The very first thing people do when taking up a new sport is to search for a place to learn. Hunting down the best teachers and the best instructional centre isn’t always straight forward. How can you be sure you are choosing the right kitesurfing school for you?
We’ve heard many stories from our students about bad experiences they’ve had at other kite schools in the past. So, we’ve put together this guide with the hope that it will help you to avoid the same fate.
Sometimes the instructor isn’t qualified. Sometimes inexperienced. The centre may be ill-equipped, the kite gear is not kept in good condition or the sessions are run in such large groups that the teaching is ineffective, and personal progression is slow. Instructors have been known to spend hours upon hours teaching students with a training kite on the beach. It’s a way to make extra money but is rarely an effective use of training time for the student.
Equally, learning from a “friend” or local dude you meet at the beach may sound like a great idea at first but could possibly end with you learning bad habits or skipping important safety skills that you’ll wish you’d learnt later down the line. In the very worst-case scenario, you could find yourself in the middle of the sea without proper rescue assistance!
All these scenarios are enough to leave anyone feeling deflated, let alone knowing you’ve spent a ton of money and not hit your goal of being able to kite independently. It’s a real bummer and people who have been through this scenario often have very little confidence left in their ability to learn to kite at all!
However, learning to kite is not all doom and gloom! We want you to know that there are great schools out there waiting for you-you just have to know what to look for.
Therefore, it’s super important that no matter which school you choose, that you do your research first!
Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a Kitesurfing School!
In this guide, we will cover the most important things to consider when searching for a kitesurfing school.
There are 100’s of kitesurfing schools worldwide, in fact, it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Narrowing your choices down and picking your learning location is a good place to start.
Learning to Kitesurf Close to Home!
If you prefer to learn somewhere close to home, then start looking for centres that are located at the nearest shoreside towns and villages to you.
You may find some inland kite clubs that can arrange trips and days out to different locations. Honestly, this is a great idea for kiters that are already riding independently but we wouldn’t recommend this set up for beginners.
Stick to a local school that has an established training spot. You’ll have better facilities, plenty of equipment on hand and your instructors will really know their spot well!
If you choose to learn locally it’s likely you will meet other kitesurfing enthusiasts that are willing to share tips to help you enjoy kitesurfing nearby. They will be able to recommend the best local kite spots and the best time of year to visit each one and may also organise regular trips further afield. So learning locally is great if you are a social bird and looking to have a community of like-minded friends close to home.
However, one thing you’ll need to remember is that you will have many days between each lesson when you are attempting to fit your kite lessons around your normal work schedule and other regular commitments.
Choosing a Kitesurfing School Abroad!
If you have some vacation time coming up, then learning to kitesurf abroad can be the greatest holiday experience you’ve ever had!
Choose to spend as many days of your vacation learning to kitesurf as you wish. We recommend that you dedicate a good few days in a row for lessons until you are up and riding. This will prevent you from having to repeat the same lessons holiday after holiday.
You see learning to kite is much like learning to ride a bike; once you are up and riding it will be much easier for your body and mind to remember all you’ve learnt so you’ll be set to pick up where you left off on your next kitesurfing trip.
10 -14 days will give you the best chance of being able to ride independently by the end of your first kitesurf holiday because you always want to account for the risk of having a couple of no wind days.
At Nomad Kite Events to get the most hours on the water you can book a Kitesurfing Event. You’ll see much faster progress this way than just booking a few hours of lessons,
Another advantage of kitesurfing abroad is that each country has its own ideal kiting seasons throughout the year. If for example you live in Europe and decide you want to learn to kite during months where the water temperature is extremely low, you may be better off booking a flight, accommodation and heading to a sunnier, warmer location and to take some lessons there instead! In fact, most of our students that have tried learning to kite at home prefer the conditions we have here in Egypt.
An Experienced, Qualified Kitesurfing School
Like any sport, kitesurfing can be dangerous so making sure both the school and instructors are fully qualified is essential to making sure you have the smoothest and safest experience possible.
As well as choosing a centre that has a good reputation, reviews and is recommended by others you can also look at the training organisation(s) they are affiliated with.
There are several highly respected kitesurfing training organisations that instructors can become certified through.
Choose a school or an instructor that is certified by one of the following: The International Kitesurfing Organisation (IKO), The British Kitesports Association (BKSA) and Verband Deutscher Windsurfing und Wassersportschulen (VDWS).
Individual Instructor Experience
A well-established centre with a good reputation is usually a pretty good sign that they have been doing something right all these years. However, more importantly, are the individual instructors that a centre employ.
