Learn to Kiteboard with a Trainer Kite

Published: 02nd May 2012
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There are primarily two reasons why a trainer kite is the most budget-friendly way to get started in the exciting hobby of kiteboarding. Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an adventure surface water sport that combines windsurfing, paragliding, surfing, wakeboarding and gymnastics into one extreme activity.

Using a trainer kite to work your way towards being a seasonal kiteboarder is effective because first, it will allow you to practice fully your kite flying skills. Having the right set of kite flying skills is necessary for you to advance on to using a full sized kiteboarding kite.

Secondly, a trainer kite is a cost-effective alternative to your new kitesurfing gear during your first days of learning to kiteboard. Being a beginner, you’re at a bigger risk of damaging your kite. You wouldn’t want to waste a thousand dollar kiteboarding kite, for sure. A trainer kite costs a lot less should it suffer wear and tear from your early days of practice.

Coming into the world of kiteboarding with at least some kite flying experience will speed up your learning pace. A 4-10 hour training using a trainer kite is highly recommended. After all, kiteboarding involves 80% kite flying. So it’s best that before you try and put a kiteboard on your feet, spend some time with your trainer kite to increase your chances of not crashing your full sized kite in the water.

Maximize your trainer kite to successfully learn how to kiteboard

Trainer Kite Flying Basics

First you need to choose an ideal beach or field to fly at – the bigger and more open the space is, the better. The kite won’t fly very well if there are buildings or trees between you and the wind. Flying the kite in a small field, say in the middle of a busy town, isn’t usually favourable. Frozen lakes work great, however, you may need to walk a bit into the center.

Next step is to take out your trainer kite from its bag and lay it on the ground with the bridle lines facing up while the trailing edge is facing the wind. To prevent the kite from blowing away, you may place sand on the trailing edge or have someone assist you to hold the kite’s back with the leading edge facing up into the wind.

Then, unwind the lines from the bar as you walk into the wind. Make sure no twists or knots are present before launch. If there are, untangle the lines first.

Go back to the bar and if a safety leash is necessary, attach it. Firmly pull on the bar to launch your kite.

Flying your trainer kite is much like riding a bike. When you pull left, the kite will likewise turn left. Pull right and it will also turn right. The leading edge is just like the bike’s front wheel. Wherever it is pointed, it will be the direction as to where the kite will go.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

* You will crash your trainer kite! Simply walk over and set it up again for re-launch. Try not to directly crash it downwind as the seams may blow out of the kite at 50 miles per hour. Kites do move that fast.

* Wind can at times be smooth or bumpy much like a road. Expect that your trainer kite may behave and fly smoothly one and act weirdly the next. It’s because of the changes in the wind.

* Take extra caution in high winds. Even a small trainer kite develops much power. The popular 3.6 meter Beamer trainer will let a 200-lb person jump a 6-10 feet forward when the winds are greater than 18 miles per hour. Remember to always make room (3-5 line lengths) for evasive action.

* Having someone to assist you in launching your trainer kite is always great. So don’t forget to share your kite with them and remind them to move immediately after your kite is launched for safety.

* Don’t be frustrated when you can’t at once learn how to fly your trainer kite. You don’t become an expert flier in five minutes. Most people take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to learn.

* You will always encounter twists and loops in the lines. Most trainer kites can still fly properly even with two or three loops. To untwist the lines, you can either spin your body quickly around or fly a complete loop in the other direction.

Improve your skills with advance trainer kite techniques

After learning the basics of flying your trainer kite, here are some things you can practice and enhance for further skill and muscle memory development:

1. Power Stroke – this is your key to getting up on that board and ride. This motion aims to develop your muscle memory so that you can turn your kite around before crashing on water or land.

When working on the power stroke, keep your center of gravity behind your feet. Avoid getting pulled forward into a running position. You should slide forward on your feet.

Take the trainer kite to noon position in the wind window and fly it down to 3 o’clock position before flying it back directly to noon position. Move to 11 o’clock position and fly to 3 o’clock. Continue working on this, moving the kite from noon position to 9 o’clock and then 1 o’clock to 9 o’clock.

Practice the power stroke until you’re confident enough to fly your kite in both directions while keeping your feet under you and without thinking about turning your kite back up in the sky.

2. Board Starts – now it’s time to practice your board starts. This develops your leg muscle memory and hip positioning to get up on your board. Practicing your board starts guarantee that you learn how to point your board downwind when getting up and riding your board.

Riding to your right side: Place your kite in neutral position (hovers straight above your head). Sit on the ground, extend your right leg forward then bend your left leg in a little while. Now send your trainer kite into a power stroke towards your right. You should be able to stand up on your right foot with your body at a 45-degree angle turn to the wind.

Move your trainer kite to 1 o’clock position for the power stroke. Have you noticed how your body and hips naturally direct your leg downwind even more? Beginners usually find it difficult to keep their kiteboard pointed downwind during a water start.

Next is to work on your left side. Learning to snowboard or land board makes use of the same technique of pointing the board downwind.

3. Moving with your trainer kite – ski, run, buggy, snowboard, roller blade or land board. Now that you are able to fly well, it’s time to start moving with your kite towards the same direction of its flight. There will be a variety dynamics in your kite as you move.

When kiteboarding, you always move with the kite so you need to know how to control it and take advantage of the wind you are apparently generating. The abovementioned vehicles will help you work on this. Make sure to always wear a helmet and padding.

4. Flying your trainer kite in high winds – hanging on to a big power kite takes a lot of practice so the more you get used to being pulled around, the better you can control your kite flying particularly in aggressive, high winds.

To practice, spin your body under the bar and fly whilst looking backwards (this actually happens when you are in the water). To further your skills, fly with your eyes closed. If it’s very windy, you can do small jumps as you send your kite up the center of the power zone.

5. Flying your trainer kite one-handed – build more confidence as you get used to hanging onto the middle of the bar by holding it in one hand while flying the kite with one hand as well.

6. Adding a harness and bar loop – get the maximum advantage of a trainer kite by adding a fixed loop to the bar and a harness. Start flying practice “hooked in” whilst working on kite control with one hand. This develops the skill very much needed for learning to kite in the water. You will need to fly one-handed whilst carrying the board to the water and trying to put it under your feet. Another advantage of adding a harness and bar loop is that you can land kite or snow kite for a long time once you are hooked in.

Practicing these skills will get you up on that board in no time! Spend less time swimming and enjoy more time riding once you have accomplished your lessons with a trainer kite.

Now’s the best time to get your very own trainer kite!

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