You probably heard of kite surfing, right? Or maybe not. So what is kite surfing, and what does it entail? Need not worry; we got you!
Kite surfing is a sport that dates back to the 13th century when kite sails were a common mode of transport, whereby kites were used to pull boats through the water. Kite surfing, just like kiteboarding, uses a kite and a kiteboard to increase motion and go against gravity when wave riding.
There are several kitesurfing styles: freestyle, wake style, speed racing, wave riding, etc.
Can You Kite Surf Alone?
The short answer is yes, but the risk increases when there are no fellow kitesurfers near you in the face of trouble.
The issue with kite surfing alone is the double risk factor associated with it than when you are in the company of fellow kitesurfers to assist you in case of an accident.
If you wish to kite surf alone, ensure that you:
- Are excellent in self-landing and self-launching
- Got the proper equipment to handle harsh sea conditions
- Know rescue of kite surfing incidents and are decent at swimming
- Understand how and when to choose the right kite for a particular weather
Pro-tip: Kite surfing alone is risky and generally not recommended because of the many known and unknown risks.
Troubles Associated with Kitesurfing Alone
The first difficulty you will go through when you decide to kite surf alone is when you launch your kite.
In an ideal situation, your fellow kitesurfer will assist you in holding your kite as you launch it.
When self-launching your kite, the difficult part comes after your lines have been set and hooked in the sand. You have to ensure the lines are tensed up and around the part of the kite which pulls the lines sideways.
You then turn the kite gradually while it faces the wind and begins moving till it launches. The danger is that strong winds can be catastrophic for you. Your kite can be steered off and swept, dragging you along the beach and hurting you badly.
Self-landing can be an uphill task when there are strong winds. In stronger winds, pulling the front line of your kite above the ground is dangerous as strong winds may relaunch the kite and may lead to you losing control and your hand being cut off.
That is why it’s important to have fellow kite surfers around to offer help in such incidents.
3. Water Conditions
Kite surfing alone is less risky when you are familiar with the water conditions of the sea. You should know if there are rocks after the tide goes, the currents, and the waves.
If you are not familiar with the above water conditions, it is highly advised not to kitesurf alone. Alternatively, you may consult a fisher around or a kite surfer for the water conditions if you must kite surf alone on unfamiliar water!
4. Speed of Wind
Wind speed and direction are important aspects in determining the size of the kit to set up.
If you go kitesurfing alone, you can only rely on yourself to judge the wind condition and direction, so it’s prudent to use a wind meter for assessing wind, but the most important factor is experience.
The wind may seem right and change suddenly in the middle of your session. That is why experience is key because when you are experienced, you are familiar with wind forecasts and how to maneuver when things go wrong.
Pro-tip: You should be careful with light winds as they are unconducive to kite surfing alone. They may make your kite drop and make it hard to relaunch it.
6 Tools Crucial When You Kite Surf Alone
- Warm wetsuit: If you lose your kite or board and drift for a long time in the water, a warm wetsuit will help retain body heat.
- Line cutter: If your kite loops or your lines get caught on a rock or harness, a line cutter will save you in such scenarios when kite surfing alone.
- A bigger kite: Your kite falling and not relaunching when wind drops can be catastrophic, especially offshore. A bigger than usual kite will solve issues.
- Life jacket: When kite surfing alone and inexperienced, a life jacket is highly recommended to keep you afloat if you get in trouble with your kite offshore.
- A phone: It is a good idea to surf with your phone when alone so that you can call for help in the event any negative outcome I have highlighted above occurs.
- Board leash: a board leash is important as it acts as a safety item by keeping you from losing your board
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Dangerous is Kite Surfing?
Kitesurfing is generally not dangerous and is safe in appropriate weather conditions. However, weather unpredictability and ignoring safety practices can be disastrous.
2. Is it Easy to Learn Kitesurfing?
Kite surfing is quite easy when you have a good and experienced professional instructor and consistent wind to enable you to learn faster.
3. Is There an Age Limit for Kitesurfing?
The sport has no age limit. As long as you can swim, you can learn the basics and perfect your skills on your own. Kids who can swim can kite surf, and the same goes for older people who have the strength, and it’s also a good form of exercise.
4. What is the Duration of Learning Kite Surfing?
Kitesurfing courses generally take three days long. Those days are enough for the tutor to teach you how to be self-sufficient and get on the board. After that, you may opt to rent or buy the equipment required to kite surf henceforth.
When kite surfing, many things can go wrong; the kite may deflate, the wind drops, a huge wave crushing your head, your lines get stuck in the rocks, etcetera.
In such occurrences, you are safer with a helping hand when kite surfing with fellow surfers, unlike when alone.
But suppose you want to go kite surfing alone. In that case, it is highly advisable to ensure you do due diligence prior, prepare adequately, avoid going too far offshore and have the appropriate tools and gear as highlighted above.