Kitesurfers School | Kiteboarding Lessons

Kitesurfing Teaching Methodology (KTM) – Learning Kiteboarding Together

Overview of Kite Teaching Methodology:

KTM is based on the information written at kitesurfingschool.org/teach.htm in the early days of kitesurfing.  

Since then, it has evolved based on real-world experiences in teaching and learning kitesurfing, kite snowboarding, kite skiing, and kite landboarding students in the subsequent years plus the relevant information extracted from the numerous posts at the Kitesurf, Ksurfschool groups, and other various kitesurfing forums.

Table of Contents

Thumb Up! Photo by Steve Slaby. 

KTM is the first and as of Dec 10th, 2004 (the first release date), the only formal “open source” kite teaching methodology in the world that covers many disciplines of kite sports: kitesurfing, kite snowboarding, kite-skiing, and kite landboarding for many different types of kites: 

LEI, Flat LEI, Foil, and Arc.  KTM is an “open source” methodology such that any school or kiter who wants to use, copy or improve this methodology is welcome to do so as long as:

  • Proper credit be given to www.KitesurfingSchool.Org
  • The improvements are also “open source” and can be used by all other schools in the world.

KTM is intended to be the first “open source” teaching methodology that covers many disciplines of kite sports.

It allows all surfing schools in the world to teach their students or experienced kiters to teach their friends safely using the methodology herein.  

Why "Open Source" Kite Teaching Methodology?

We documented and released KTM for many reasons:
  1. There was no kite teaching methodology available online worldwide
  2. To spread the teaching know-how experiences to all schools and kiters worldwide
  3. To receive feedback from all kiters and kiting organizations worldwide (schools, manufacturers, associations, distributors, retailers, etc.) to further improve KTM
  4. To provide professional assurance that there are proper formal kite  teaching methodology and certification process available online worldwide (for insurance, business license, association entrance or any other credentials, etc.)
  5. To facilitate and formalize the KTM Examiner certification process
  6. To facilitate and formalize the  KTM Instructor certification process
  7. Many kiters will teach their friends and relatives and don’t know how to do it properly
  8. Students normally have no idea of what is expected of them before, during, and after the lesson
  9. Some kite lessons are based on time and there may not be any guarantee at the end of the lesson
  10. Most kite lessons are only for water and no specific lessons for snow or land-based kiting activities (experiences have proved that learning to kite on snow first is safer)

KTM Kitesurf Examiner Qualification

A KTM Examiner has the following credentials:
Is the School Director (Head Instructor) of a KTM school that has been teaching the appropriate disciplines for more than 3 years.  Proof: employment record and student records (first and most recent student records) Has taught the appropriate kiting disciplines for more than 3 years.  Proof: student records (first and most recent student records).

A KTM kite school is a kite school that agrees with KTM’s principle and uses KTM for teaching. Please contact us if your school is a KTM school and you want to add it to the worldwide KTM school list.

As stated above, the Head Instructor (School Director) of a KTM kite school with more than 3 years of teaching experience automatically qualified as a KTM Examiner in the appropriate discipline.  The “employment record and student records” form the formal proof for a KTM Examiner.

Please contact us if you are qualified as a KTM Examiner and want to be listed on the worldwide KTM Examiner list to certify local KTM Instructors.

KTM Kiteboarding Instructor Requirements

A KTM instructor should have the following credentials:
  1. Know how to kitesurf, kite-snowboard, kite ski, or kite-landboard to teach the appropriate discipline.   Proof: currently teach at an existing KTM kite school (employment record) or to be certified by a KTM Examiner
  2. Can go upwind, jump and land properly (while teaching a beginner normally does not involve jumping and landing, a KTM instructor should know how to do so to fully understand the capability of the kite and its associated power).  Proof: currently teach at an existing KTM kite school (employment record) or to be certified by a KTM Examiner.
  3. Have kited for 3 years in the appropriate discipline.  Proof: kiting lesson registration & completion record, or kiting group or forum participation record (membership or posting record)
  4. Trained in Emergency First Aid and CPR.  Proof: First Aid & CPR certificate

KTM Instructor Certification

A KTM Instructor having the above credentials should be able to teach using the KTM methodology.  In the event that a KTM Instructor Certificate is required for business reasons (insurance, business license, association entrance, employment, etc.), KitesurfingSchool.Org or any KTM examiners can offer to examine the instructor and issue the KTM Instructor Certificate for some small fee to cover the travel, out-of-the-pocket expenses, and the time spent doing the certification. 

