How to plan your first kitesurf trip
Going for a kite trip? Here you have some tips!
Heading to your first kiteboarding trip is always something special and lets be honest, a bit stressful. You will be comparing wind stats, imagining conditions, looking for what to do apart of kiting and just wishing to get the proper conditions.
Here we will try to help you with our experience on how to prepare your kitesurf holidays and not get very stressed!
Choosing your kitetrip destination:
If you choose to learn kitesurf out of your home spot or town, is probably cos you dont have there steady winds / conditions and nice weather to learn.. Plan to travel away to learn kitesurf is a great choice as you will spend your holidays in a different place and will be fully motivated and focused on learn kitesurf. So, here are our tips to choose a proper place.
If you choose a very well-known destination it could get very bussy on the peak season. A wise choice would be to travel to this destination at the beginning or end of the season. The only risk about this is to get some no wind days or not proper conditions.
The good thing about it is that you can get better prices and deals if you book in advance.
In Tarifa there is no "wind season" as we have wind all year around but for sure we have winter like everywhere else... Temperatures can drop in november, december, january and febraury, but you can also get very nice and warm days at this time of the year. Normally you get cheaper prices if you avoid the summer season.
If you choose to learn kitesurf with Kite Fun Tarifa, forget about the bussy and stressful places as we teach on a area without much people and you will feel confidente and safe all the time.
When to book:
The sooner the better. You will be fully commited and focused on it. Also, normally you will get better prices than last minute.
Tarifa has a vast offer in accommodation and kiteschools but you can get great deals if you find the proper package. Take a look in our kitesurf holidays packages in Tarifa.
You probably want to avoid dedicated wave spots, as learning kitesurf is challenging by itself and if you add big waves, then it can turn in something quite complicated. Is good to learn with normal waves, as is what you will probably find everywhere else in the world, but kitesurf wave spots are probably not your best choice to learn or start with.
Depending on the wind, Tarifa offers different conditions. With E winds we normally have have no waves or a bit of choppy and with W winds you can get from choppy to medium size waves. Cool thing is that our beach is quite long and there are always good spots to learn... if you choose the right kite school!
It is great to learn and kite in lagoons and very useful if you are beginner, but is not essential. There are few spots in the world with flat water (and normally they are small and bussy), so if you really plan to become a kitesurfer you will need to face chopy / waves at some point.
Tarifa has flat water at the sea with E winds but you can also get lagoon some times during each month. Is not allowed to kite on this lagoon, but when the tidal is big enough, all the beach gets flood and you can kite inside (avoiding the birds area).
Choosing your kiteschool.
If you are a total beginner or you just want to learn some more advance stuff, it is very important to find the right kite school. What you should look about it is:
Student to instructor ratio:
Some times can be frustrating to be in a big group sharing a kite, so be aware of that prior your course and have clear what you will recive. Normally, 2 students per instructor or private courses are the best way to learn.
In Kite Fun Tarifa you can choose between:
+Group courses: Up to 4 persons with 2 kites and 1 instructor. Is great if you come with some friends and want to share the experience all together. It is also the cheapest way to learn.
+Closed group courses: 2 persons with one kite and instructor. This is normally the best way to learn, as you also learn from your partner mistakes and normally is a very relaxed way to learn.
+Semi-private courses: This means 2 persons with 2 kites and one instructor. We recommend this courses to people who already had some experience as it could be a bit tricky for the first hours, but if you have good skills is also a great option.
+Private courses: 1 person with one instructor. Definitely, the best course as everything will adapt to you and your learning speed.
Try to book with a kiteschool that works with top brands and also that keeps it updated! Using the right kite will help a lot in your improvement. There are kites which are more technical than other and with better specific capabilities that will help you to progress faster.
In Kite Fun Tarifa we work with North Kiteboarding, one of the mayor brands on the market. For our courses, we use North Neo, which is the best kite out there to learn with. Predictive handling, nice power deliver, super easy relaunch and lots of power at your disposal.
How long will it take?:
Most schools works on a 3 days schedule. After this 3 days the idea is that you are able to stand up and ride but... is not always like that. Your progression will come determined by your skills and also for the conditions. Experience tell us that normally in 12h (3 days course) you will be able to stand up and make few meters, in 16h normally people ride in one direction and 20h people normally kitesurf in both ways.
If you learn on a private course, normally will take 8h to achive what you achive in 20h of group course.
Is a good option because several days in a row probably will make you learn easily and you will really get all the details. Is no mandatory, but a good option that if you book 5 days, you make all this days in a row.
Learning with kids:
Some school teach children. Be sure they are experienced and have the right equipment for them. Kite Fun Tarifa has adapted equipment and we have plenty of experience to take your little one up on the board safely and having fun!
Having realistic expectations:
The wind is never guaranteed, even in the worlds most reliable locations. Is good to know the "no wind policy" prior your kite course. And also, be realistic with the time and level you will achieve!
In Kite Fun Tarifa you will only pay for the hours you make and no more. Some other schools will make you pay the full price and give you back a "voucher" with a period of time to use it... But under of point of view, the right and honest way to do it is to pay for what you do.
Picking an accredited school:
There are several organisations such as IKO, BKSA, VDWS and some others. Is good that your school / instructor is certified by one. Like this you will follow a proven metodology.
Traveling with your own equipment:
If you own equipment, you may want to take it with you. Is not complicated to travel with it, but there are some tips to travel with your boardbag easier.
If you dont want to spend a lot of money, this is the most important part if you want to travel with your kite equipment.
Check weight and dimension policy of your airline. You can pack all your equipment (with a twintip) in a 140cm boardbag easily. Normally you can put a board, 2-3 kites, harness, wetsuit (dry) and the rest of the equipment and should be around 25kg. Normal fee you will pay if is not included on your flight ticket is around 50€, but there are some that charge much more. Check this prior your booking or you may get a big surprise!
On the other hand, there are some other companies that are happy to take your boardbag without extra charges, as Emirates, Qatar, etc..
If you have problems with weight, try to leave kite bags at home and try to share the weight between different bags. But never leave your pump at home, specially on some destinations could be difficult to find them or just to find the right one for your kite!
Also your clothes are normally lighter than your kites, so sometimes is good to put your kites on your hand luggage and your clothes on your boardbag.. Just take enough time to prepare your bags!
If you book extra bags, try to do it online, is normally much cheaper that do it directly at the airport.
So, get book your trip, get your bags ready and go to kitesurf somewhere!