Last updated 6-16-2024

Kiteboard on your own?

How to get there.

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 Can I practice Kiteboarding on my own?

Kiteboarding is an exciting adventure sport that requires proper training and practice to ensure safety and competence. Many students at our Tampa Bay kitesurfing school ask, "When can I practice kiteboarding on my own?" The answer depends on your competence, safety knowledge, and readiness, which your instructor will assess. After completing kiteboarding lessons and receiving your instructor's approval,

you should have a good grasp of flying a kite, understand safety procedures, and knowledge of beach and weather conditions. Safety is paramount, and taking lessons is essential to protect yourself and others and maintain the accessibility of our beaches.Once you are deemed ready by your instructor, practicing kiteboarding is crucial for retaining and improving your skills.

Start practicing as soon as possible after your lessons to avoid forgetting what you've learned. It is also essential to acquire the right gear suited to your weight and skill level, which your instructor can help you choose. Finding a safe location with suitable water conditions, such as Skyway Beach in St Petersburg, is also important.

Pay attention to weather conditions, avoid stormy weather, and practice inappropriate wind speeds, ideally between 15 to 20 miles per hour. Practicing in light winds initially is advisable, and always kiteboard with friends or other kitesurfers for added safety and learning opportunities.

Regular practice is necessary to progress your kiteboarding skills after lessons. Repeating the fundamental skills learned in lessons helps reinforce them. Start by mastering the setup and teardown of your kite, a critical yet often overlooked step. Focus on body dragging in the water without the kiteboard to improve kite control and upwind navigation, a vital skill for deeper water locations.Practice water starts extensively, as these are crucial for any beginner, and consider additional lessons if you struggle with this step.

Intermediate and advanced lessons can significantly boost your progress.Lastly, never neglect the self-rescue technique. This skill is essential for safely returning to the beach in case of emergencies, such as equipment failure or sudden injuries. Regularly practicing self-rescue in shallow water or controlled conditions ensures you are prepared to handle real-life situations effectively.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with local beach etiquette, safe wind directions, and potential hazards at your kiteboarding location by consulting with local kiteboarders or shops. You'll become a competent and confident kiteboarder with proper practice and adherence to safety guidelines.

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Table Of Content

  • When can I practice kiteboarding on my own? 
  • How do I practice kiteboarding on my own?
  • What should I practice after my kitesurfing lesson? 
  • Where is the best place for kiteboarding lessons?

When can I practice kitesurfing on my own?

You can practice on your own after you have taken kiteboarding lessons and your instructor has expressed that they feel you are ready. Your instructor's assessment is crucial in determining your readiness for independent practice. You'll need to understand how to fly a kite, safety procedures, and general beach and weather knowledge.

Kiteboarding lessons: Lessons are not just a requirement; they are crucial for the safety of yourself and the people on the beach and for keeping our beaches open. The question is, how many kiteboarding lessons do you need? Everyone learns at different paces; most people achieve self-sufficiency after 3 - 9 hours. This timeframe is the average, so some people pick things up fast while others might need more. Safety is paramount in this adventure sport, and lessons are essential.

Safety knowledge: Before kiteboarding on your own, you should know how to perform a self-rescue in case something goes wrong. A self-rescue is a technique that allows you to safely land your kite and return to the beach in case of emergencies. Think of the self-rescue as your ace in the hole. You can use this technique to self-land your kite if no one is around; you can use it if the equipment breaks or goes out of control, and you can use it if you're injured. It's a way to safely get yourself and your gear back to the beach. Never kiteboard without learning this first.

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Wind Directions: You should know the safe wind directions for the beach. Never kitesurf when the wind is blowing offshore or on the side of the shore. Sideshore and side-on conditions are best for beginners. Experienced riders can kite with onshore winds and, in certain circumstances.

Beach etiquette: We have a blog on kiteboarding beach etiquette, which you can read here. You should know where to safely set up, launch, and land your kite without endangering yourself, your gear, beachgoers, and other kiters. There are also rules of navigation that should be followed to keep traffic on the water safe.

How do I practice kiteboarding on my own?

Practicing kiteboarding on your own after a lesson is the key to progressing without further lessons. If your instructor gives you the okay to get gear and go, you should start practicing as soon as possible. If you wait a few weeks, you will begin to forget what you learned in your lesson. We have had many students come back months later because they didn't practice what they learned. Regular practice helps you retain what you've learned and allows you to build on your skills and improve faster.

Buy kiteboarding gear: Talk with your instructor about the kite and kiteboard that is the best for your weight and skill level. Your instructor can guide you on the right size and type of kite and kiteboard to suit your needs. Visit the local shop and get an all-around freeride kite like the Airush Lithium, the Core XR, or the Naish Pivot. These versatile kites will make learning easy, and you'll never outgrow them!