Please contact us should you need a KTM Instructor Certificate and we will try to locate a KTM Examiner near you to certify your capability.

Photo by Jennifer Madore. 

KTM Lesson Registration & Waiver Form

All students should formally register for kitesurfing, kite snowboarding, kite skiing, and kitelandboarding lessons for the schools to have a record of the student info and the starting date of the lesson.

The registration form should have a waiver to:
  1. Warn the students of the inherent danger of the sport
  2. Indemnify the schools and the instructors.

Kitesurf Lesson Details

A kitesurfing lesson is divided into 3 x 3-hour sessions and a kite skiing, kitesnowboarding and kite landboarding lesson is divided into 2 x 3-hour sessions.  A student can do 1 session per day or 2 sessions per day (1st session in the morning and the 2nd in the afternoon).  So a kitesurfing lesson can last 2 or 3 days and a kite snowboarding, kiteskiing, and kite landboarding lesson can last 1 or 2 days.  One instructor can teach up to 2 or max 3 students at a time.

For students with less physical endurance, a KTM school can rearrange the standard KTM 3 x 3-hour kitesurfing lesson into a 4 x 2-hour lesson and the standard 2 x 3-hour KTM kite snowboarding, kite skiing, kitelandboarding lesson into a 3 x 2-hour lesson.

KTM recommends that kitesurfing lessons be conducted in shallow water (around waist deep). Deep or wavy water may require more time than the 3 x 3 hours kitesurfing lesson recommended by KTM (some KTM schools have mentioned that it may take up to 6 x 3 hours for a place with lots of waves and shore breaks).

Learning The Basics Of Kiteboarding

All kiting lessons using the standard KTM methodology should be guaranteed.  The students should be able to:
  1. Understand kiting safety issues and operating of the kite safety system
  2. Understand and perform the “let go of the bar” reflex
  3. Launch and land the kite
  4. Get on the kiteboard, snowboard, ski or landboard and go with the kite for at least 10m both directions
  5. Kitesurfing students are also guaranteed to be able to water relaunch the kite from the water under normal conditions (at least a couple of times during the lesson)

Kite Surfing Tutorial Requirements

If some students are not capable of performing the guaranteed actions at the end of the lesson, extra sessions should be given free of charge until they can perform the guaranteed actions (unless the students give up and don’t want the extra sessions). 

This level of guarantee is necessary to ensure that all KTM trained pupils are capable of further practicing.  However, it is recommended and essential that a new student should go out practicing at a spot with some other kiters around to help for the first 10 sessions after the lesson.

The students should read these instructions before the lessons to understand the next steps and what they are expected to achieve. The beginner student is also encouraged to read kitesurfingschool.org for more information. At the end of a session, the instructor may want to review this methodology and put a checkmark on all the steps accomplished successfully.  At the end of KTM lessons, all the steps in this methodology should be marked successfully.

Avoiding The Dangers Of Kitesurfing

Of all the kite sport disciplines, kiteboarding is the most dangerous due to the tremendous amount of power required from the kite to stay on the board. The KTM method recommends wide open space for teaching/learning and graduating the students from a small trainer kite to a real one in the water. 

If for whatever reasons, a proper kite size is not available for the student, shorter or longer line length may be used to compensate for the lack of proper size (a 3m to 5m line length shorter or longer is normally estimated to be equivalent to 1m kite size smaller or larger).

