Kiteboarding, or Kitesurfing as its known when there are waves involved, has taken the world by storm. With the monsoon winds picking up in Thailand, boarders can be spotted daily catching wind windows and riding the white capped oceans off beaches around the kingdom. What makes kiteboarding so popular is that it combines the most exciting elements of its on-water cousins — sailing, windsurfing, wake-boarding and surfing. This means it's exciting to watch from the shore, but even more thrilling to learn.
Although it may look easy, Kiteboarding is not something you can pick up without lessons. The pros will tell you its 80% about kite flying technique and 20% board skills, which is why training generally starts on the beach with a trainer kite before you even go near the water. In fact, some trainers even say its best to buy a trainer kite before you take a formal lesson, just to get used to the way it (and you) respond. Fortunately, thanks to the sport's worldwide popularity, advances in the type of equipment available, combined with a significant increase in the number of skilled instructors offering their services now make its easy to learn the basics on a holiday. In Thailand
, there are kiteboarding schools in places like Koh Samui
, Koh Phangan and Hua Hin, which means you can try your hand before you take the plunge. But be warned, it's addictive and you may soon find your luggage grows when you next head off on a beach break
Kiteboarding is a highly creative sport, there's no single way to ride or jump, and because a lot of boarders bring skills from other types of board sport, the range of techniques and styles is vast. Here are some tricks you can look forward to trying out once you get past the initial challenge of the board launch. Edging
is an essential skill when you tilt the board with its edge into the water to control the direction of travel. A Backside
is when you turn to point the back of your body towards the kite, passing the bar from the front hand to the back hand. A Grab
is when you reach down to the board while jumping and clasp it. Grabs can be performed on their own or combined with other tricks.
A Board Off
is when you take your feet off the board while riding and then puts them back in the foot straps. An Invert
is when you go upside down while in the air. A Spin
is when you and board rotate around on a vertical axis.
The tricks in Kiteboarding, and the terms that describe them, are almost limitless, but be sure you learn with a certified instructor to avoid what is commonly known in the sport as a KITEMARE
. IKO (International Kiteboard Organization) is a professional network of top level examiners, professionally trained instructors, and affiliated kiteboarding centres. IKO provides the highest level of teaching, with standards that are recognised and applied around the world.
Below are some links for Kiteboarding Schools in Thailand:
by MAX VEE