Kiteboarding 101: How to Get Up

For me, it was the hardest part. I thought I was never going to get it. It's kind of something you need to know. Without it, there's no kiting for you. Today's lesson: Getting up.

The problem

The standard failure looks like this: Dive the kite, get pulled out of the water, start edging, lose power and sink back into the water.

Ultimately, there are two problems here: 1) you're scared of getting blown downwind, so 2) you start edging before building enough speed.

When you're a beginner, your biggest fear (besides becoming an unwilling projectile) is being blown downwind and unable to get back to your launch. Your instincts tell you to engage your edge as soon as you're out of the water. The problem is, you don't have the feel for how to get going like this yet.

So, let's address these issues.

The solution

1. Remove downwind fear from the equation

You've got to put yourself in a position where you won't worry about getting blown downwind.

The ideal setup is lessons with an experienced instructor who's got herself a jet ski, or some other form of chase boat. This won't be cheap, but you'll be shredding it up a lot sooner. With an instructor and jet ski, all downwind worries disappear.

Alternatively, you've got to embrace the walk of shame. This is what I eventually had to do, as I couldn't afford an instructor. Sure, I had some long walks back, but I saw immediate improvement. Accept it and you'll be much better off.

2. Build downwind speed before you edge

You need to let the kite take you downwind and build speed before you start edging. Here's how:

  1. Point your board downwind.

  2. Dive the kite and get pulled up.

  3. Keep your board pointed downwind—don't edge yet!

  4. Let yourself get pulled downwind until you build good speed.

  5. Gradually engage your edge.

Good luck and happy kiting!

Find me on Twitter.