Kitesurf Tutorial Program

Day 1: Learn About The Wind, Kite, And Safety

The objective of the first day is to learn about the kite, the wind, kite safety and how to fly the kite.
  • Learn about the wind and the wind window (the student should learn about the various positions of the kite by imaging having a big clock on the sky: 12 o’clock is straight overhead, 6 o’clock is on the ground straight downwind, 9 o’clock is 45 degrees vertical to the left and 3 o’clock is 45 degrees vertical to the right).
  • Learn about the “Hit Zone” (the yellow area in the above diagram) and not to kite when there are people in the Hit Zone.
  • Learn about the weather system and when not-to-kite
  • Learn about the dangers of kite sports and where not-to-kite
  • Learn about the different type of kites & equipment
  • Learn about the kite safety system and the “let go of the bar” reflex (this will be practiced throughout the lesson)
  • Learn to set up, verify, fly and control a small trainer kite (or a small kitesurfing kite with shorter lines around 5 – 10m) on land:
    • Setup the kite
    • Launching
    • Landing
    • Steering left, steering right
    • Place the kite at any position in the wind window
    • The kite goes straight across the wind window from left to right and then from right to left (try to have the student flying the kite as straight as possible)
    • The kite goes straight down from the top of the wind window to as close to the ground as possible and turns straight back up (try to have the student flying the kite as straight as possible)
    • Sine wave pattern while running to the left and then to the right (between 8 and 11 o’clock if going to the left and between 1 and 4 if going to the right; kite should never pass 12 o’clock)
    • Kite looping clockwise and counter-clockwise (with body backspin if the student is capable)
    • Combinations of the above and any other patterns as the student wishes.
  • Learn to set up, verify, fly and control a small kitesurfing kite (foil, arc, or inflatable) on land (the kite should be big enough to simulate the water starting action on land):
    • Setup the kite
    • Launching
    • Landing
    • Steering left, steering right
    • Place the kite at any position in the wind window
    • Some small dragging on sand (or snow) to get used to the power of the kite and learn the lean-to-windward body position (learn how to use the kite to support a portion of the body weight while leaning windward)
    • Simulate water starting while sitting down and then dive the kite down to the left (from 1 o’clock to 8 or 9 o’clock) to stand up.  Repeat the same step for the right side (kite goes from 11 o’clock to 4 or 3 o’clock)
    • Sine wave pattern while running to the left and then to the right (between 8 and 11 o’clock if going to the left and between 1 and 4 if going to the right; kite should never pass 12 o’clock).  The student should start feeling some power from the kite and leaning windward while running.
    • Practice a complete sailing sequence of water starting and then sine wave while running to the left (and then to the right)

KTM has been experimenting for many months water only lesson; this means that the student learns exclusively in shallow water including learning how to fly the small kitesurfing kite the first time. No land flying training means less dangerous situations for the kiters and also the student can learn water relaunching of the kite on the first day. KTM recommends water only lesson if there are sufficient shallow water at the training site. 

Day 2: Flying A Real Kitesurf Kite

Similar to day 1 except that the focus this time will be on flying a real kitesurfing kite and various activities on the water.  The student will learn to:
  • Learn self-rescue in the water (depower the kite, wind the lines and hold the kite as a sail to get to shore) as described in https://www.kitesurfingschool.org/safety.htm#Rescue%20Techniques.
  • Learn how to relaunch the kite from the water (this will be practiced throughout the lesson each time the student crashes the kite on the water)
  • Learn flying the kite while hooked in
  • Learn to control the power of the kite using the chicken loop and the trim strap
  • Learn how to control the kite with 1 hand while hooked in.
  • Body drag using the sine wave pattern with feet trailing the body in the water
  • Body drag using the sine wave pattern with feet in front of the body in the water
  • Learn body drag upwind
  • While hooking in, learn to get the feet into the straps with the instructor holding the board
  • While hooking in, learn to get the feet into the straps with 1 hand holding the board
  • Learn to balance the board with both feet in the straps while holding the kite (the student should be able to maintain this balance for at least a few minutes)
  • Learn to dive the kite to get on the board
  • Learn to drop back into the water (after getting on the board) and still retain the perfect balance of the board and the kite.  Repeat this step and the previous step in both directions (left and right)
The emphasis of day 2 will be on water relaunching the kite and kite position when getting on the board.

