Water lesson at KWS

San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding lessons, learning and support.

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Postby dewey » Fri May 12, 2006 5:38 pm

max wrote:thanks andy
I did end up getting a voicemail from Jeff yesterday and I talked to him today. He offered a complementary lesson, which I'll definitely be doing. I may have jumped the gun posting! I sent off my email them on sunday, so I thought I was getting blown off; I didnt realize that they were having mail server problems and a backlog of email. Also, having discussed the options for kites, decided to take the lesson on a switchblade rather than a TD.


So going public should not be your first course of action. Remeber the kiting community is small and we depend on each other. Try to work it out first. If you get totally screwed go public.
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Postby OliverG » Fri May 12, 2006 6:04 pm

max wrote:thanks andy
I did end up getting a voicemail from Jeff yesterday and I talked to him today. He offered a complementary lesson, which I'll definitely be doing. I may have jumped the gun posting! I sent off my email them on sunday, so I thought I was getting blown off; I didnt realize that they were having mail server problems and a backlog of email. Also, having discussed the options for kites, decided to take the lesson on a switchblade rather than a TD.


I've had mails bounce back from them before also, sometimes I'm not sure if they're getting them or not... depending on email is risky, I've had it work against me a few times...
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Postby max » Sat May 13, 2006 12:41 am

Not to draw this out any more since I'm definitely happy with KWS customer service now that Jeff called me and we talked things over.. but Dewey, did you read my posts? "going public" was *not* my first course of action. And depending on email when dealing with a business really should not be risky; if I were Jeff I would be extremely pissed off that their email was down/bouncing and be knocking some ISP heads together!
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Postby dewey » Sat May 13, 2006 6:40 am

max wrote:Not to draw this out any more since I'm definitely happy with KWS customer service now that Jeff called me and we talked things over.. but Dewey, did you read my posts? "going public" was *not* my first course of action. And depending on email when dealing with a business really should not be risky; if I were Jeff I would be extremely pissed off that their email was down/bouncing and be knocking some ISP heads together!


Yeah I hear ya. Really as long as you get out and get stoked on kiting thats all that matters. I just take offence to guys that are new to the sport and put out a negitive vibe. Like I said posting some thing negitive should be a LAST resort.
Good that you got things sorted. I know Jeff will take care of you.
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Learning methodology

Postby gnukid » Tue May 16, 2006 2:17 pm

It seems many students/schools pursue one of the methods extensively but don't always combine the methods effectively for students. For example, one should begin learning to kite by watching, reading, visualizing then pursue ground school, initially learning about gear, etiquette, geography, wind, location, navigation, issues and in general about the safety options to release the kite, launch, land, relaunch and return to shore independently. Perhaps momentarily with a trainer as needed, but not necessarily at length since they are quite different in motion and response to large kites. In some cases when time permits small trainers provide an excellent experience for some people, especially smaller people. Too much time unsupervised in the class on small 1-2m tranier kites teaches bad habits to people learning to kite full size C kites in the same session. Such as flying across the whole window (never do it) and flying too agressively on land, with too much bar movement. The student should be understanding the difference between being cautious and reserved in their movements toward being more aggresive when safe and approriate as they enter the water but not on land, ever. Very quickly, after one-two hours, it would be nice if the student could move from a safe ground lesson to a water based class with jet ski/boat support to move them to safe waters where there is wind with some consideration for their comfort level in open seas or preferably in flatter water.

It seems in the bay area and especially in the delta, some schools now focus on jet ski lessons without the preparation in advance and without a clear lesson on ground based etiquette, negotiating the beach, dealing with the LMG factor etc... planning your launch, landing and backup plans. The issue is that you have a large number of people learning how to have someone prep and launch their kite and try to get up with lots of help and encouragement (nice) however, the newbies don't get a well rounded growth plan toward being independent and safe in the process of learning. And you can't teach them later about safety, etiquette and consdieration for others once they know how to kite and have bad habits.

The aforementioned method with focus on jet ski and little land time or understanding of the wind, conditions and situation and little independence forces students to extend the classes as dependent on instructors with boats (frustrating) and finally teaches them to kite without any idea of how to launch and return to Alameda or Sherman. Unfortunately, there is little review of classes and little honest discussion of the responsibilty of the student and teacher to others and to becoming independent. A student teacher follow-up discussion after the first independent session by phone or by mail should be a part of the plan.

There are now schools who have teachers who can kite, but who never learned ettiquete properly, who never studied how to teach, and simply take you for a joy ride on the ski and whip the kite around and bang your done, less $450, obviously needing to call them again or someone else. Nice work if you can get it!

Excellent open discussion. Hope this encourages more honesty about goals and responsibilty between teachers and students. It is not about getting up way out in the bay right away. Most people will require 6-12 hours of supervised practice and many will have lots of issues before they can effectively kite independently. Do your homework and ask that the instructor provide a safe location on land and a safe location on water to practice.

You have the rest of your life to kite, if you learn effectively and build on a methodology that makes you independent.

