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Kiteboarding FAQ
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1. What is kitesurfing, kite surfing kitesking, kiteboarding or flysurfing?
Kitesurfing, kite surfing, kiteboarding or flysurfing (if you speak French), is a new exciting water sport for the new millennium. Kitesurfing is a very, very young sport. In 1998, there were probably only a couple dozens kitesurfers in the world. The population of kitesurfers has been growing rapidly to around 150,000 to 200,000 kitesurfers worldwide by the end of 2006. The idea behind kitesurfing is very simple. A kitesurfer stands on a board with foot straps or bindings and use the power of a large controllable kite to propel him and the board across the water. This simplicity also makes kitesurfing challenging. Your body is the only connection between the kite and the board and you have to control them both at the same time: piloting the kite on the sky and steering the board on the water.
2. How does it work and how did it all start?
Kites originated in China thousands of years ago and have managed to remain unchanged until the modern time, when multiple line controllable kites were introduced by George Pocock in 1826. For the first time in history, instead of letting the wind fly the kite, a multiple line controllable kite flyer can actually pilot the kite on the sky.

When flying across the sky, a kite generates lift like an airplane wing. Since lift is proportional to the size of a kite, some kite flyers realized that if you make a kite big enough it would generate enough power to propel a vehicle on land, snow, ice or water. This type of kite is called traction kite. Certain forms of traction kite has been used by many pioneers such as George Pocock in the past, but it only became popular in the early 1990's and its popularity has made traction kite flying more a sport than just a recreational activity. While a windsurfing sail is dependent on the wind to generate power, a kite is only dependent on the wind to fly. When a kite is flying across the sky, it creates its own wind (apparent wind) which is faster and therefore produces much more power than the actual wind can provide. Since lift is proportional to the square of the wind velocity, if the apparent wind of the kite is twice that of the actual wind you will get four times as much power from the kite. This simple fact is not easy to appreciate until you actually fly a traction kite. Numerous first-time traction kite flyers have been injured in the past for misjudging such power.

As soon as traction kite was introduced, a number of kite flyers started thinking of using kites to replace conventional sails in water sports such as windsurfing. To make this popular, you need a kite that can be launched directly from the water. After years of research, a number of water relauncheable kites were introduced: Wipika inflatable kite (introduced by the Legaignoux brothers in the 80's), Kite Ski frame kite (introduced by Bill & Cory Roeseler in the 80's) and in late 1990's FOne closed cell foil kite (Raphael Salles), Concept Air closed cell foil kite (Michel Montmigny and Benoit Tremblay), Arc (Peter Lynn). While the fundamental technologies are different and the degrees of relauncheability vary, these kites share the same characteristic that allows a kite flyer to launch them from the water after a fall. There are also a number of other pioneer kitesurfers with their passion and devotion has helped to make the sport feasible and spread rapidly in the early days: Laird Hamilton, Manu Bertin, Laurent Ness (Axelair), Robby Naish (Naish Kites), Don Montague (Kiteboat.com), Flash (Marcus) Austin, Dave Culps (Kiteship.com), Stefano Rosso (Yahoo Kitesurf group), Hung Vu (KitesurfingSchool.org) and more. Thanks to all those pioneers, a new sport named kitesurfing was christened and destined to be the most exciting sport for the new millenium.
3. Is kitesurfing safe?
There have been a few known fatal accidents while kitesurfing or any other disciplines of power kiting, safety has to be taken seriously. Make sure you follow the safety guidelines at http://www.KitesurfingSchool.org/safety.htm and always use a safety release system.

All kites nowadays come with safety systems as standard equipment. Kites safety systems that allow the rider to release the power, kite leashes and safety training have all contributed to make the sport as safe as possible. In particular the newest kites that have become available in the last few years have the ability to fully depower 100% at any time. This has made the sport much safer than at any other time in the sports history.

Two things to keep in mind are, 1) always use the latest gear, that is in good condition, and 2) Make sure you get professional instruction, that includes the proper use of the safety systems. (Of course there will be some people who take unnecessary risks, by not getting lessons or generally not respecting the kite's power).
4. Is Kiteboarding easier than windsurfing?
Learning to kiteboard is "faster" than learning to windsurf. We like to say that the kiteboarding learning curve is steeper than the windsurfing learning curve. This means that you will learn more in a shorter time. In windsurfing there are several stages of learning, the longboard stage, then the shortboard stage, that requires a waterstart lesson and advanced sail skills. You will begin to learn the harness and footstraps after about one or two months or so.