Water Relaunching LEI kites:

  • Flip the kite by swimming (or running in shallow water) fast toward it
  • Select a top tip and make it fly (by pulling on the back leader line of that top tip)
  • Pull the bottom tip (just hold the bar end which is attached to the bottom tip back- line) and swim (or walk-in shallow water) toward the opposite direction where the kite leading edge is pointing to.
  • When the kite is at the edge of the wind window and ready, pull on the top tip backline to launch the kite

Relaunching Flat LEI kites:

Flat LEIs can be relaunched using the same method as traditional LEI; furthermore, one can use the Flat LEI method:
  • Keep pulling on 1 backline until that side of the kite raises to form a vertical “C”
  • Release the backline and the kite starts to slide toward the wind window edge
  • Pull on the upper back-line to launch the kite off the water
  • Sheet out to depower, the kite will fly up with very little pull

Water Relaunching Arc kites:

  • If the kite is leading edge down, pull on the back leader lines.  The kite will back up from the water.
  • Make a sharp turn to one side and then fly the kite up.
  • If a tip is folded onto another, pull on the bottom tip front line.
  • When the kite is opened up and the top tip is flying, steer the kite off the water.

Water Relaunch Foil kites:

  • If the kite is leading edge down, pull on the back leader lines.  The kite will back up from the water.
  • Make a sharp turn to one side and then fly the kite up.
  • If the kite leading edge is up, just pull on the bar (or the front leader lines) to launch the kite off the water.
  • If the kite is badly mixed up, just wait for the wind to blow the kite in to proper shape before using the steps above depending on the position of the leading edge and trailing edge (frequently the student has to release the line tension, by swimming toward the kite, for the wind to do its job).

Kite Position When Water Starting (to get on the board):

  • If going to the left, start with the kite at 1 o’clock.
  • Dive the kite down rapidly to 8 or 9. o’clock (depending on how power up the condition is).
  • Bring the kite immediately up to 11 o’clock once on the board.

Day 3: Learn To Jibe, Jump, And Ride Overall

The objective of day 3 is to continue to learn to get on the board and to get going for a longer period of time. 
  • Learn how to get on the board in both directions
  • Learn how to generate the power with the kite to stay on the board (when and where to sine the kite)
  • Learn how to control the board using body position and foot pressure
  • Learn kiting navigation rules as specified in https://www.kitesurfingschool.org/rules.htm
  • Learn how to jibe (optional for fast learners)
  • Learn how to edge the board to go upwind (optional for very fast learners)
  • Learn how to do a small jump (optional for easy learners)

This step is very confusing for the students as they need to coordinate various techniques learned so far: flying the kite to generate power, balancing the body against the pull of the kite, and balancing the body on the board.  The instructor can help the student by explaining the fine points of those techniques and how to coordinate them effectively.

Beginners vs. Experienced Kitersurf Students

The students with some board sports experiences (windsurfers, wakeboarders, snowboarders, surfers, etc) will progress very fast as they already know the feeling of being on a board (for those students, the instructor may have time to go through the basics of jibing and going upwind – even small jump for some super students). 

The non-boarder students will have a hard time and tend to stay too far back of the board with too much pressure on the back foot.  In this case, the instructor needs to constantly remind the student to stand more on the front foot when first getting on the board.

 Kitesnowboarding Lessons

The Kitesnowboarding lesson is very similar to the previous lesson.  The student should be up and going in no time.  A kitesnowboarder can learn to be up and going with a kiteboard in a very short time.

Day 1: Learning The Basics Of Snow Kiting

Day 1 in the KTM kite snowboarding lesson is identical to the KTM kitesurfing lesson.

Day 2: Snowkite Upwind, Jibe And Ride

The objective of day 2 is to get going on a board, to go upwind, and to jibe. 

  • Learn flying the kite while hooked in
  • Learn to control the power of the kite using the chicken loop and the trim strap
  • Learn how to control the kite with 1 hand while hooked in
  • Learn how to step in the snowboard bindings while flying the kite (not applicable for non-step-in binding students)
  • Learn how to launch the kite while in the bindings (easier for foil, harder for inflatable and Arc – normally need help)
  • Learn how to get on the board in both directions
  • Learn how to generate the power with the kite to stay on the board (when and where to sine the kite)
  • Learn how to control the board using body position and foot pressure
  • Learn kiting navigation rules as specified in https://www.kitesurfingschool.org/rules.htm
  • Learn how to turn around (“jibe”)
  • Learn how to go upwind by edging the board (optional for fast learners)
  • Learn how to do a small jump (optional for fast learners)

The students with some board sports experiences (windsurfers, wakeboarders, snowboarders, surfers, etc) will progress very fast as he/she already knows the feeling of being on a board.  The non-boarder students will have a hard time and tend to stay too far back of the board with too much pressure on the back foot.  In this case, the instructor needs to constantly remind the student to stand more on the front foot when first getting on the board.

