So you have mastered kitesurfing and can go
upwind, jibe, jump, tricks and etc. Sooner or later, you may want to teach your friends or
to become a kitesurfing instructor. This page can help you to follow your dream to
have one of the "best job" in the world (teaching the sport you love, making
money and making other people happy at the same time). [Please also read
KTM Kitesurfing Teaching Methodology as
kitesurfing teachning methods have much improved and evolved since the day
this was written back in 2001].
While it takes a few weeks for a beginner to learn how to kitesurf efficiently, it
normally takes only 3-4 days for a beginner to learn all the safety and basic techniques
of kitesurfing. The beginners can then use those techniques to continue practicing
kitesurfing safely all by themselves.
A beginner course is normally divided into a 3 or 4 days lesson (2 or 3 hours each
day). Following is a proposed course content and both the instructor log (Hung Vu)
and learner log (Melanie Banica, a non-windsurfer and a non-wakeboarder).
Melanie was in perfect form
for flying the kite on land
Photo by Adrian Banica
The objective of the first day is to learn about the wind, the kite safety and how to
fly the kite.
- Learn about the wind and the wind window
- Learn about the kite safety system and the "let go of the bar" reflex
- Learn to fly and control a trainer kite on land:
- Steering left, steering right
- Kite goes across the wind window from left to right and then from right to left
- Sine wave, figure 8 patterns while running to the left and then right
- Learn to fly and control a kitesurfing kite on land:
- Steering left, steering right
- Sine wave, figure 8 patterns while running to the left and then right
- Simulate a water starting while sitting down on land and then dive the kite down to the
left (and then to the right)
I gave Melanie all land based training first using
a small 1 m2 foil and then using the New Wave 4.9 m2.
- I am glad that I had Melanie use the small foil first (for the first hour). Most
beginners would need at least 1 hour to learn flying the kite properly and a small foil
help reducing accidents and frustration.
- Melanie first steered the kite as if she was steering a steering wheel (I had observed
the same mistake made by many beginners in the past). The instructor need to emphasize to
the student that to steer a kite, one elbow has to be bent while the other fully extended.
Once I made that point clear to Melanie, she immediately steered the kite very well.
- Controlling a kite is all about reacting to the kite movement. Most beginners would
steer the kite a bit late (react a bit slow). The instructor needs to emphasize to the
student to steer the kite sooner. Once I made that point clear to Melanie, she was
immediately in perfect control of the kite.
- Melanie asked why she could not steer the kite straight fully across the wind window. My
explanation was that its is a matter of finesse in controlling the kite. At the end
of the session, I did notice that she was much better flying the kite straight across the
September 15, 2001
What an awesome day! Today I started to learn to fly a kite (so that I may do
kitesurfing and kiteskiing later on). Mr. Hung Vu is an excellent instructor; he has a
great sense of humour, which makes learning this sport a lot of fun! The hardest part in
learning about wind, and how to fly a kite, is learning to control the direction in which
I want the kite to fly (I am a person who does not try to control anything;
however, I do follow my intuition and I found this to be quite helpful when steering the
kite). I found that if I use my whole body weight when steering the kite, I can feel when
the kite position changes (I would still look up to see how the kite is moving). Mr. Vu
told me that I should let the weight of my upper body lean backwards so that my knees are
ahead of my body this works great! I found it much easier to control the steering
of the kite (from what I learned today, this kind of leaning is what also is
required for windsurfing I have never tried this sport).
I also have to learn to let go of the steering pole I was told to let go of the
kite if it is going to pull me forward and down (face-first) onto my tummy (when you let
go of the steering pole, the kite just floats down to the ground) (I got sand in my mouth
once because I landed on my stomach twice in the sand! Its kind of gritty-tasting.)
