Ok, here is the round-up of where I am at to this point in kiteboarding on water:
- I had a lesson almost exactly one year ago on an 11m. We got to body dragging but that was it. No board action.
- I was able to use my trainer to body drag for a while one day after my lesson.
- No, that isn’t much but that is where we are at.
I planned a week at the lake to try to get this sport nailed. As luck would have it this is the only week I can remember where we had five days without wind on the lake. I tried to get the kite out but the wind just didn’t cooperate. But I wasn’t going to let mother nature stop my progress. It has been about ten years since I have been on a board in the water too. So I decided to use this nice weather to try out the new Liquid Force Proof 151 I got from Kite Riders LLC. I picked it up new with straps for $200.
Now back to the ranch, I had my wife pull me around behind the jet ski on the kiteboard to get used to the board and how it acted. I think this was helpful because I was a little nervous about learning the board and the kite at the same time. I don’t know if it is the fact that I used to water ski at a competition level or that I do some snowboarding in the winter but I didn’t find it to hard to pick up the board behind the jet ski. I was jumping by the third try. Anyway, I would suggest getting in some board action before starting with the kite. If nothing else, the fewer things you have to think about the better when just starting.
So how did all this pan out on the water? Well, the board wasn’t an issue. But there were issues. First, the wind didn’t start blowing until we were packing up Sunday afternoon. My wife egged me into unpacking my stuff and trying it out. The lake I am on has a shoreline filled with boats, docks, lifts, trees, etc. So there isn’t a good place to launch off shore. The wind was blowing out (off shore) from our beach. I know this isn’t ideal but the lake had little boat action going on and I knew I would have to hit the other side some time. That is a joke sort of. The lake is way to big to swim across for most normal people so I had my wife come out on the jet ski to help out if I needed to quit.
I rigged up and headed out. As always I was in a hurry. I’ll get to that later. I waded in the water and let the kite float out in front of me. This took a while because the trees block the wind near the beach. Once I got out to the wind I was feeling some pull. At first I had a hard time getting it launched but as the wind increased so did my luck. This whole time I am letting the kite carry me down wind which is out to the middle of the lake. Remember, I have a jet ski back up so I can bail any time. I wouldn’t recommend this approach if you are on the ocean unless you can swim the Atlantic. Floating through the water downwind was actually pretty relaxing. I didn’t have any traffic to worry about as I got towards the middle of the lake and I had plenty of room to make mistakes. The water is over my head since I left the dock and I am wearing a life jacket.
I start to get the wind figured out but launching the kite isn’t as easy as it was on snow. Eventually I get it up and from there I am able to keep it powered up most of the time. The one thing I wasn’t sure about is how to best maneuver the kite to get me out of the water. The boat pulls straight away but the kite doesn’t. A video I watched later noted to dive the kite from one side to the other to get up. That would have been helpful info earlier. So the moment you have been waiting for, I did get up. I got up and went for about 30 feet and lost my power and sunk. I think I drove the kite to close to the edge of the wind window. I did get up again and go for about 100 yards. That was fun. It reminded me of being a kid again when things are new to you so they are exciting. This was definitely worth the hour and a half I spent floating. It restored my hope that I will be able to figure this out too.
I want to sent a note of thanks. While I was out on the water struggling a guy came out to give me some pointers. He also yelled at me from his boat to dive the kite to get up. Another thing he pointed out was I had my brake (blue and red) lines connected wrong. So thanks to the veteran for the help. He also borrowed me a bigger board to try. I think it is great that there are still some folks out there who are willing to help others and the sport out.
- Professional lessons are highly recommended.
- Videos are a good refresher cause you won’t remember everything – at least I didn’t.
- A chase boat/jet ski is nice to have in case you lose your board, get tired, get in a bad way or whatever.
- Helpful old timers are great.
- Board skills before you try the kite will help.