 Kiteskiing Lessons

Kite skiing lesson is slightly easier than kite snowboarding and the main reason is that the student is more stable with 2 skis than with a snowboard. 

Day 1: Similar Instructions As Before

Day 1 in the KTM kite skiing lesson is identical to the KTM kitesurfing lesson.

Day 2: Kite Skiing Upwind And Jibing

The objective of day 2 is to learn to get on the skis, to go upwind, and to jibe. 

  • Learn flying the kite while hooked in
  • Learn to control the power of the kite using the chicken loop and the trim strap
  • Learn how to control the kite with 1 hand while hooked in
  • Learn how to step in the bindings while flying the kite
  • Learn how to get going in both directions
  • Learn how to generate the power with the kite to continue going with the skis (when and where to sine the kite)
  • Learn how to control the skis using body position and foot pressure
  • Learn kiting navigation rules as specified in https://www.kitesurfingschool.org/rules.htm
  • Learn how to turn around (“jibe”)
  • Learn how to go upwind by edging the skis (optional for fast learners)
  • Learn how to do a small jump (optional for very fast learners)

 Beginners vs. Experienced Kite-Skiing Students

The students with some skiing experiences will progress very fast as they already know the feeling of being on a pair of skis.  A non-skier student may find the skis awkward at first and can learn faster by using shorter skis.

Teaching And Learning Kite-Landboarding

Kitelandboarding lesson is somewhat easy as the board is quite stable.  However, one of the dangers is falling on land and most beginners cannot lean windward as in other kite sports but have to lean toward the back of the board instead (as in the following picture)

Day 1: Getting Started In Kite Landboarding

Day 1 in kitelandboarding lesson is identical to kitesurfing lesson.

Day 2: Learning To Kitelandboard Upwind

The objective of day 2 is to learn to get on the board, to go upwind and to jibe. 
  • Learn flying the kite while hooked in
  • Learn to control the power of the kite using the chicken loop and the trim strap
  • Learn how to control the kite with 1 hand while hooked in
  • Learn how to get on the board while flying the kite
  • Learn how to get going in both directions
  • Learn how to generate the power with the kite to continue going with the landboard (when and where to sine the kite)
  • Learn how to control the board using body position and foot pressure
  • Learn how to go upwind/down wind by shifting the board edge
  • Learn kiting navigation rules as specified in https://www.kitesurfingschool.org/rules.htm
  • Learn how to turn around (“jibe”)
It’s is harder to go downwind in kitelandboarding than to go upwind.  The student must learn how to put more toe pressure to go downwind.

Supplementary Kitesurfing Lesson: Water Relaunching And Body Dragging

The supplementary kitesurfing class is for kite skiers and kite snowboarders to learn the supplementary techniques.  The main techniques to learn in this lesson are: relaunching the kite, body-dragging, and getting on the board.  

The lesson will be 3 hours long and can be done in 1 session:

  • Learn self-rescue in the water
  • Learn how to relaunch the kite from the water (this will be practiced throughout the lesson each time the student crashes the kite on the water)
  • Body drag using the sine wave pattern with feet trailing the body in the water
  • Body drag using the sine wave pattern with feet in front of the body in the water
  • Repeat the 2 previous steps while hooking into the chicken loop and then the fixed loop
  • Learn body drag upwind
  • While hooking in, learn to get the feet into the straps with the instructor holding the board
  • While hooking in, learn to get the feet into the straps with 1 hand holding the board
  • Learn to balance the board with both feet in the straps while holding the kite (the student should be able to maintain this balance for at least a few minutes)
  • Learn to dive the kite to get on the board
  • Learn to drop back into the water (after getting on the board) and still retain the perfect balance of the board and the kite.  Repeat this step and the previous step in both directions (left and right)
  • Learn how to get on the board in both directions
  • Learn how to generate the power with the kite to stay on the board (when and where to sine the kite)
  • Learn how to control the board using body position and foot pressure
  • Learn how to jibe (optional for fast learners)
  • Learn how to edge the board to go upwind (optional for very fast learners)
  • Learn how to do a small jump (optional for super-fast learners)
Normally, students in a supplementary kitesurfing lesson can learn very fast (faster than the students in a standard kitesurfing lesson) because they are already efficient in kite power controlling.  The instructor should try to go through the lesson in a pace faster than a normal kitesurfing lesson.