Once I figured out how to utilize my whole body weight for leaning and steering at the
same time, then I was able to start walking or running with the kite from the edge of one
wind window to the other. This was fun! I felt like I had more control over the kite once
I was able to do this. After 3-4 hours of learning to steer the kite, I found my neck
muscles to be a little tired from looking up. My hands felt funny because I was gripping
the steering bar of the kite so tightly. Because I was concentrating so hard when I first
started flying the kite, I was gripping the steering bar tightly and I was not paying
attention to my intuition or to what my instructor was saying. Once I started to relax, my
grip loosened and I began to pay attention to what I was feeling and hearing (and when the
kite crashed to the ground a few times, I became more aware of what was required).
I must go to sleep now I am tired. Tomorrow I am supposed to meet Hung at 2:00
p.m. at the beach again I am supposed to be going in the water tomorrow. Napta
Melanie learned to control
the kite and body dragging in water
Photo Adrian Banica
Similar to day 1 except that the focus this time will be on the water. The
student will learn to:
- Launch and land the kite in water
- Learn hooking in and out
- Body drag using the figure 8 and sine wave patterns with feet trailing the body in water
- Body drag using the figure 8 and sine wave patterns with feet in front of the body in
- Repeat the previous step while hooking in
I got Melanie in the water and have her try
controlling the kite while hooking in the harness line. I also have her body drag herself
in the water while flying a figure 8 pattern
- At first, controlling the kite while hooking in was a bit awkward for Melanie; however,
at the end of the day it became apparent that Melanie could control the kite better while
hooking in than not hooking in.
- As a non-windsurfer, Melanie had problem with hooking in without looking down therefore
loosing control of the kite. This problem normally goes away once the student learn
how to hooking in without looking down or know how to feel the kite better.
- The wind was very light such that every time the kite got to the edge of
the wind window, it would misbehave and become harder to control. I told Melanie try
to turn the kite before it gets to the wind window in such light wind.
September 16, 2001
This morning I woke up and the the first thing that I did was to look out the window to
check the weather it is sunny, but not very windy yet today (for kitesurfing). I
stretched my gastrocs and hamstrings, and I tried to stretch all the muscles of the pelvis
(mostly concentrating around the sacrum; the area that I injured 4 months ago - I think
that the movement of the kitesurfing will help me to get back into shape again it
was easier this morning to stretch my hamstrings than it was yesterday before I started
This afternoon, when I got to Britannia Beach for my second session of kitesurfing, I
met up again with the gentleman who introduced me to Hung. He said that he did not think
that I was going to be in the water today, but Hung and I were in the water for the whole
of todays session. I was somewhat discouraged with what I did today in the water:
- my legs got tired fast in the water and I got very warm (I think that this was due to
the wetsuit that I rented; it was 7 mm and I was told that this is a "scuba
divers suit" - I will try a thinner suit next week and see if my legs get tired
- every time that I tried to hook the kite to my harness, the kite would fall down to the
water (Hung said that I have to try to hook it to my belt without looking down that
I should keep my eyes on the kite and that it's easier to hook my kite to my harness when
the kite is at the wind window and there is not a lot, if any, power to the pull of the
- I have to lean all of my body weight backwards when the kite has full pulling
power and let the kite pull me through the water (I will practice this "leaning
back" body movement this week so that I feel more comfortable doing it when I get in
the water next time).
- I also have to make sure that I do not fly the kite all the way to the edge of the wind
window (where there is no pulling power), and I have to fly the kite lower in the power
zone (I tend to fly the kite so that it goes up high above my head again, where
there is no "pulling power").
- My neck muscles were sore again today after the session in the water; I believe that I
still have to learn to lean my whole body back more.
Melanie was in perfect form
for water starting
Photo by Adrian Banica
The focus of day 3 is to get on to the board and get going.
- While hooking in, learn to get the feet in to the strap with the instructor holding the
- While hooking in, learn to get the feet in to the strap with 1 hand holding the board
- Learn to balance the board with both feet in the straps while holding the kite
- Learn to dive the kite to get on the board
What a day for Melanie, she managed to overcome some of the mistakes the last time and
seemed to get everything right. She managed to get on the board a few seconds the
first time (a major a achievement for someone who has never done any board sport).
September 22, 2001
Today, at 2:00 p.m., I am supposed to meet Hung back down on Britannia
Beach for my third lesson in kitesurfing. While I was reading Hungs log, it came to
me that I have a few things that I will need to question him about, or just mention to
- What is a "sine-wave pattern"? (this is mentioned in his log).
