits to kiteboarding activities. If you are already kiteboarding, please stop by the Kiting.com shop on your next kiteboarding trip to pick up a copy of the safe kiteboarding guidelines and FA
Is Kiting.com insured?
Kiting.com carries a general liability insurance policy as requied by County of Maui ordinance to qualify for a commercial ocean recreation permit.
How long has Kiting.com been in business?
Kiting.com is a licensed and insured kiteboarding school on Maui County and has been servicing the international kiteboarding community with lessons and retail kiteboarding equipment since 2007.
How much experience do Kiting.com instructors have?
All instructors for Kiting.com are highly experienced and are certified with American Red Cross in CPR/First Aid and with International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) and/or Professional Air Sports Association (PASA) and/or have been professional kiteboarders. In addition, prior to becoming certified kiteboarding instructors, Kiting.com instructors were kiteboarding recreationally for years and/or competing in local and international kiteboarding events. We believe that this is one of the most experienced group of kiting instructors anywhere in the world. Specific information and bios on our instructors can be found on the instructor's page.
What sets Kiting.com apart from other Maui kiteboarding schools?
Kiting.com, is the #1 Maui County permitted kiteboading school, distinguishes itself from other kitesurfing schools and kiteboarding shops on Maui by being the only kiting school in Hawaii to offer tandem kiteboarding and advanced foilboarding lessons in addition to the best prices! We only use state-of-the-art Cabrinha kites and boards and Alex Aguera foilboards.
AT Kiting.com, we're here for You!
Is the bow kite bridle system complicated?
Bow kites have an incredibly simple bridle system which makes the set up no different from a standard 4 line kite. You layout your flying lines and attach them to 4 color-coded leaders coming off of the kite. The simplicity and safety has improved every single year.
How do the bow kites turn?
Bow kites utilize a pivot point inside of the wingtip allowing the kite to twist, thereby creating a tighter turning radius. When turning, you just need to sheet the bar in to get the best turning results.
What does the bridle on a bow kite do?
The bridle fully supports the flat arc of the kite. This helps to keep the kite flying rock solid even when riding through choppy water and in gusty wind. The bridle also allows the kite’s angle of attack to radically change giving the kite incredible range. The bridle even allows for the angle of attack to reach a zero point where the kite stops pulling altogether giving instant depower capabilities. The interesting thing about this bridle is the way that it places equal tension on each attachment point even while depowering. Jelly fishing of the kite, which causes the kite to lose power, is also eliminated.
Are bow kites better than other kite designs?
Bow kites were first introduced mid-year 2005 by kite manufacturers and immediately Kiting.com began teaching beginners on the kites. Kiting.com instructors recognized that the quick depowering capability of bow kites (due to pulleys on the control bar and bridle lines), which allows the rider to instantly reduce power and avoid an accident, is an excellent safety feature for beginners and intermediate riders. (That same quick depower feature makes kitesurfing in the waves more fun for advanced riders). The ease in water launching the kite is another design feature that makes bow kites better for beginners. When the kite has its leading edge down on the water (or snow), you simply pull on either the left or right leader line to choose the direction you would like to launch the kite and the wingtip will rise out of the water (Please make sure your bar is pushed all the way out first).
The increased range of the bow kites is also an important factor that makes the kites so popular for all levels of experience over other designs. Kiteboarders around the globe can now accommodate most wind conditions in their riding area with only 2 kite sizes. Kites are easy enough to pack for your travels but if you can get away with taking only 2 sizes of bow kites, versus 4 of the classic design, this is a big plus.
How did kiteboarding start?
In the early 1990s, sailors and windsurfers began imagining ways to replace the sails in their respective sport with kites. Notably, Manu Bertin of France and Laird Hamilton teamed up on Maui and began experimenting with a patented water relaunchable kite developed by the Legaignoux brothers in 1985. Bertin and Hamilton built strapped boards for use with kites and began kiting downwind from Ho`okipa Beach to Kanaha Beach on Maui’s north shore. The pair created quite a stir with passerbys who would call the fire department and police to report UFO sitings. By the late 1990s, the imagination of Don Montague and the talent of Pete Cabrinha came together with Bertin's R&D and soon afterwards Cabrinha began manufacturing kites and marketing kiteboarding products internationally. The sport has grown exponentially ever since with over thirty-five kiteboarding companies manufacturing kites, boards, and other related gear.
There will be a 25% service charge on all cancellations made at least 48 hours before the scheduled activity. There are no refunds for cancellations or changes made less than 48 hours before the scheduled activity. There are no refunds for customers who fail to redeem vouchers or do not show up to the scheduled activity. A full refund will be given if the activity is cancelled due to unforeseen acts such as no wind, heavy rains, large surf, winds in excess of 35mph, or injured instructors. The customer must claim their refund within 30 days.
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