Kiteboarding location: Choosing a safe location is key. In St Petersburg, we often teach at Skyway Beach. The water here is shallow and relatively flat, making it ideal for beginners. If you are lucky enough to have a location with knee-to-waist-deep water and no waves, take advantage of it. If you live somewhere with deeper water, a short break, or waves, you can still go, provided your instructor gives you the green light; it will just take longer and present more challenges. Focus on safety and kite control, and ensure you can body drag upwind when falling from your kiteboard.

Kiteboarding Weather: Avoid stormy weather as it can be dangerous. Storm clouds can bring unpredictable winds and even lightning, which can be a severe threat to kiteboarders. If you see storm clouds, don't go kiteboarding. The wind will also be less predictable; it can completely shut off or get very powerful fast.

Wind Speed: You should kite within the designated range for the size of the kite you use or even a little under. Wind speed is a crucial factor in kiteboarding. Most schools will put their new students on a size down or two for safety reasons when teaching kiteboarding lessons. If you are working on kiteboarding water starts, use a kite of the correct size for your weight. Light winds are the safest bet for your first session on your own.

Avoid strong winds: When you first practice on your own, avoid strong winds, as they have more consequences. Strong winds can make the kite more challenging to control and increase the risk of accidents. Build your kiteboarding skills in more forgiving winds first. Something like 15 to 20 miles per hour is the sweet spot. This wind range will be forgiving yet easy to fly the kite. Under 15 mph and more skill is required to fly the kite. More than 20 mph and wind can be gustier.

Never kiteboard alone: Kiteboarding with friends or other kitesurfers is the safest option. Seek out the local kitesurfing community and ride with other people. Not only is it more fun with friends, but kiteboarders also look out for each other. You can also learn a lot simply from watching other kiteboarders. Take note of what size kite they are using that day. Observe how they are flying their kite, where they are setting up, etc.

Ask kiters about the location: You can learn a lot about any spot by speaking with the local shop or the local kiteboarders. Find out if there are any safety hazards or things to be aware of. Is there a shallow area that suddenly becomes deep? Are there rocks or shells under the water? Is there a strong current? Get the necessary information before you go.

What should I practice after kiteboarding lesson?

Repetition is key to skill development. You should practice everything you learned in your lesson. If you see good conditions, make an effort to go to the beach to stay sharp on your fundamentals.

Practicing regularly will help reinforce what you've learned and improve your skills faster.

Set up and tear down: As silly as it sounds, you'll want to be confident that you set up your kite correctly and pack it away nicely. This is an often overlooked step, but confidence is critical, so practice this.

Body dragging: You can spend time in the water flying your kite without the kiteboard. Focus on your kite skills like power strokes and body dragging upwind. You can focus on an obstacle on the beach and try to sail upwind of it without your board. This is an important skill to train in deeper water locations. If you can't get upwind, you will lose your board after falling.

Waterstarts: Every new kiteboarder wants to learn kiteboarding waterstarts. Hopefully, you will have ample time to practice these in your lesson. Practice everything your instructor taught you, and use this kiteboarding waterstart video to refresh your memory. If you're struggling with this step, consider taking more lessons.

Take advanced lessons: Intermediate and advanced kiteboarding lessons are the best way to improve fast.

Self-rescue: Remember to practice self-rescue from time to time. Use it to land your kite or even try this in shallow water away from other people. You don't want to forget this skill or have to do your first one in a situation where it counts.

Kiteboarding videos for training

Visit our YouTube for hundreds of kiteboarding training videos that you can reference after your lessons. 

Take advanced lessons: Elite Watersports does offer Intermediate and advanced kiteboarding lessons are the best way to improve fast.

Leveraging Local Knowledge.

Choosing the right kitesurfing gear involves understanding your riding goals and options and testing them for yourself. Leveraging the shop's local expertise is imperative, as they have years of experience trying different gear.

 It's tempting to talk with random people on the beach or online, but chances are they are too hyped about their tribe to look objectively at gear. You can learn a lot from talking with everyone but try to see things for yourself with unbiased eyes. 

In 2024, we live in a time of abundance; all kites from major brands are great but have their own flavor. 

Where can I buy a kiteboarding kite?

The expert team at Elite Watersports is here to serve. If you have any kiteboarding related questions call us. We can build custom kiteboarding packages, book kiteboarding lessons or simply offer helpful advice. We're your one stop shop for kiteboarding knowledge.
Swing by the shop and you can try on different kiteboarding harnesses and more. 

If you need help deciding on your first kiteboarding kite give Elite Watersports a call. We're happy to set you up with your first kiteboarding kite.



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Ryan "Rygo" Goloversic



Kiteboarding lessons

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