San Francisco Bay Area kiteboarding lessons, learning and support.
I think it all depends on what you mean by "master the trainer kite"
interpretation 1: You learn to fly the kite, can control it, can make it do figure 8s, can launch and land with it.
interpretation 2: You can do everything in #1, but you can also fly the kite with your eyes closed for several minutes. You can fly the kite with one hand while holding a conversation with a beautiful woman. You can spin around with the kite above you. you can pass the bar behind your back without dropping the kite. You can run around with the kite in one hand, let go of it, spin 360 degrees and catch the bar again.
most people choose route #1. This is sufficient. It teaches you how to fly a kite. I believe this is what EvanOR is talking about. However, if you can do #2, it will help you considerably.
So, Jay83, it's up to you. If you're just gonna fool around with a trainer for a few days, no, it's not worth buying one. better off just borrow one for a day and then spend the money on lessons. if you want to get the most out of your lessons, commit to mastering that trainer. really mastering it. I'm serious about the eyes closed thing.
I learned to kiteboard on a 2 line ram-air foil. If you dropped it in the water, your session was over and it was time to swim. For that reason, I spent months with the trainer and got insanely good at it. When it got time to get in the water, I never dropped the kite...Trainers were crucial back then, because you wouldn't dare get in the water without stellar kite control skills. (esp cause there were no lessons or jet skis to come to your aid). Nowadays, the new kites relaunch and the lessons are awesome, so you can learn those same kite control skills on the water with a real kite.
So, in response to your question about KWS saying to get a kite and WOW saying you don't need one? they're both right. You'll maximize your lessons if you practice with a trainer first, but you don't need to. Just remember, if a lesson is 6 hours and you're a rockstar on land, then you end up with say 5.5 hours of water time. If you suck on land and have to learn to fly the trainer, then you have say 4 hours of water time.
so, if you end up borrowing a trainer, fly it with your eyes closed with one hand. it's the most valuable practice the trainer can give you IMHO.
Liquid Force Kites/Boards
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By CHANCE you may be the 1 out of 30 people that intuitively can fly a kite. Even then it will still take you a minimum of an hour to get to the point of competency. This point is well defined. You have to do the following and while only looking at your feet in 10 mph or better wind. Hold the trainer steady at the 1 o'clock position slowly move it to 11 o'clock and hold. Then back to 1 and repeat 3 times without losing control of the trainer. When you can do this you are ready for lessons.
Those that have the cash can always pay someone to get them to this basic skill level. Important point here. Kiteboarding requires a decent level of independence. If you cannot manage to learn how to use a trainer kite then this is an important indicator. Why? If you require the assistance of an instructor to teach you how to get to this skill level then there is a HIGH probability 95% or greater that you will not ever be a kiteboarder. This does not mean you should not get help launching your trainer and get you going or start by taking group lessons with a trainer. These are all awesome and fun but usually do not get you to the point of mastering which is typically done independent of formal instruction.
Again if you are that 1 in 30 that master the trainer quick and can obtain the skill described above and you did so after purchasing a trainer then..... Land it gently and return it to the shop you got it from. KWS and most shops will take the kite back and set you up with lessons. Be sure to return it undamaged and essentially in new condition. Else, you can always sell them super quick at 35% off what you purchased it for.
I have been teaching for 8 years and I know one important fact. Those that master the trainer kite ALWAYS do better in lessons and learn the sport faster.
Ex- Kite Shop Owner
I tend to agree with Evan again on this one. Either buy a large trainer, one that will pull you a little so you cant just spin it without consequence or better buy a really small LEI kite-5-7meter. JUST HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TO HELP YOU LAUNCH AND LAND IT. Dont be like the alameda monkey kite crew that continues to experiment with modified craigslist trash and smacking the kite in front of beach goers. THis is all around bad for everyone in the long run.
I think Jeff has is on it. Todays kites are for sure easier to fly then older kites, but kite control is still necessary and practicing it with an instructor looks like the most expensive way to do it.
6 hours lesson without flying a trainer and 5.5 hours on the water? That’s wishful thinking.
I saw last year too many guys in third upper launch that did not respond well to kite moving around, instead of steering it out of the power zone steered it directly in and you know what comes next. And those were not yuris alameda monkeys. Guys with brand spanking new kites. Just did not have enough kite control to actually handle the kite.
IMO the important skill is to control the kite in the window. The power/depower functions and harness is something you get very quickly if you know how to fly a kite properly, and I would not buy an expensive kite just for that reason.
Something about 2-3 meters has some power, so you get used to the pull, in addition to the window control. And you learn to respect the kite, even more important.
A missing piece here is that trainers are flat out fun to fly. I bought a 2M trainer for my daugher years after I've already been kiting, and I take the thing everywhere I go, along with my skateboard. You never know when you'll be stuck on land with an hour to kill and the wind is blowing. IMO a fun $120 purchase whether it helps learn or not.
I am sure if you approach in a amiable manner many will be more then happy to share the stoke. Enjoy the ride.... the first two years are the best in my opinion. I wish I could turn the clock back and start all over again. I envy you.
Ex- Kite Shop Owner
I suggest you work on pattern flying with a trainer before lessons..
The people that learn this sport fastest are those with stunt kite experance, surfing or wake boarding experance is good also but it's really about FLYIN THE KITE!
First work on figure 8's over head. Then 8's on each side. Get to the point where you can hold the kite just off the ground for extended periods of time on each side. Now work on power moves.. Fly the kite from 1:30 across and DOWN HARD across the powerzone then pump the kite up and down 3x's tell it pulls you hard... Get used to getting PULLED.. Keep the bar horazonal, hands close to the middle.. Work on flying the kite one handed while running sideways to the wind.. Work on solid but smooth power stokes... THen do all this again while closing your eyes.....
Use the trainer as often as possable BEFORE your lesson.. This developes MUSCLE MEMORY....
Remember to release the bar (with safety system or real leash attatched) when your about to crash the kite..Dont hammer it into the ground.. Train yourself to RELEASE the kite when in trouble
Jay83, what are you waiting for? The season is ON.
On the trainer kite prior to lessons question, I think it basically gets you an extra hour of instruction (the hour you didn't spend smacking a trainer into the ground while learning kite control). That extra hour is quite valuable (expert telling you things you would otherwise learn more slowly), but either way you will be ready to start learning on your own after the lesson package.
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