In kiteboarding you will learn the kite flying, harness and footstraps and waterstart in the first few days. There is only one stage, and the basic skills to master. The basic kiteboarding skills can be learned in a week or two and most people will be upwind riding in 6 to 8 weeks.
5. Where can I do it?
You can kiteboard anywhere that you see windsurfers. Kites like medium to strong wind, 10-25 miles per hour, and shallow water a few feet deep (sandy bottom). Generally kiteboarders will like the same wind and weather as windsurfers. Kiteboards get good speed and can do jumps in much lighter wind than most windsurfers because the kite can be more powerful than the windsurfing sails. Kites are also going on the ice and snow, and on land buggies and dirt surfers.
6. Do I need to take lessons?
Absolutely, Kiteboarding is a technical sport with a steep learning curve. Like scuba diving, windsurfing or flying a paraglider, you don't want to take unnecessary risks while learning. Many of the techniques are counterintuitive, and are best learned in a lesson. Because of the huge forces involved you do not want to make costly mistakes. Lessons shorten your learning time and keep you much safer in the process.
7. What equipment do I need to kitesurf?
to kitesurf you need:

- A kitesurf kite (with a certain degree of water relauncheability),
- A kiteboard,
- A kite control device,
- Accessories (safety release system, harness, life jacket, wet suit, helmet, water shoe, etc.).
8. What types of kite control device can I use?
Modern kitesurfers use a control bar with a center power trim line (chicken loop line) to control the kite and its power by changing its Angle of Attack (AOA)
9. What types of board can I use?
You can use a surfboard-like kiteboard (with foot straps) or a wakeboard-like kiteboard (with foot straps or bindings), a pair of water-ski-like skis (with bindings) or anything in between to kitesurf.

Generally, kiteboards are classified in to two groups: directional and bidirectional boards.

Directional boards have a distinct "head" (bow) and "tail" (stern). A directional board always travel "head first". To change direction on a directional board you have to jibe (to turn the "head" of the board in the reverse direction).

Bidirectional boards have no distinct "head" nor "tail". Both "tips" of the boards are identical. A bidirectional board is also called twintip (longer and narrower bidirectional board) or a wakeboard (shorter and wider bidirectional board, similar shape as a wakeboard). A bidirectional board can travel in both direction. To change direction on a bidirectional board, you simply go reverse.

Most modern kitesurfers use a bidirectional board (or twintip) due to its ease of jibing and more control when jumping. Directional boards are only used in special cases (very light wind, wave, etc.)
10. What is a safety release system?
A safety release system is a system that allows the kitesurfer to disable the kite anytime.

The flat inflatable is the kite with the best safety system. By simply letting go of the bar, a flat inflatable kite is fully depowered. For whatever reason, should the kite is not completely depowered, the kitesurfer can activate the main safety system to completely disable the kite.
11. I am a windsurfer, is it hard to convert?
As a windsurfer, you already know how to have good balance on a board and know the "way of the wind". It should be easier for a windsurfer to learn kitesurfing than for an ordinary person. However, the learning curve is still pretty steep as you need more balancing act in kitesurfing not to mention doing that while controlling a nervous kite which tends to pull you out of your board. Once you get pass the beginner stage, you can progress faster in kitesurfing than in windsurfing.
12. Do I have to be the athletic type?
Not really, at least not to kitesurf casually. Since you should normally use a harness, your body weight is more of a factor in how much kite power you can handle than your strength. You should be strong enough to unhook the kite from your harness when you need to, though (do a lot of pull up). Kitesurfing is not very aerobic - you don't quickly run out of breath like you do when running. The kite does most of the work. Muscle fatigue can wear you out, but as your skills improve it becomes less strenuous.
13. When should I take a lesson?
Take a lesson Before, During and After you purchase your equipment. Take a lesson to see if you like the sport. Doing a single day lesson will give you a taste of what is to come. Most people will know right away if it is right for them. The investment is minimal in a single lesson. Be sure to tell the instructor that you are just trying the sport out. You may sign up the "Kiteboarding lesson" to gives you an overview and hands on experience.

If you like the sport you should sign up for a complete course usually up to 3 to 5 more days. Then you will have progressed beyond the beginner equipment and be ready to purchase you own gear. Ask your instructor what gear to recommend. After purchasing your equipment take it back to your instructor and do another lesson on your own gear. New Gear needs to be set up correctly, and adjusted to suit you. You instructor will make sure that you know how to use your new gear correctly. Take as many lessons as you need to feel confident and have all the skills to be independent.

