The beauty about kitesurfing is that every day is different, every session is a new experience. Some days you will have insane wind with huge gusts. Other days you might have light wind. And then there are those days, when everything just comes together, you are one with the elements, the waves are just perfect, the wind is just right for your kite size and you are in complete flow.
Since not every day is the perfect day here are some ideas on how to make every session a memorable one, no matter what the conditions are like. This is your guide to having more fun on the water.
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Preparation is king
// Check that wind! Also right before you are heading to the spot (if you have a long drive)
Even though I know the wind forecast is sometimes quite inaccurate, check it to get a “tendency” of what the wind will be like. Unsure which kite sizes to take? My tactic: just take them all if you have enough space in the car and your car can safely be parked at the spot. I usually check windfinder
and plan with the average between those two ?
// Prepare for the weather
It’s probably going to be a rainy, cold session
? Pack a kite surf windbreaker jacket for before/after the session, a neoprene kite hat and booties if it gets really cold. Take a warm poncho
with you for after the session and maybe prepare a tea in the thermos.
? Don’t be fooled, the sun will still get through so take enough sunscreen with you, maybe even go for a Zinc Stick
if you know you’re very sensitive.
// Progress every session
Kitesurfing is always about progressing. In the beginning you are just focused on heading upwind, it’s simply exciting to ride back and forth and not fall into the water and lose your board. The more we progress the more we want to learn. So think about tricks or little twists you can do in strong wind and in light wind or with flat water and waves.
- Are you a beginner/ on your way to intermediate looking to learn the first tricks? Here is a cool video with 5 Tricks for you to learn.
- Not feeling like advancing big time today? How about just adding some style to your sessions with different kinds of transitions? Or go for those board grabs and board-offs for the tricks you already know!
- You’re feeling like you want to try to unhook this session for the first time? Here is a video on how to learn your first unhooked tricks.
// Try new stuff according to the conditions
Think of progressing according to wind strengths
. Why differentiate? Well, light wind
is e.g. pretty good if you have a big and stable kite and want to practice your first unhooked raileys
. Try that with strong wind and a small kite and every wrong movement will end with a big fat crash ? If you try e.g. a dark slide
(without the kite loop, just with kite movement) in strong wind
on the contrary, it will benefit you since it is easier to learn this trick with more wind. So look for kite videos to inspire you and think of some tricks you want to learn on your next session.
Choosing the right kitesurf equipment for the session
// Check your Equipment from time to time
There is nothing more annoying than going for that session and realizing some part is broken or you’re missing a fin. Or one of your lines/bridle breaks while kiting – that happened to me, I checked it right before the session and thought about changing it soon. Well I should’ve before that session because there was a lot of swimming involved. If you need more tips on how to have a safer kiteboard session, check out my article on kitesurfing safety
Just take a quick look at your kite, bridles, lines, depower line and safety system, footpads and footstraps and fins every once in a while.
//Take a kite range with you – and if you own some, different board types
Always take a few kite sizes for the wind range to be safe to have the right one with you. There is nothing more annoying than standing at the spot and not having the right kite size. Also I like to take a surfboard and twin tip sometimes to my sessions – if the wind is a little too little for my twin tip or I feel like I’m exhausted from all the jumping, I just switch to a surfboard and have way more fun on it in that situation.
Have the right kitesurf mindset when you go on the water
// Leave your problems and worries at the land
You had a really crappy day at work, you had a fight with a family member or your partner, on the way to the spot you were in traffic and now that you’re finally at the spot you’re just angry and frustrated about your day? Stay right where you are. Breathe all that sh*** out and leave it on land. If you go into the water with a bad attitude, you won’t have a pleasant session or – worst case – accidents happen. So take a moment, clear your mind and go out for the best session ever.
// A bad session is better than no session
No matter how nasty it gets: every session out on the water is better than no session! Just five good minutes can sometimes make worth all the drive and hassle to get there. Your line broke and you’ve been swimming for 30 minutes? Well at least you were in the ocean, swimming ?
// See challenges as part of the game
Just picture all those challenges as fun. If the wind is gusty as hell, try playing in it anyway. Never underestimate the signs of nature though, but go crazy within the safe zone! Waves are messy? Try riding them like clean ones anyway. Wind is gusty? Try doing your signature move and land it softly without crashing. Think of all the challenges as part of the game and you will (almost) always have fun on the water.
As the saying goes: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” (Phil Edwards) So no matter how the conditions are, go out there and have fun!
// Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn
Sometimes no trick will work. You wont learn that new trick you were planning to. Instead you just crashed for what feels the hundredth time. The only solution is: smile. Even when you don’t feel like it! It tricks your brain into releasing endorphins and neurotransmitters whih reduce your body tension and increase the probability that you’ll land the next trick. If you want to read more about it, there’s a pretty awesome article on the Neuroscience of Surfing.
Photo Credit: Annie Kress
How to adapt to the conditions at the spot
// You arrived at the spot and the conditions are… tough?
It’s raining, the storm is coming and it’s cold outside? Put on some gangsta rap (or whatever music makes you pumped), go out and do it! Pushing your boundaries will give you the best feeling ever, an adventurous session will sometimes make you so much more proud and happy than one in perfect conditions ever will!
// Stormy, cold and rainy
Sometimes you arrive at a spot and nature is kind of telling you not to go in: it’s raining, it’s cold, the wind is gusty. Well I’ll tell you, those were always kind of the best sessions! Not because it was “great kitesurfing” or I could pull crazy tricks, but because it is such an amazing feeling to be out in nature, in-between the danger and safe zone
(know where to go out though!), feeling ALIVE
, feeling free and being in the moment. Every minute of riding is an adventure. And it will definitely help you improve your skills for those calmer sessions, it will stretch your boundaries and you will grow. PLus, you’ll probably just have to share the spot with a few kitesurfers.
// Super gusty winds
Again, like in the cold and rainy conditions, kiting in gusty winds will help you progress much faster afterwards. You can easily do all your tricks in good wind? Try them in the “bad” conditions, I promise you will be quite challenged at first.
// Big shore break or huge waves
While trying to get into the water you’re being washed and full of sand before you even started the session? Again, see it as a challenges to conquer those waves. Or to start jumping to easily pass them. This is the time to learn jumping?
// The wind drops right after you went to the water
Ok, I agree, those are the most annoying moment in a kitesurfer’s life. The upside? You will have a lot of frustrated kitesurfer around you as well, who probably want to talk about that annoying moment. This is the easiest moment to meet new people ? Grab a drink and make new friends!
What’s your tactics on making your kite session great?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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