Why should I take a kiteboarding lesson?

The most important reason to take lessons is keeping yourself and others around you from becoming injured. Kiteboarding is a dynamic water sport so allot is happening around you at rapid speed. With knowledge and some experience you can avoid damaging your expensive new equipment and fully understand how to kite safely.

What should I bring to a lesson?
The things you might want to bring are a swimsuit, towel, rash guard or t-shirt, hat, sunscreen, water, sunglasses and neoprene booties with rubber sole which are not mandatory but highly recommended for lessons in our secret spot. In addition bring all your enthusiasm and a positive attitude so you can progress as quickly as your ability and conditions of the day will allow.

Do I have to be a super athlete to kite board?
Caribbean Riders Kite School has taught school aged children and adults over 65 years of age so almost anyone can learn to kiteboard if they are physically fit and motivated.
Kiteboarding is a water sport and every kiter should be able to swim and should feel comfortable in the water.

Where do I meet my Caribbean Riders instructor?
Caribbean Riders Kite School is located right on Varadero Beach. If you are staying at a nearby resort simply walk to our location (53rd street in downtown Varadero) early enough to be on time for your lesson. Your Caribbean Riders Kite School instructor will be waiting for you.

How long will it take for me to get up and riding?
Every person who takes up the sport of Kite boarding is different. In most cases the average person can get up and riding in as little as 6 hours to a week. Progress from this point where you learn to stay upwind can take anywhere from a few weeks to 1 month.

What lesson package do you recommend for a beginner?
For those serious about returning home with the basic knowledge to continue their skill development Caribbean Riders Kite School recommends the Kite Addiction Course (12 hours instruction over 4 days).

As all lessons take place in flat, waist deep water, your lesson moves quickly from the beach into the water with a small inflatable kite. Once your instructor has verified that you have good kite control skills, you are ready for the board.and will begin to learn to water start first and then to sail downwind under control.

Where are the lessons taught?
Caribbean Kite Riders Kite School is located on Varadero’s kite beach which is between the resorts the Iberostar Laguna Azul and the Sirenus la Salina. This is the prime part of the entire Varadero peninsula.  The beach where lessons are taught is ideal for kite boarding as the wind is reliable, the water shallow, and the beach wide and largely free of sunbathers who typically stay closer to the resorts left and right of kite beach.

What Equipment do I need to start kiteboarding, after taking lessons?
Once you have the basics and want to pursue kite boarding on a regular basis there are four things you need: kite (often serious kite boarders will purchase 2-3 kites so they have the right size kite for any wind condition), board, harness, and pump. Some other safety items to consider are a helmet, which prevents the board from hitting your head and an impact/floatation vest..

What type of kite should I buy?
Kiteboarding is a very individual sport and as a result the industry has responded with numerous opinions for kites and boards. Many companies market their kites into three different categories, beginner, intermediate, and advanced kiteboarding kites.

Beginner kiteboarding kites tend to be much wider in relation to their length. This is termed a low aspect ratio kite and, these types of kites tend to be very stable in the air and re-launch easier because of their shape.

The downside is the wider the kite or the lower aspect ratio, the less up wind performance you have and the lower  your jumps will be as you get better at the sport.

Intermediate kites are often referred to as moderate aspect ratio kites, these kites are narrower in relation to their length and tend to jump higher and go up wind more efficiently. They also are very stable when in the air and re-launch very well. Because these types of kites strike a healthy balance many beginners’ purchase mid aspect ratio kites with plans to grow into them with continued practice.

Advanced kites are usually high aspect ratio kites and therefore have a much longer and narrower profile. As a result this type of kite can go up wind very well and jump very high. The downside is the kite’s stability and water re-launch ability is compromised when the kite becomes to narrow in relation to it’s length.

What size kite should I buy?
This depends upon your body weight and the typical wind conditions in the area you plan to ride the most.Your first kite should be between 10 and 14 meters, depending upon your weight. For novice kiters who are under 150 pounds a 10 or 12 meter kite as a first kite may work well. For novice kiters 150 pounds and greater, I recommend a 12 or 14 meter kite. These kites can be ridden in 12-17 knots as a beginner, which is an ideal wind range for learning to kiteboard. As you become more experienced, you will be able to ride these kite sizes in 20 knot wind since these modern design kites have very large wind range and the kites can be rigged differently to make them more or less powerful.

What is the difference between a Bow (SLE- Supported Leading Edge) and a ‘C’ (LEI -Leading Edge Inflatable) kite ?
The main difference between a Bow (SLE- Supported Leading Edge) and a ‘C’ (LEI -Leading Edge Inflatable) kite is in the amount of instant depower of the kite. Due to the design of a Bow Kites, you can instantly fully depower a Bow kite by letting go of the bar while a ‘C’ kite depowers only partially when letting go of the bar.

Bow kites are prefereable to C kites for instant depower safety reasons, especially in high wind.

Other differences include:

  • C kites tend to turn faster than a Bow kite in the same kite size
  • Bow kites water relaunches more easily than a C kite.
  • Bow kites use a bridle system of lines aroud the kite to facilitate instant depower while a C kite is a simpler design and does not have this bridle system.
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