Then after you have mastered riding in your local area, you should take a lesson whenever riding a new location for the first time. Hook up with an instructor who is local to the area, and they can show you "where the rocks are", knowing the local conditions and hazards, and customs will help you enjoy the new location safely without creating problems for yourself and others.

Once you turn Pro, don't forget OXBOLD's instructor who helped you get into this great sport. Recommend your friends to us for lessons, you will be doing a favor for OXBOLD to promote this sport in Malaysia.
14. I have windsurfed for 20 years, will that make me a better kitesurfer?
A. Kiteboarding is not windsurfing (snowboarding/ wakeboarding/ etc). These sports have similarities to kiteboarding that will carry over. And the same determination that was required to master these sports will also be required to learn kiteboarding too. Most people who ask this question don't like the idea of being a beginner and learning all over again. But the sooner they put their egos aside and hunker down to the learning process, the sooner they will be out there cruising.

Of course a guy with 20 years windsurf experience will do well. It is the same water, the same wind and it is a sailing sport with lots of the same jargon an concepts, but the equipment is different and the techniques used to ride the equipment are different. That is why in a lesson the instructor will take into consideration the previous experiences of the student and focus on the things they don't know, "the Differences".

If the student has an open mind they will learn very quickly. If they are resistant to new ideas or wont let go of their ego, they will be in for a rude awakening, or at best a very frustrating experience.
15. How long will it take me to learn?
It takes as long as it takes. Everybody is so different when it comes to kiteboarding, as we said a lot of skills carry over from other sports, So that if a guy is; a surfing/sailing/wakeboarding/paraglider instructor, he will pick up the sport much faster that someone who hasn't ever done a board sport in their life.

But as a rough guide, the longer kiteboarding courses are the best place to start. They range from 5 days to two weeks. After the lesson phase is the self training phase, where the student practices what they learned in the lesson and gets water time, this is when they will go from a downwind rider to and upwind rider.

This process often takes a month or 10-20 sessions. Don't be too fixated or worried about how long it takes, because you do not want to rush the learning phase. If you put too much pressure on yourself you wont enjoy the process as much as you should. Just be sure to give yourself as much time and patience as you need, and you will breeze through it.
16. Is kiteboarding fun?
Ask any kiteboarder!! Kiteboarding is heaps of fun and very addictive. Most people we know spent their whole week waiting for their weekend kiteboarding sessions. Most people secretly want to quit their day jobs so that they have more time to kiteboard, quite a few people actually do quit their day jobs and go kiteboarding every day. Then there are a growing number of full-time kiteboarders who do not have any other job. And of course there are the professional kiteboarders who fly around the world following the windy conditions in all the best destinations for at least 9 months of the year.
17. I am convinced now so how do I start?
You just need to fill in the Booking Form and let us know when do you want your lesson to be started as simple as this.
18. Where will the class be held?
Kiteboarding lesson will be held at Balok Beach in Kuantan Pahang. Driving or take bus from Kuala Lumpur will take you 3 and a half hours drive to get there. So, you better book any hotel or resort nearby Balok Beach like Duta Village, De Rhu Beach Resort to stay for a night or two. The lesson also availabe only in windy season especially in Monsoon period from November to March each year.
19. Is a pre-booking required?
Normally 'YES' as we get busy. The easiest way is to send us an 'Booking Form' from our website. Our sales people will guide you how to proceed with your booking. Or make a deposit payment online with a credit card through our website. We use a secure payment via PayPal or bank direct to our bank account. Having said that we can often fit people in if they call us a few weeks earlier so we can arrange your lesson slot. If you have a special day in mind, we suggest making a booking online before hand. If you are unable to make an online payment we require a cash deposit to secure your place on your desired kiteboarding lesson date.
20. Do you offer pickup service?
2 ways transfer is excluded! However, you can ask us to arrange it for you with extra cost.
21. What happens if there is bad weather?
Kiteboarding has always been a weather-dependent sport. If you have been scheduled, you must come to the lesson venue regardless of weather conditions. If we feel it is necessary to cancel, we will call you. If inclement weather occurs after you arrive, all lessons will either be postponed until later in the day, or cancelled. Lesson will recommence when weather conditions do not compromise safety. Lightning: In the event of a severe lightning storm, activities may stop or wait for rain stop. Activities may be delayed if a storm is occuring at the activities area. If the rain keep continue and activities may be cancelled or postpone to a later date. In the case of the activities cancellation, participants are offered the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.
22. What about insurance coverage for my kiteboarding lesson?
Yes! OXBOLD provide insurance coverage for your Kiteboarding Lesson and some of our extreme sports local and worldwide.

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