Have fun,

Paul
Ooto KiteSurfing School
http://ooto.com

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Last edited by gnukid on Tue May 16, 2006 3:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby andyandmarlys » Tue May 16, 2006 2:36 pm

At KWS, our first day is on the land in a safe remote location away from people.. We start with either a 2.2m or 3.6m trainer and progress to a 5m LEI over 3-4 hours. We teach landing and launching from land, talk about ediquitte and prepare our students for the water lesson. Most students are ready for the water, some need more practice on land and will be invited to a second land lesson for no charge...

Our water lessons can be suited to the student and can be low medium or high wind lessons depending on the needs of the student.

As for qualified teachers, our instructors include a school teacher with a masters degree in education, a certified captain and sailing instructor, a flight instructor, and a former gymnastics coach.
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Lessons

Postby gnukid » Tue May 16, 2006 2:55 pm

Absolutely no offense to any specific school. I know that each are awesome. I really mean it when I say, I know that all the schools are doing their best to do a great job. I also know that students put tremendous pressure on teachers to alter the plan or short cut the lessons.

There are however tendencys presently, due to limitations of space and time that push even the best instructors towards a method which is not best for the students, generally skipping by much of the first half of the lessons which is the most important part..
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Postby kitechick » Tue May 16, 2006 5:40 pm

:roll: Those youth are just spoiled..so let granny kiting say a word....

here is how I learned in "the good old times"...

1. Saw kiters, got excited, bought 2.8 m traction kite (call it trainer kite)

2. Flew the kite on my own in way too much wind and not enough wind.
Wrapped beachgoers into the kite and met nice people this way. Did everything wrong. But...after like 10-20 hour of wild fun (mixed with desparation) I had full control. Could fly the kite with eyes closed, one handed, lying on my belly or back, do any manoeuver.

3. Took a lesson for the "big kite". Spring 2001.... a 2 hour lesson covered it all. On a 2 line kite (haha...you kids have no idea how good you have it with those modern 4 line kites....). Kite flew very different than the trainer but mastering the bucking trainer kite before gave me enough "muscle memory" to learn quickly how to deal with this one here.

4. Loved to be dragged under wanter, playing with seaweed and getting pummeled on land.

5. Bought kite (2line) and board and practiced every possible minute. Did not die or get injured...(wew...lucky!), had plenty kitemares.
Got pummeled and had no success for many weeks. Enjoyed every second of it :shock: . Made the coolest friends ever! :P
Besides lame kiteskills I had zero boardskills. LMG gave me his skateboard to practice.

6. Got addicted to kiting...seriously. Nothing else mattered. Bailed on dates. Bailed on family. Was lucky with my job :-)

7. Many weeks later got a new kite (4 line, larger) and...had perfect kite skills from all the "fruitless" atempts before. Got on the board, went upwind immediately.

8. Played with all the cool kiting buddies in the water as much as possible for many years
9. Became a decent kiter
10. Found the man of my life while kiting!
11. Spent all my money and time on kiting - it was always worth it.
12. Still love it, even when I get pummeled or can't get a trick done. Get grumpy when there is not enough wind (like this year)

The lesson learned? Don't whine, just do it. Practice, practice, practice. Anything what looks like a kite will do. Go out and enjoy, don't complain. There will be lots of frustration, you'll swallow lot of water and unidentified objects.
Well....Others are never in charge for your success or level of happiness in anything. If it's right for you then you will know from the first second on. It's only up to you to make the best out of it and to enjoy. Well - like everything I guess. Kiting is Zen. 8)

That being said....it is essential to having had a good kite lesson to get you started. Good for me means...focusing on safety, how to set up and handle the equipment and understanding some basic manoevers on land and in the water. If in addition you get a taste of how wind and water are then you got a lot already. Yes, you may need to swim, yes you breath in water.... :mrgreen:

Finally let me challenge this marketing thing.....A good lesson for me does not have anything to do with the fact whether you can get up on the board and go upwind or not right after the lesson. That expectation is a bit unrealistic, very few can. Who knows what kitemares they will run into. :mrgreen:
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Postby bobbyboom » Thu May 18, 2006 12:01 am

I had a land and water lesson at KWS and I have to say everyone there has been tremendously helpful. Andy was awesome and even drew a diagram showing the flight pattern the kite should take when you are powering it up for a water start. For a visual learner like me this was golden!

Since this is my first watersport I did not get up on the board the first time but I'm okay because I learned self rescue, upwind and downwind body drag and how to relax overall in the water.

Scott was great too and Wes was an all around great instructor. I can't say enough good things about KWS as they've been extremely helpful for a newbie like me. I bought my gear today and they walked me through every inch of it.

I'm not quite standing up on the board quite yet, but I'm pretty damn pumped to give it the time to be able to ride like some of the folks I've seen at Alameda and Berkeley.

-Bobby
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Postby panzerfaust » Thu May 18, 2006 8:54 am

hmm, for what it's worth, my KWS lessons were great. I did fly all kinds of trainer kites for weeks before hand. Maybe you are expecting to be touched by the devine hand and start doing handle-passes after the first lesson?
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