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Learning to Kite Surf

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Learning to Kite Surf

The ultimate in exhilaration!

Kite Surfing is Barbados is big; people are coming from all over the world as we have the ideal conditions for this thrilling water sport!

It is important to get professional instruction as this can be a very dangerous sport and it is not advisable for a novice to go out unsupervised. So at Totally Barbados, we have taken to the water and find out how to Kite Surf like a professional!

You need about 3 lessons before you are competent enough to go out alone. Each lesson is 2-3 hours long and costs $190US for the three lessons.

We met up with Steve Campbell, from Red Eye Kite Surfing, who has been teaching water sports in Barbados for the last 12 years.

You need to arrive with a good pair of shorts/baggies that won’t come off as you are dragged around in the sea by your kite, a rash vest and plenty of sun block – this is an ideal sport for getting burned as the sun reflects off the sea!

The first thing Steve needs to know is that you can swim, secondly he gets a feel for your previous experience such as flying a kite and if you have done any wake boarding.

The first part of the lesson is spent on the beach, where you will learn how to fly the training kite; it is a small foil kite about 5sq meters. Steve tells you how the kite works by explaining the wind window, which give you traction in the kite. It is this wind that powers your kite when you are on the water. You will then learn how to fly the kite in a figure of eight. Once you have mastered flying the training kite then you will progress to the 8-meter inflatable sea kite.

More time will be spent practicing flying this kite on the beach and then you will learn about quick releases and emergency pulls to get you unhooked from your equipment when you crash – which you will – often!

Now you will finally get wet – moving into the water with your kite, you will now master flying the kite doing the same figure of 8 that you learned on the beach.
Your instructor will go in first and you will hold his harness and see up close how it is done. Then you will swap places and your instructor will hold you whilst you try out the wind on sea. You will also have been taught about wind directions, which are imperative for your safety.

The next section of the lesson is spent ‘body dragging’ – this enables you to master controlling your kite, the wind will catch your kite and you will thrown around in the sea, lifting up and then crashing down. This gives you a great thrill but also makes you aware of the dangers and how to avoid them.

Now it is time to introduce the board, so you are shown how to assemble your equipment and how the kite and board are connected. Again you will watch a demonstration in the water; this is a much softer landing when you fall over!

Now finally you are ready to go out alone – well the instructor is watching you very closely. You will go about 10 meters and then crash! This is how it usually works and you are only about 30 meters from the beach so not too far to be rescued!

The remainder of this lesson is spent trying to get further than 10 meters, your second lesson is where you start to really get the hang of it and by your third lesson you are a competent kite surfer!

Kite Surfing is different from surfing or windsurfing as both of these sports can be taught in one lesson and then it takes years to get really good and reach the ultimate in exhilaration, whereas Kite Surfing takes longer to learn but you get to exhilaration level very quickly usually by your third lesson!

For more information call Red Eye on (246) 262-KITE.