How I Got Hooked (literally) On Kitesurfing
Back in 2002, as a fanatical windsurfer then, I went on a road trip through France and Spain to the European Mecca for wind sports, Tarifa, on the most southerly tip of Spain.
By that stage I was only interested in windsurfing on my tiny custom wave board, which needed force 5 minimum to get planing. Unfortunately the usual Tarifa winds didn’t show up in enough force for me to get much windsurfing action.
But, while I was struggling to make any headway, I spotted kites in the distance blasting around the bay. It was only the second time I’d seen anyone kitesurfing (the first time being a year earlier in Barbados), and decided it was time to look into it.
In the pre-internet days it was difficult to find anywhere that I could get to grips with the relatively new sport of kitesurfing. But a year later I discovered Torquay Kite School and had a weekend’s lessons as a birthday present. So I had a weekend there getting dragged round Torbay behind a kite, under the instruction of the “Kite Doctor” Andre Shorland.
It was too windy for him to let me and the other 2 learners loose on boards and it was all done from the back of his tiny RIB in deep water. But that was it! That first experience of body dragging and being launched out of the water was enough.
To quote Andre -“Forget windsurfing (they’re pole dancers), kitesurfing’s truly 3 dimensional!”.
On the last day of the weekend I got the credit card out and bought enough kit from Andre to carry on learning back at my home beaches. And in this sport you never stop learning!
I found a group doing it enthusiastically round North Wales, based around a shop called Turbulence (sadly now gone), and with their help, and guidance from people I just met at the beach, got up and running.
I’ve been kitesurfing ever since and experienced this great sport’s progression from a niche pastime pursued by a few enthusiastic loonies to something accessible to a growing number of water sports lovers.
Sharing the Experience
Kitesurfing has evolved massively and dynamically during the few years I’ve been enjoying it, encompassing a range of disciplines, and a huge choice of equipment. It can be enjoyed now by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, and progress can be made very quickly from a novice “newbie” to competent kiter or even sponsored professional within quite a short period.
The number of locations around the world with kite schools and kite friendly beaches is growing year-on-year and, as it becomes more visible, more people are having a go and taking up the sport each year.
I personally have benefited massively from being around some of the pioneers of the sport like Andre the Kite Doctor, the Jones Brothers from Turbulence and their semi and fully professional following of kiters.
But even more so I’ve learnt from the shared experience of my regular kite buddies and other people I’ve met when I’ve kited around our fantastic coastline in the UK and at some beautiful locations around the world.
It’s wonderful to see the sport I love being enjoyed by so many newcomers, but it can sometimes be daunting for someone new to know where to start.
There’s a lot of information out there and the range of kit on offer can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to blow a lot of money on gear that may be inappropriate for someone new to the sport. But the great thing is, you can get going on a very limited budget if you know what to look for.
That’s where Kite Mad World can help!
The Go To Place For Advice
At Kite Mad World we pull together advice on starting up in the sport, not just from me, I’m just an enthusiastic amateur, but from people with a wealth if experience, who’ve often learnt the hard way what the pitfalls are.
We also offer shared advice for the more experienced kiter on kit, locations, technique and everything else that goes with an ever-changing sport.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
Finally….Surf’s up Dude, let’s get out there!