Intermediate Surf Lesson: Go Upwind And Jump With The Board

Intermediate Lessons is for beginner kiters wanting to learn how to go upwind and jump. Due to the mistakes the students likely to make during the jump lesson, it should be done on water or deep snow only (6″ and thicker).  The lesson should last around 3 hours and should cover the following:

  • Learn the going upwind theory in kitesurfing
  • Learn going upwind body position
  • Learn how to edge aggressively
  • Learn to turn the hip and look upwind while riding
  • Learn to use the chicken loop to go upwind
  • Learn the jumping theory in kitesurfing
  • Learn the kite position during the phases of jumping
  • Learn to do small hops
  • Learn to jump
  • Learn to steer the kite while in the air
  • Learn to land

The hardest part of this lesson is going upwind and landing (the ability to turn the kite forward while in the air).  The instructor should provide as many demo as possible for the students to watch and memorize.

Advanced Kiteboarding Tricks Class

Trick lessons are for advanced kiters wanting to learn the various tricks in kiting. Due to the mistakes the students likely to make during the lesson, trick lessons should be done on water or deep snow only. Tricks lessons should be very specific to some particular tricks and should be lasted approximately 1 hour per trick:

  1. Smooth Landing (requirement for many tricks)
  2. Huge Jump (requirement for some tricks)
  3. Grab (requirement for Board-Off)
  4. Spin
  5. Board-Off
  6. Invert
  7. Other tricks as requested by the student and if the instructor has mastered them (Kiteloop, Handle-pass, etc.)

Role Of The Kite Surfing Instructor

Normally a student learning trick lesson can learn very fast but will soon reach a plateau in all tricks.  It’s is the instructor’s objective to observe the student carefully and point out the various mistakes that the student makes to correct them early in the learning process.

KTM Teaching Endorsements

KTM Teaching Methodology is currently endorsed by the following kite schools, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in the world (in alphabetical order):

  1. Best Kiteboarding (US, Manufacturer)
  2. Boom Kites (Austria, Germany, Manufacturer)
  3. Concept Air (Canada, Manufacturer)
  4. Fun Seekers (US, Cape Cod, School)
  5. Globe Rider (US & Canada, Distributor)
  6. Hangin Kiteboarding Center (Philippines, School)
  7. Hotstick (Tarifa, Spain, School)
  8. Kite Film (Norway, Manufacturer)
  9. Kite HQ Aberdeen (UK, School)
  10. KiteLoose (Italy, Manufacturer)
  11. KiteLoose (US & Canada, Distributor)
  12. Kitepower (Australia, Sydney, Geelong, School, Shop)
  13. Kitesurfing School (World-Wide, Online School)
  14. Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding (Dominican Republic, School, Test Center)
  15. Litewave Designs (US, Manufacturer)
  16. Miami Kiteboarding (US, School)
  17. My Newfoundland Adventure (Canada, Newfoundland, School)
  18. Rogue Wave (Canada, Manufacturer)
  19. Sky Surfing (US, School)
  20. Skysurf Kitesurf School (Australia, School)
  21. The Kiteboarding School of Cornwall 
  22. VL Kites (Ottawa, Canada, School)
  23. Windgeister Fehmarn (Germany, School) 
  24. Windnwater Action Sports (Australia, School)
If you are a kite school, organization, manufacturer, distributor or retailer agreeing with KTM’s principle and would like to add your name and link to the above list, please contact us.

Disclaimer

The owners, webmasters, authors, and contributors of this methodology make no representation nor warranty regarding errors, missing of, and correctness of the information contained herein. Use the information contained herein at your own risk.

The owners, webmasters, authors and contributors are not responsible for any loss or accident to you or to other third parties including loss of business, loss of sale, equipment or property damage, injury or death resulting from you or other third parties using the information contained herein.

Kiteboarding Lesson For Beginners

Are you new to this sport and want to get a quick understanding of what you will learn? Then have a look at this video. Enjoy! 

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