San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding lessons, learning and support.
Hey guys. I am looking to schedule my first lessons for just after I land on the 18th of June. I was looking into doing a Saturday Sunday and Monday with Boardsports over in Alameda.
3 hours sat semi-private land lesson, 3 hours sun semi-private water lessons and 2 hours monday for their board lessons to hone in my boarding skills.
I'm thinking that since I will be starting in Alameda that may be the best place for me to get lessons. I have heard some suggest going with a provider that offers jetski assisted lessons in the event that wind is not present.
I know this road has been crossed before and the questions asked but...
Can anyone make any other recommendations on who to school with?
What have your experiences with the trainers/company been?
It's a chunk of dough and I want to make sure I get the best bang for my buck.
Desired things to learn: Self-launch, self-land, what to do when the oh $h!t happens, body dragging upwind to recover board, water relaunching, water self rescue and safety on the water with other kiters.
Being that Alameda is crowded that may help me with learning to kite around others???
I definitely don't want to get out there and not be able to kite due to lack of winds. 3 hours of watching a kite do nothing on the ground or bob in the water does not sound cool at all.
I like the idea of the Jetski assisted for my water lessons so maybe I could do land lessons with one company and water with another. What's messing me up is I don't see how you can setup your kite on/in the water. I'm guessing you setup on the beach then drag out and the jetski follows on your downwinder but if there is no wind then you cant setup on the beach and drag out right?
Love to hear your feedback. You have all been an excellent resource of information. Can't WAIT to get on the water and tear it up.
Last edited by NewBkiter on Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Oh, one more thing a bit unrelated. How do I get ahold of Sonny at 3rd? Does he work out of a store out there? I have a kite that needs a bladder replaced. I know you all told me to avoid it but it was 2 kites and a board all my size for $350.
If you are asked to give your credit card to cHarge the fee when you reserve your lesson, ask what the policy is on refunds if there is no wind. It will be frustrating to be sitting on a big lesson credit when there is wind elsewhere. Alternatives that I can personally recommend- Wind Over Water on the Peninsula - uses jetskis. Sheldon Kiteboarding - does not use jetskis, but you will get your lesson with the owner himself who has to be one of the most experienced instructors anywhere. Ask about his gear discount for students. I am not affiliated with either school.
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Sorta like kite brands, everyone seems to have their favorite schools.I have experience with many of the schools in the bay area and I think its safe to say that they all have their pros and cons but you'll get good solid instruction from all of them on the required aspects of safety, technique, etc. Most or all schools will reschedule in the event of no wind and also offer discounts on gear.
I definitely agree that jetski support is important - once you do the land lesson and body dragging you'll want to be in the water doing water starts until you're riding, and having the instructor following along with you is invaluable. I think Boardsports now has jetskis at their Coyote Point location, so you might ask them if you can do your water lesson(s) over there.
Although sometimes maligned, Alameda is a decent place to learn - lots of people start there and graduate to other locations. The wind can be light, esp. later in the season, but usually plenty to do land lessons. Then again, Alameda wind has been pretty awesome so far this week...
One of the Boardsports jetski instructors is Bruce, who is also a local rep for F-One kites. I have no first-hand experience with his teaching, but he's a very personable guy and seems to have a lot of know-how. I have studied with Tim (non-jetski) who I recommend highly.
No commercial affiliation, just a satisfied customer.
I wouldn't expect to learn self-launch or self-land in a beginner lesson--those are considered more advanced skills. Yes, Alamada is a good place when you're starting out because, aside from the forgiving nature of the beach, there are usually plenty of folks around to help you out.
I know that for at least one company, you ride on the jetski with kite and lines packed up--when you get out to the lesson site, they pump up the kite and unroll the lines right there, and off you go. I believe that with Boardsports you can do a downwinder from Coyote to Third. But I'd recommend you talk to whoever you're considering to find out what they each offer and determine what suits you the best.
Call Nat at Edge Kiteboarding at Sherman Island ((775) 721-1132). The wind is much more predictable, the water and air temperature are warm, and he isn't as intent on selling you equipment as are the gals at Boardsports.
Tunces - The driving cat!
I can't say enough about Kitopia up at Sherman Island. http://www.kitopia.biz/ The wind, the water and the general approach to teaching is second to none! I took lessons on the bay and in mexico and in the delta, and they were far and away the most complete and safety focused teachers. Another thing, the delta is by far a better environment to learn, they take you way upwind of any other kiters, so you're all alone, warm air, warm water, and GREAT wind. Definitely come back to the bay to practice at alameda, it's a great place to hone your upwind skills since there's no penalty for failure, but to start you will not find a better spot than the delta. Take a weekend and lock down a saturday and sunday lesson, you'll love it for sure.
Don't consider lessons til you've flown a trainer kite for 10 hours, and 350 seems like way to little to pay for kites and a board. You don't need gear yet, but that's enough outta me. Hit the delta, and learn to play the violin
I'll second the shout out to Nat Lincoln of Edge Kiteboarding. 775-721-1132.
He's a mellow guy and really tuned into being safe.
Nat's situation is he boats you upwind about 3 miles to an island with a big launch site. You can fly trainers, real kites and learn the rigging, safety systems, etc., without any crowds or interruptions.
One you're ready for water time, you've got plenty of room downwind (i.e. 3 miles) for body dragging/board riding without a soul to get in the way (or for you to get in the way of). He follows in the boat with a radio helmet, so he's in communication the whole time.
Water and air temps are warm and wind is very consistent.
Worked for me...
Be totally confident with a trainer first or your lessons are a waste of $. Then go see Nat. @ Sherman
I'm shooting them an email now to ask a bunch of questions. Seems several of you encourage the use of kitopia. I was hoping to see something like that with one company or another. No pressure on the sales end is definitely good so I can focus on everything they teach instead of being ready to be on the defensive in the sales arena.
I am well beyond the 10 hours of trainer kiting at the recommendation of every school and poster on this forum. It's a blast! Tracing clouds and tree lines, vertical and horizontal figure-8's etc etc.
I thought the 350 was a bit low for gear as well but if all I get out of it worth a darn is the board I am pretty happy with the deal.
Dude, play the violin? Is that just a clever use for the smiley or what? Laughing here. I had to read that a couple times.
Thanks again for the feedback/suggestions.
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