The formation of the IKO (International Kiteboarding Association) is an attempt to professionalize kiteboarding by promoting the kiting and developing standards via a network of professional instructors and schools.
Consider taking a kiteboarding lesson from an IKO certified instructor or school. You have less risk in being disappointed by your learning experience. There are good teachers out there that are not certified but you are taking your chances that they have learned how to teach properly.
Group or Private Lesson
Most kiteboarding instruction is done with private lessons: one instructor per student. If you are paying in the typical range of $75-$150 USD per hour for a lesson, you should be getting alone time with the instructor.
In some cases it may be possible to learn with a few others especially when you are being taught the technique off the water or if you have booked a reputable kiteboarding camp with a number of good coaches and an efficient system.
Booking a camp or school gives you the opportunity to learn from a few different instructors with unique teaching styles. Most kiteboarding locations do not have camps so you may have to consider making a trip out of it and going to a company's designated camp location.
As with any sport taking an instructors course is a great way to learn. In order to be able to teach you need to learn the details and there are many kiteboarding instruction courses available for not much more than the cost of private lessons.
Kiteboarding Instruction Styles
Ask questions about how an instructor will teach you. Finding out how they plan to spend their time with you is important. In a 4 hour lesson, you will generally spend 1 hour learning about the wind verbally, 1-2 hours using the trainer kite on land and the remaining time body-dragging and/or trying to get up on the board, depending how new you are and how quickly you learn.
Some instructors are more active then others. They can watch you from the shore, go out there with you on a surfboard and help you grab the board or even provide instruction through an earphone in the helmet. Some people find this innovative use of technology distracting, others love it.
Meet Your Leader
Get to know your instructor before you sign up. Walk around the kiting area and talk to a few of the instructors around or go into a shop. Meeting someone in person gives you a sense of their personality or teaching style. If you like the vibe of the person then you'll want to ensure it is actually them that will be doing the teaching. It's kind of like dating. If you meet someone you like and plan to get together later, you would be very disappointed if that person sent their friend in their place.
Confidence and support is a huge part of learning this sport. If your instructor's teaching style undermines your confidence by either pushing you too hard or not hard enough, it can turn your off a really fun sport.
Using Your Own Gear
If you already own gear then you may want to use it. Each brand of
has a different feel, different bar and line, and safety system. It is helpful to be on consistent gear when you are first learning. That said, be prepared to cause some damage to your kite. One of the bonuses about taking lessons is that you get to wreck someone elses equipment without having to pay for it. It's kite school gear and that is what it is meant for. You also get the chance to get a feel for what you like if you spend enough time trying new styles out.
Whatever you decide, be prepared to pay a little more for kiteboarding instruction than you intended for invaluable assistance. A supportive, qualified instructor can help you get a good start and send you on your way to becoming a damn good kiteboarder.
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