Kiteboarding 101

They say the hard part is controlling the kite. Focus on the kite, they said, and the board will follow.

But I have wind experience (windsurfing, sailing), and not board experience (skateboarding, snowboarding), and so for me, the hard part came when I tried to get up on the board in the water.

My instructor, Gerardo from Ikarus Kiteboarding, told us a story about preparing his house against a hurricane. After checking to be sure that the nails were in tight enough, he told his his wife he’d be off kiteboarding “for a few hours.”

What followed on the beach was a hefty dose of “El Norte,” the winds from the north which are the expert’s dream here on the Yucatan peninsula. They can be expected from November until about half-way through the year, and their visit can make for epic kiteboarding conditions.

For my days out with Ikarus, we were fortunate enough to have about 15 knots of wind, which was a little less epic, and a lot more ideal for learning.

Ikarus is an awesome name, by the way. Ik is the Mayan God of the wind. Icarus was the Greek dude who wanted to fly. Me, I just wanted to get up on my board, and succeeded for about 5-second bursts at a time before performing graceless faceplants in the water.

My shiny new International Kiteboarders Organization card says I’m sufficiently qualified to rent gear now (like the hybrid leading-edge inflatable teaching kite pictured here). I’m in the market for some good second-hand stuff for next summer. If you have any, or you’re looking for a kitesurfing buddy in the Georgian Bay area, consider me an entuisiastic newbie!

Best kitesurfing/kiteboarding link I found: http://kitesurfingschool.org/. An amazing resource with everything you need to know to get started and also advance your skills. But in addition to the site, I would definitely recommend taking lessons – I think you’d save yourself a lot of time and potential frustration!