Instructors travel to teach in different locations around the world and centres often take in additional instructors during peak seasons.
Make sure that the instructor you are given is qualified and experienced by asking which organisation they are certified through, how long they have been teaching and discover their story of how they became a kitesurfing instructor.
A passionate individual, who loves what they do is likely to be a good teacher and they’ll be more than happy to share a personal journey to kitesurfing with you.
At Nomad Kite Events we have over 12+ years of teaching experience and we ensure all of our instructors (even our freelancers) are experienced, IKO Qualified and teach with a safety-first attitude.
Also, every instructor will have their own personality and slightly different teaching style. Personality clashes can happen so if you are not happy with the instructor you’ve been given, you should feel comfortable in approaching the school and asking for an alternative instructor. Obviously, be mindful – they may not always have additional instructors available if they are already booked out for other lessons.
The Kite Spot and Conditions
There are few things that make a kite spot preferable for beginners:
Shallow Waters –
It’s easier to learn if you can stand up with both feet firmly on the bottom. This will limit any chance of you drifting whilst trying to listen to your instructor. You will also be able to walk back after completely certain skills to prevent getting to close to shore during training and you will not drift far away downwind.
Learning from a boat works too but it requires a lot more physical exertion and you may find you tire quicker due to the extra use of your core muscles to keep your position in the water.
A very important step you might miss out on if learning for the first time from a boat in deep water is how to launch and land a kite alone on the beach as well as certain hand signals, kite set up and other important skills. This could become problematic when you decide to take your first kite holiday from the shore as an independent rider.
Separate Teaching Area –
We have found that beginners progress with more confidence when the kitesurfing school has a separate area for teaching. When you are just starting out seeing riders coming towards you can lead to some anxiety as you are trying to master keeping the kite up in the air, taking your first meters on the board or mastering riding directions. Knowing that you have a dedicated space for learning means you can focus on yourself without additional distraction.
Rescue Boat –
A good kitesurfing school will have set rescue procedures including a trained rescue team, rescue boat and first aid kits. Knowing these things are in place will enable you to kite with peace of mind, knowing that if you suddenly find you are unable to return to the shore, there will be somebody to lend you a hand. Safety first!
Flat Waters –
When you’re just learning how to control a kite and attempt your first water starts, waves can be challenging. Calm flat waters are always easier for first-time kitesurfers.
The Wind Direction –
The wind direction can change at a spot from day to day however there will be patterns to the wind wherever you are. Onshore wind will take you to the beach and offshore winds will take you to the sea. Therefore, a side-shore wind is preferable for safety reasons and makes it much easier to go out to sea and return to the beach.
The kitesurfing school you choose should be able to provide you with detailed knowledge about the spot, it’s facilities and its condition variations.
Finally, we come to the equipment. Having the wrong or poorly maintained kitesurfing equipment can make any enthusiastic individuals learning experience a complete nightmare!
The next section of our Beginners Guide to Kitesurfing Guide will be all about Equipment!
However, the most important things to check with your centre are:
* Is the equipment checked for damage and maintained regularly?
* Do they have plenty of equipment in each size? – Ill fit equipment can make learning more difficult and may even be dangerous. Make sure the school you choose has plenty of teaching equipment.
*Which brand of equipment do they use for teaching? – There are many reputable brands to choose from however the most popular include: F-One, Cabrinha and of course our favourite – Duotone!
At Nomad Kite Events we maintain a well-stocked equipment room full of the latest kites from Duotone. We always check and repair our equipment regularly and encourage our students to pack down correctly at the end of each session. This helps keep the equipment in the best possible condition.
Let’s Sum That All Up…
Choosing a kite centre is an important first step on your journey to becoming a kitesurfer. Simply follow this guide and checking that your centre ticks all the right boxes before you commit to learning with them, you’ll get off to a great start!
- Well established centre with a good reputation.
- Qualified school AND instructors (IKO, VDWS, BKSA)
- Passionate, knowledgeable and experienced instructors
- Shallow teaching areas
- Separate teaching areas
- Flat waters
- Side shore winds
- Trained rescue team
- Rescue Boat
- Well stocked equipment stores
- Quality regularly maintained and updated equipment
When we set up our kite school we were sure to make sure we put all the things on the list above into place. Our aim has been to make learning as enjoyable and safe for our guests as it possibly can be.
If you are looking to learn to kite abroad we, of course, we would love to see you here in El Gouna so get in touch, ask us as many questions as you’d like or better still book now to come to pay us a visit and see for yourself!