- I dont know what types of equipment that we have been using, so I would like Hung
to write that down for me (for when I go to buy my own equipment).
- I am formulating an exercise that I can do in the house to get used to "leaning
backwards" (the same body technique that I had to use last weekend to let the kite
bodydrag me on the beach or in the water).
- I dont quite understand when to utilize the center string on the kite; I need to
understand how to control the kite more. I need to understand more about how the wind
works (I am not a windsurfer only a swimmer and this was the first time that
I had ever heard of a "wind window" (I will try to find something to read, or
find a class at university or college).
- Today, I must continue to try to hook my harness without looking down, and I must also
remember to hook into the harness only when my kite is at the edge of the wind window (not
in the power zone).
(After 2:00 p.m.) This afternoon was lots of fun!! I got up on the kiteboard for about
two seconds it was cool being pulled out of the water! Today, Hung had me bring the
kite directly above myself (to stabilize the kite movement), then put my feet into the
feet straps of the kiteboard and "aggressively" dive the kite so that the diving
movement would pull me onto the kiteboard and out of the water. I have problems
stabilizing the kite with one hand (while I put my feet in the footstraps of the
kiteboard). Hung held onto the board for me while I learned to do this this really
helped! I think that I must put too much pressure on the right leg when I am on the board
because I (become unbalanced and) seem to push the board to the left (and, at one point, I
would keep the kite flying more to the right-hand side, so I was even more off-balance
as though I am being pulled in opposite directions!).
The first few times that I attempted to put my feet into the footstraps of the
kiteboard, I would look down at what I was doing, not pay attention to the kite and it
would crash down into the water (it was a good thing that we had a water-relaunchable
Today, I did find that I felt more comfortable leaning backwards while flying the kite,
as compared to my first weekend of training. This week I also discovered just how hungry
that this sport makes a person (after two hours, I was craving grilled cheese
sandwiches!). My husband brought me a protein bar and a bottle of water, which really
helped (thanks Ady!) (Adrian is also our photographer thanks Ady!). Because I have
birds at home (as pets), I was thinking this weekend that I would name all of my kites
(and, also, because I tend to talk to the kite(s) while I am flying them no, they
havent talked back yet). HA!!
To balance, I think that I will have to relax my muscles more (I noticed that I am
tensing up my muscles when I put my feet into the footstraps). To get out of the water,
onto the board, I am learning that I should not fly the kite out so close to the edge of
the wind window (and stay more in the power zone). I also learned that once I have my feet
in the footstraps of the kiteboard, that I should unhook the kite from my harness.
Today, I had a different wetsuit on and it was much more comfortable. My legs did not
get as tired, and it was just as warm! (This week, the wetsuit that I wore was only 2 mm.,
and 4 mm. On top with the neoprene jacket on. Then, with the lifejacket on top of this
well, another layer of warmth. Thanks to the boys at SurfSide for helping me pick
out the wetsuit good price too!).
I told Hung today that I thought that if I made a kite (yes, myself!), that I might
understand better how the kite bridle works. I am very tired I think that I will
rest now (Hung said that there will not be enough wind to go out tomorrow, but that he
would call me if we could go out. I will have to get something to measure how many knots
of wind that there are (before I get out on the water). Hung said that I could look on the
internet (for weather conditions). Good idea!
The objective of day 4 is to continue to learn to get on the board and the to get going
for a longer period of time. This day is more useful for a board sport person
(windsurfer, wakeboarder, snowboarder, surfer, etc) as he/she already know the feel of
being on a board.
- Learn how to get on the board in both directions
- Learn how to harness the power of the kite to stay on the board
- Learn how to control the board using foot pressure
The water was too cold and too deep for me to be able to assist Melanie much.
This session was more like a self-practice session for Melanie than a training session as
the cold water "stole" all of my energy and the ability to think.
Melanie had a minor accident with another kitesurfer. It was more the other
kitesurfer's fault as he ran right into Melanie's flying zone. If you are a
kitesurfer and read this, PLEASE DO NOT GET INTO A LEANER'S FLYING ZONE.
