Now what?

Now what?

Postby kritter » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:19 am

Hi all --

I just got home from a week in La Ventana where I got my first taste of kiting. I took a couple days of lessons but didn't actually get up on the board -- my third day was too gusty to try it safely. On the flipside, I did quite a bit of body dragging and ground practice. I'm hooked and want to keep going but think I need more lessons before doing anything on my own. And of course I need to start acquiring my own gear!

SO... what should I do now? Are winter conditions good for beginners? Do any of the schools offer lessons in the winter? Should I just buy a trainer kite and practice with it until things warm up?

I'm not afraid of cold water, but given that I am planning to be buying gear I'd rather not have to also buy a drysuit or anything crazy like that. I do have a wetsuit.

All thoughts/advice are appreciated!
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Re: Now what?

Postby Salmonslayer » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:10 am

Awesome!!! I think learning to kite is one of the top 5 highs I have had. 3 of the other 4 I cant post :o

i started out in LV in the winter and had the same dilemma. The on-the-water instruction I received was nothing more than expensive cheer leading through a helmet speaker. After the" lessons" I spent the next three days getting trashed trying to figure it out on my own and then jogging up the beach for more punishment. Eventually I experienced small bits of success with my last reach of the vacation being the only completely successful reach. That means not falling, but not going upwind either.

After returning from LV I waited until Jetty island was an option the next spring before I got out on the water again. You could take winter lesson and keep trying at a few of the relatively beginner friendly spots, but, you will spend a lot of time marinating in cold water. In addition cold water kiting requires more gear. I think you should wait for spring Jetty island kiting unless you are able to travel to a warmer climate for one last water lesson and more time on your own.

I had two kites and the basics needed to kite at the point you are right now. You sound hooked enough to know that you will want to continue, so you may want to spend the next three months buying a basic set of gear. I recommend buying used gear in good condition if you have a limited budget. There is nothing the matter with buying new, but the odds are greater that you will trash your first set of gear. 1 board, 2 kites (roughly 9m/13m or 10m/14m) ~ 4/3 wetsuit. If you are looking at just one kite it should be your big kite which is 12-15m depending on your weight. The only item I would consider buying new is the wetsuit. finding the right used wetsuit in the right size in the right condition might be tough and there are some fairly inexpensive wetsuits at the local shops. Ideally you know someone that kites and can give you advice on used gear. if not you can always ask questions on PSkite.

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Re: Now what?

Postby kritter » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:08 pm

Thanks for the response! It's pretty much what I was expecting...but I'm just excited to get back out there. When does Jetty Island usually get going in the spring? And like you say, I can take advantage of the next few months to shop around for gear.

My friends who are kiters are mostly from the bay area, so any Seattle-area specific advice -- I'm not really sure how the conditions vary. I should probably mention I am a 5'4" female, and about 128 lbs, so I'll be looking for smaller kites.
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Re: Now what?

Postby daves » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:36 pm

Welcome! It's tough to make water progress in Seattle during the winter. The winds in the winter are usually bigger, gustier, and much more difficult to predict. The launches are tricky as is finding the right spot for the wind/weather of the day... or hour, or minute. On top of that, there is a higher safety risk due to cold conditions, higher seas and less people to help on the water if anything goes wrong.

Have patience; by this time next year, you could go back to La Ventana and rock the water. In the meantime, it would be worth your while to go to the winter kite spots (Richmond Beach, Magnuson, Double Bluff, Juanita) to watch, help and meet local kiters. You will also learn something new about kiting, equipment, the launch, and wind/weather every time you go. A big part of kiting in Seattle is predicting the weather so you can be at the right place at the right time. You can get free forecasts from i*surf ... ast+Graphs
This is for the west point gauge, but all you need to look for in the winter is a southerly trend in the teens. The numbers are never right, but the trends give you a heads up on what's ahead and eventually you can interpret whether it will be enough to kite. Down the line, when you show up at the launch there will be other kiters. When you get good, you will beat all the other kiters to the launch.

