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Are trainer kites worth it?

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:02 pm
by mbergen
I just moved to Alameda, and I'm thinking of taking up this great sport next season. In order to get a jump on things, I was thinking about getting a trainer kite to practice with during the winter, so when I take lessons in the spring I'll have some kite skills.

I'm a paraglider pilot, so I have an understanding of flying a wing, reading the wind, etc., and I also understand how important it is to have muscle-memory level skill with the wing/kite.

My questions are:
1. Does it make sense to work with a trainer kite over the winter? Are they similar enough to real kites in their flight characteristics that doing so will make it easier to learn how to kiteboard?

2. If it does make sense, should I get a 2 line or a 4 line?

3. Where would you recommend getting one from, and what makes/models would you recommend. I'm about 200 pounds, and don't plan to use it for snow or skating, just to practice for kiteboarding.

4. How much should I expect to pay for a good trainer kite?

Thanks in advance for your opinions!

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:09 pm
by davewsail
Yes, get a trainer. If you just want to use it for practice, get a cheap 2-line kite (T-foil has a cheap one ~$40) and go at it. You need to be able to fly the kite with your eyes closed and pull off the normal kite maneuvers like sining easily before you go to a full size kite and board. The more time you spend practicing, the less time you'll be paying someone in your lessons for basic kite skills.

When Bruce was teaching me on the levee last year he had a saying: "I charge the same for swimming lessons as kiteboarding lessons." His point was to practice enough ahead of time so you're not swimming.

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:01 pm
by airess
there are a lot of similarities between kiting a paraglider wing and an inflatable kite for kiteboarding. i sent you a PM with more details

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:38 pm
by adamrod
meh, it's important to practice with one, but after 3 or 4 days, you've got all you're gonna get out of it. if you can borrow one, it might be better.

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:38 pm
by reyrivera
If you buy one, get a 3 meter trainer kite. You can use it for land boarding if you decide to keep it. You will outgrow a 2 meter trainer kite after a few hours of flying.

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:53 pm
by windhorny
It is in general bad advise to say, nah, dont bother with atrainer kite. But the reality is that certain people have more inate knowledge and pick it up quicker. You need to know a hell of a lot more about the wind than a kiter does but they are still different sports and doing something wrong could hurt you or others around you. Like Rey says, if you get a 3 meter, it is at least still good for a traction kite on land. The other thing nice about the foils is self reliance. With any inflatable you will need to have a helper and want to be in the water when playing around. One alternative might be to get a 7 or 8 meter LEI and practice on a 15mph day out on the water. Once you feel comfortable go get a larger one and use the 7/8 for the storms.

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:25 pm
by super_monkey
As it happens, I have an 8m kite for sale that my 100lb girlfriend learned on. Make me a reasonable offer :)