October 27, 2001
Last weekend, I had my final session in kitesurfing (before the water gets too cold,
and I head out of Ottawa). This last session went from approximately 2 6 p.m..
Before we started my last class on the water, I meditated and stretched a bit; I find that
the Rolfing that I had (a long time ago) has really helped me to be more flexible for
sports like kitesurfing, and doing Yoga helps me to keep my focus and flexibility. I was
really hoping to get up on my board for a longer period of time for my last session (my
instructor said that I did not have to get up on the board, but I really did want to).
Hung and I started the kite off from the sand, Hung took the kite (airborne) to the
water, and I brought the board to the water. The level of the water is deeper now; it
didnt take long to have the water get up to our shoulders when we walked in off of
the beach. I was expecting the water to be much colder than what it was. A strong push in
the water today; I guess that that would be one of the side effects of wind
Once Hung and I were in the water, I took the wrist strap from his wrist and attached
it to my own wrist and then Hung handed me the kite. The movement/pull of the kite felt
strange at first (since I had not had a session in some time, and because I hadnt
flown a kite much, I guess I forgot what the movement felt like). For the first fifteen
minutes or so of the session, I just flew the kite and again got used to the feeling of
the kite. I began to feel a bit chilled in the water (not moving much) so I decided to try
and get the board on my feet. I hung onto the kite steering rod with my left hand, and
started to pull my board towards me. Everytime that I began to pull the board towards me
with my right hand, I would pull down with the left hand and the kite would destabilize
and began to dive to the left. So I would have to let go of the line to the board, and
restabilize my kite in the air. When I finally did get my board pulled up to me (the waves
were strong, and it kept floating away from me), I started to put my left foot in the
footstrap first and when I got my right foot in the footstrap my kite destabilized again!!
When my attention changed to the kite instead of the board, my board flipped upside down
and my feet came out of the footstraps.
The second time that I got into the water and started flying the kite, I went back to
the same task of learning not to pull down with my left hand when flying the kite with one
hand (when trying to get onto the board). Then, I think that I heard Hung say something.
Peripherally, I saw another kitesurfer coming towards my kite at quite a fast speed (he
was up on his board). I tried to change the direction of my kite so that we would not
collide, but this wasnt working so I let go of the steering rod to let the kite
float down towards the water. I watched as the other kitesurfer kept coming towards my
kite at full speed, and I didnt know what else to do. All of a sudden, I got yanked
underwater by my wriststrap and I was getting pulled so fast that I couldnt get my
head out of the water to breathe. I was swallowing a lot of water. I wanted to reach with
my right hand to get the wriststrap off of the left wrist; I cant remember if I
tried to or not (it all happened so fast, and I can just remember bits of what I was
thinking at the time). I could not get the wriststrap off; I couldnt do anything but
let myself get pulled and keep trying to get air. Finally, the pulling stopped and I was
able to come up (gasping) for air. "F
!!!" was the first word out of my
mouth when my head came out of the water (I am glad my instructor was far enough away that
he would not hear this!). I asked the other kitesurfer if he was okay, and Hung told me to
start rolling up the kitestrings. It looked like the middle string was broken, but I just
kept wrapping it up with the other line. I asked the other kitesurfer if his lines were
broken, and double-checked to see if he was okay (healthwise) before I got out of the
water with my instructor to fix the strings on our kite. I was cold and shaken up after
this little collision, and decided to stay out of the water for the rest of the day. I
decided to watch my instructor go out for a run on the water getting up on the
board looks so easy for him!
Hung later emphasized a focus on body posture, and how he had to lean back
I will practice flying a kite and leaning back with my body this winter
in kiteskiing (so that I can utilize this knowledge next year when I get back in the
water). I would also like to learn a board-sport this winter (to work on my balance). My
body was very tired the next day, and my hands were aching and moving very slowly, so I
will have to get in better physical shape before getting in the water next year (swimming,
skating, yoga and weight-training this winter!!). I love this sport it is very