How many lessons do you need to learn kitesurfing?

How many lessons do you need to learn kitesurfing?

How many lessons do you need to learn kitesurfing?

Alright, your mind is set on this new sport, but your wallet is a bit reluctant. Fair enough, mine would be too. So you are wondering how many lessons you should book. Knowing that most kitesurfing schools offers discounted prices if you book more than one lesson at once, you would like to know exactly how many hours you need before you can go on your own.

 

“Teaching quickly is not a badge of good quality instructions, it is just a sale pitch”

 

The expected learning time

The truth is, there is no straight answer. It is impossible to know how fast someone will learn. If a kitesurfing school promises you to be riding the board within X number of hours, you should walk away. Teaching quickly is not a badge of good quality instructions, it is just a sale pitch. Even worse, when they create this expectation and they cannot reach it, the instructor will be more likely to skip teaching you some very important skills in order to get you to ride within the promised time. Having this expectation may also cause frustration if you are not reaching the expected level in time, and you will think you are bad at the sport, and you may even give up. Hang in there, you are not bad, you just need more time and someone made you believe there was a learning time frame you needed to fit in.

 

“Kitesurfing cannot be compared to any other sports”

 

The student’s background

How can you evaluate how many hours you will need then? Some indicators will help you make a decision. Are you fit? Do you practice other sports? Have you ever done any board sport? Any wind sport? If yes, you are more likely to learn faster. You have to note as well that aging slows down the learning process. Very sadly, your brain records muscle memory much slower when you are more life-experienced, so if you are in your 50’S and up (yes, we have students even in their 70’s), then expect needing more lessons, no matter how fit and sporty you are.

Kitesurfing cannot be compared to any other sports. How many times do we hear “I am a windsurfer / wakeboarder, so I will learn quickly. I only need 2h of lessons”. That is great, you will probably need fewer lessons than someone who doesn’t practice those sports, but you still need to learn to fly a kite, recover a board, self-rescue and all those skills specific to kitesurfing, and this will take more than 2h. You may even have built habits from your previous sports that do not apply in kitesurfing, and breaking these habits may be harder than if you came without any background, so it can also be a disadvantage.

 

The minimum time for learning

There is a minimum time that you need to spend learning the basics. This minimum is 6 Hours of lessons. It takes on average 6 hours to cover all the beginner exercises. Some people will nail them with a minimum of explanations and will be able to learn within 4 hours, but that is the exception. If you need to repeat the exercises, you may end up needing more than 6 hours, and this is very common, so don’t be hard on yourself.

 

“Technically, you are not taking lessons to learn to kitesurf, you are taking lessons to learn to be safe for yourself and others. Learning to ride is a second priority.”

 

Being independent

On average, students will be independent within 6 hours, but will not be able to ride consistently. What does that mean? It means that you can go practice on your own, you don’t need to be supervised by an instructor anymore. You can choose a proper kitesurfing location, assess the conditions, recover your board, launch and land the kite safely, and get yourself out of trouble if an emergency occurs. You also have good kite control, you understand your equipment, you have a safe behavior on the beach and you know the right of way rules, so you can deal with other kitesurfers. Technically, you are not taking lessons to learn to kitesurf, you are taking lessons to learn to be safe for yourself and others. Learning to ride is a second priority. So when you are “independent”, you may not be able to ride, to go upwind, you may even have a hard time just getting up on the board, but you are safe to go practice all of this on your own. From there, the best thing to do is to alternate between self-practice and lessons. If you are not feeling confident enough to go on your own, you can ask a kitesurfing friend to come with you or book more lessons. There is no shame in needing more support.

 

“It takes repetition to build muscle memory”

 

Practice time

Do you still need lessons after you reach the ”independent” level? If I tell my student that they are ready to practice on their own, it is because I have the confidence that they will not hurt themselves or hurt others. It is a huge responsibility, as an instructor, to make sure our student will be safe after they are done with their lessons. If you are tight on budget, from there, you can learn to ride and go upwind on your own. However, having an instructor watching you and giving you direct feedback and advice will help you figure out what you are doing wrong and how you can improve. Sometimes, one extra lesson will make all the difference. At this stage, it is quite easy to plateau, because you do not know what to do and how to improve. It can be a frustrating stage without help.

Unless you want to be paying an instructor every time you go kitesurfing, you need to build up the confidence to go on your own – and by “on your own”, I mean without the support of an instructor, I do not mean that you have to be the only person in the water. It is always safer to kite with other kitesurfers. You can start with a simple body drag to gain confidence, before attempting water starts on your own. It takes repetition to build muscle memory, so if you can practice it, you will be ready to work on the next thing and your lesson time will be more profitable.

In conclusion, How many lessons do you need to learn kitesurfing? A minimum of 6 hours is recommended, but very few are riding long distances comfortably and consistently within this time frame. To be independent, it can take anywhere from 6 hours to a 100 hours. Passed the independent point, it is advised to go practice on your own and come back for more guidance, to make the best of your lesson time. How long it takes for you to learn is irrelevant, what is important is that you learn properly and enjoy your time on the water. It takes time and effort, and your limit is your determination and commitment. As long as you want to learn to kitesurf, you can do it!

How many lessons do you need to learn kitesurfing?

2 Comments

  • As you know, it took me ages. So it wasnt a cheap excercise, but I want people reading this to know it is worth it.
    I am independent, I can ‘mow the lawn’, I can kite and stay upwind, I can get downwind too. I am safe. Not perfect, not beyond the occasional brain fade, and I still am nervous each time I go out to kite. But I dont have to walk much now and the confidence to go faster is growing. Thanks Sylvie for persevering and just being positive.

    Pip Sawyer,
  • This is the best advice I have ever read. I am 64, used to windsurf (no advantage because you have to learn to let go). I’ve had 25 hours of lessons and my kite flying is great, aware of surroundings, body-dragged, self rescue procedures done, learnt how to relaunch for all different scenarios. Problem is I stay far from water so infrequent lessons. This leads to ‘starting again’ most times. Fortunately I have persevered. Last lesson I went on water and almost successful. I know where I went wrong. Next time is my ‘wow moment’. Can’t wait. But. still I’m not phased if I need ‘another lesson’ because this is an extreme sport and things can go wrong. So stick with it, and don’t be in a rush.

    Joe Tucker,
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