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Hello everyone my name is Blair. I am really diggin' this site and it's local flavor. On to my question:
I am new to kiting, very new. I have yet to get on the water. I have taken an intro lesson at the end of the '03 season. I plan on taking the rest of my lessons from Nat (edge kiteboarding) when he gets back from mexico. My background consists of a lot of snowboarding and a handful of times out wakeboarding. No sailing or windsurfing experience. What does everyone think would be some good goals to meet for this year.
Is going upwind something that should take a year? (i hope not)
I plan on riding at least once a week (although that will probably change once i get some air :D .
I really would appreciate any comments or feedback.
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Kiting is really it's own sport so coming from a background of windsurfing, snowboarding, etc won't do much for you to learn the basics right away. However, I came from a windsurfing background and the one thing that I took from windsurfing is respect for the wind! You have no idea how much power the wind can generate until you get involved with wind sports. Being massively overpowered on a windsurfer is really no big deal. You hang on and just make it back to shore. Being massively overpowered on a kite is extremely dangerous. Many times beginners with no prior wind knowledge go out in conditions that are not suited for them because they haven't yet learned to respect the wind. The consequences can be deadly!
Having said that, being able to stay up wind is a very acheivable goal for a first season. I would even guess that you will be landing some jumps by the end of season! It all depends on your learning ability and how much time you can dedicate to kiting. As a beginner, you are confined to only a few places where you can safely kite (Alameda for example) therefore, my suggestion to you is take a week long vacation to a kiting destination and try to get 4 or 5 hours a day of kiting. That translate to probably 2-3 months of kiting at home as the wind does not always cooperate with your schedule. When you come back you'll be able to kite pretty much whereever and will learn much faster.
Talk with people at the beach, ask questions. Most kiters are very friendly and will gladly help you out.
Good luck and post away if you have any other questions.
Everything depends on what you put into it. Taking a few lessons and spending at least 2-3 days/week at the beach riding will get you on your way to progress. Staying upwind is a realistic goal to set for the season, but just as important are the other things that don't directly affect your riding, like spending enough time at the beach with your gear to always be comfortable and confident in your kite handling, launching and landing, relaunching, knowing how to take action if things get out of control, maintaining the safety of others, etc. All of those things are just as important as anything else and will make you a better kiter, so take a few lessons, and take your time.
When you take lessons with Nat you will condense a whole lot of the learning curve into one day. You will probably be staying upwind in a few hours, not weeks. When he takes you upwind to the "secret spot" like he does, you have the opportunity to lose a lot of ground in one session. This makes it possible to do a ton of waterstarts/broad-reaches in an hour, all the while knowing that you will be picked up or re-launched if you get in trouble. His venue is very safe since you're upwind of water-only. Believe me, this is key in kiting! It's the immobile objects you will learn to avoid.
One other thought: Donny and Sandy are already up and running at the same locale and the Delta wind has been great this week. They have a website for contact info (I believe it's kitopia.net or biz or sumpin-sumpin).
Good luck! Your goals should definitely include staying upwind, dry-kite sessions and jumping by Summer's end, if not sooner.
thanks for the input guys. I really like BigAl's idea of spending a week of kiting. I have done some talking at the beach with kiteboarders who knew what they were doing. I'm told that just hanging at the beach and landing kites for others goes a long way. I was kind of timid about doing so because i didn't know how to do it so I didn't.
I hear the safety thing loud and clear. I don't want to get myself or others hurt and damage any respect that kiteboarding has with the public.
BigAl I got a taste of the power of the wind when i was flying my trainer kite durring my lesson. I was thinking this is a 1m kite and i have to plant my feet or i will fall over, what kind of power will i get with a kite that is 10 times as big?!!!! It really validated the cost of the lessons i will take.
Fearlu, I thought that the $10 downwinders would be a good deal for me like you stated. It is reassuring for a beginner like myself that it's not always going to be about crashing the kite and dragging myself through the water. I don't know what a dry kite session is. I do know that kitopia is up and running for the '04 season. Nothing against them but I like Nat so i am going to stick with him.
I am a kiteboarding grom.
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