I went the opposite way: I watched and struggled in Seattle for a couple years when there were few kiters, then I put it all together in one day when I took a trip to La Ventana and a couple folks from the bay area took me offshore on day 2.

kritter wrote: I should probably mention I am a 5'4" female, and about 128 lbs, so I'll be looking for smaller kites.
As you mention, if you are female and ~128 lbs, and if you are interested, you could try to find a kite-man-friend. I know a few couples who really make it work because usually they can ride the same set of kites and shift up and down with the wind . Some of the small females can get out on the large kites in what seems like impossibly light winds; it's fun to watch at Jetty in the summer, but then again it kills us just to watch at Jetty in the summer. By the time the bigger (usually male) partner is out on the smallest kite, it's survival kiting - plus small kites are cheaper and they don't get used as much.

I should probably mention I am a 5'11" male, and about 180 lbs, so I'll be kiting bigger kites. However, so are 90% of the kiters. You know what they say: "Girls, want to meet hundreds of athletic men with disposable incomes and have them fight over you at the beach? Try kiteboarding." There are a some really cool kite ladies in Seattle as well (and elsewhere) but unfortunately, not enough in my opinion. Change the stats. Good luck and hope to see you at the beach and on the water some day.
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Re: Now what?

Postby CarrotHead » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:35 am

From my experience when I was at the stage you are:

1. Make friends that are a little bit more advanced than you. PSKite is a good resource for that. post for ride shares.
2. Learn how to forecast puget sound weather--as forecasting skill rises, skunkings decrease, and this single thing will make everything more fun. You should be looking at half a dozen wind forecast resources every day and comparing it with what you observe.
3. Use those friends you have made to forecast for you until you feel confident about your wind forecasting (don't make this obvious, make an attempt at forecasting first and let them correct you with their call).
4. Plan on hitting Damon Point, Locust Beach, and Double Bluff when the wind is good (not gusty, not nuking). These are the best spring spots for beginners.
5. Fly a bigger trainer kite (4m is good, 5m if you are bigger) so that you can fly on land in colder weather and shittier wind (you won't always get on the water with your new friends, but you can always put a trainer in the air). Be extra careful with this if you do, and learn patiently over many sessions.
a. Learn to boost a little on sand (soft landing) (alki and golden gardens have soft sand).
b. Practice handle passes and standing back rolls.
c. Progress toward standing backroll kiteloops and finally if you can do a boosted backroll kiteloop without killing yourself, your kite skills will be set.
d. consider getting a bar loop for your trainer kite so you can fly it hooked in with a harness.
6. Ditch everything else in the world when the wind is rippin'.
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Re: Now what?

Postby rexsfour » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:31 pm

About 2 years ago I decided I wanted to get into the kiteboarding sport. I got a 4m foil and started to learn to fly. I snatched up a mountain board to learn to harness the power of the wind and move with it. This summer I was getting good on the mountain board at Chambers Creek so I decided to take lessons. I looked up reviews of the different instructors and decided to go with Bellingham (they had the most constant winds and one of the best learning areas). I took a lesson there and came away riding both ways and starting to ride upwind.
I have been going to Damon Point a few times over the past couple months and it is a great learning spot and there are usually other kiteboarders there.
If you want to start getting your kites you can go used and buy one from the forums here or at I would ask someone here if you find something on CL or ebay to look it over. (Your life is in this kites lines though so don’t go cheap on safety/kite) If you go new try to support the local kite shops and let them try to beat/match any prices you may find. Some also have student discounts for gear so it may be worth it to take another lesson then buy your gear from them (the lesson should pay for itself in the savings in gear). This is the route I would have gone if Ocean Rodeo didn’t offer %50 for military.
Maybe we will get some beginner rally’s in this spring for us noobs.
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Re: Now what?

Postby theory » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:42 am

So, did you get out some more this winter? How about this spring and now the start of summer?

Jetty Island has been going strong for 3 days now and should go again today....then some more next week too. Check out urban surf for jetty lessons if you need a refresher or want to start getting on the board.

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