Kitesurfing Lessons and Equipment
Kitesurfing, Stand up Paddleboarding Specialist shop and Coffee shop
Ocean2air Kitesurfing is located just North of Durban. Situated on the East Coast of South Africa – we enjoy year-round wind which is generally in the 15-20 knot range,as well as some of the most consistent surf around. Add to this the nice warm Indian Ocean water and we have arguably one of the best kitesurfing destinations in the world. Ocean2air has been around since 2002 and has been involved in the evolution of kitesurfing in South Africa to where it is today. Run by Rob Chrystal who was one of the pioneers of the sport originating from sand ski kiting on the beach back in the early 90s. We have in depth knowledge on kitesurfing conditions and kitesurfing locations in Durban, the KZN Coast, South Africa and some of the surrounding Indian Ocean Islands. Come visit our Kitesurfing Center in La Lucia Durban, 7km North of Durban located just off the M4 right on the beach, click here from map. We offer Lessons throughout the year from our IKO instructors. Durban’s beaches offer a great venue for safe learning and with a wealth of experience and over 15 years teaching, Ocean2air has got to be one of the best spots to get into this sport. This is backed up by excellent service and a friendly and social environment, which is what Ocean2air has built it’s name on!
1 hour or longer
Swimsuits or wet suits, hat, sunglasses and bring a towel.
Please book with us ahead of time.
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With almost 20 years kiting behind us, Ocean2air has experience and when it comes to teaching that is essential.
We have had the time to fine tune a system of teaching that works better than most. We concentrate on teaching you the most important thing and that is to “understand” how to fly a kite properly.
Well it is simple – you can be the worlds best wake boarder but if the driver of the boat doesn’t give you enough throttle then you will never be even able to get out the water to show it. So the kite flying is what it is all about and this will make your entry into this amazing sport so much easier. The secret is the harness and we are here to explain why and we will use a PDF file to help with this lesson.
We have broken our lessons down into modules.
Module 1 and 2 is the beginner course – teaching you kite flying.
Module 3 is the water work – we put you in the water with a kite and
Module 4 is the board work.
It is important for you to ‘graduate’ from the one module in order to progress in the next.
Module 1 – Theory & Basics
This lesson is the most important lesson, as it will ultimately lay the foundation for you to get up on the board.
Module 1 deals with the theory behind kite flying. It will allow you to understand where you need to fly the kite and why you have to use the harness. Most importantly it will deal with the safety, set-up, launching and landing of your kite.
Most people have never flown a kite so this lesson is aimed to get you there using tried a tested methods. If you stick with this you will get it and you will see how simple it can be.
Once you understand the technical aspects of kite flying, it will be like a puzzle falling into place.
Duration – 2 hours, (based on 2 students.)
Cost – R600.00 pp
Bring – bring sunnies, cap and rashvest.
Module 2 – Advanced Flying
Module 2 is an extension of module 1 and we try to do these lessons together as it is good to take what you have just learnt and expand on it.
We deal with more advanced kiting and now start to teach you the correct way to fly a kite, combining all the techniques that we have taught you. We cannot tell you how many times we have had students that have not been taught properly say – “I was never shown that! Now it makes sense!” And that is our aim to put the foundation in to allow you to get onto a board.
We aim to make you understand why you have a de-power line and how the 4 line kite is meant to work! Only once you understand this properly do we then get you onto module 3!
Duration – 2 hours (based on 2 students)
Cost – R600.00 pp
Bring – bring sunnies, cap and rashvest.
Module 3 – Water Work
The body dragging lesson – we get you onto a bigger kite and put you into the safety of the water. We now use a waterproof helmet radio to communicate with you and to continue teaching whilst you are in the water. We will deal with the water re-launch, upwind body dragging and kite control.
The aim of this lesson is to get you more familiar with the kite and getting used to the pull in the water whilst still stressing the importance of the harness and re-enforcing the techniques learnt in the beginner course.
This is generally done in the lagoon to allow you easier learning conditions, however where possible (and provided the student is happy to) we do like to try do the lesson in the sea
Duration – 1 hour
Cost – R650.00 pp
Bring – costume or wetsuit.
Module 4- Board Work
The board work lesson will only be done on successful completion of level 3 as it is imperative that the student has sufficient control and technique to allow the board work lesson to be successful.
This is the lesson the is designed to have you up and riding.
This lesson takes all that we have taught and brings it together to allow you to get up and going as easily as it looks. If your kite control is not of a sufficient level we will get you body dragging again until our instructor is happy to put you on a board.
The use of the helmet radio is imperative to get you up and riding and we will use the lagoon to help make the initial lesson as easy as possible.
Duration – 1 hour
Cost – R650.00 pp
Bring – bathing suit or wetsuit.
Module 5 – The Downwind Lesson
The downwind lesson is a unique learning experience that very few kite schools are able to offer. Our instructor will ride with the student on a downwind (which is a 4 km run in front of the shop) and instruct them on the way by means of a one way radio system. This allows our instructor to teach without the interruption of having to walk back upwind the whole time and also gives the added benefit of being able to show the student how it is done. The downwind is one of the best learning methods that is on Ocean2airs doorstep and offers a unique method to get up and riding as we have 5 km stretch of beach that gives us the perfect teaching platform. The downwind lesson is a brilliant tool to teach wave riding, advanced moves, edging techniques and many more.
Duration – 1 hour
Cost – R750.00 per hour (a downwind should take an hour)
Bring – to be done on students equipment.
Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without foot straps or bindings.
Kitesurfing will be some of the best fun you have ever had!
Power kites can be dangerous. Because of strong forces that can be generated by sudden wind gusts, people can be lofted, carried off, bashed against water, buildings, terrain or power lines, resulting in what’s termed a “kitemare” (kite + nightmare).
Most kiteboarding fatalities are the result of being lofted or dragged out of control, resulting in a collision with hard objects including sand. It is possible to be seriously injured simply by hitting the water surface at speed or from a height.
Jumping and being airborne at inappropriate places (such as shallow water or near fixed or floating objects) can be a contributing factor.
To maximize safety, basic safety guidelines should always be followed, some of which follow:
* Always check the weather forecast, colour radar, real-time wind reports on the Internet for indications of storms/squalls and excessively gusty winds, wind direction changes and lightning hazards. Do not launch or ride in or near squalls or storms.
* Avoid kite surfing in crowded areas, near rocks, trees, or power lines. In general, there should be a minimum of 100 meters of safe distance from all obstructions.
* Try to ride with side-shore winds. Avoid offshore or directly onshore winds.
* Pay attention to changing weather and wind conditions. Particularly dangerous are storm fronts, which are often preceded by strong, variable wind gusts and sometimes involve lightning. If a rider feels a static shock from the kite bar, they should land the kite immediately and seek shelter.
* Helmets and impact vests can save lives and add substantial convenience if a rider wears them.
* Wear appropriate exposure clothing for conditions and a reasonable period of time in the water, should you become disabled.
* Do not remove or disable factory-installed safety equipment or releases. The most basic is a quick-release harness safety system. Harness safety systems come in different configurations; most allow the kite surfer to release the kite with one tug or push, leaving only one line which is attached to a kite leash. This one line ideally will cause the kite to lose its shape and fall from the sky, without power. Redundant safety releases are even better; do not remove your kite release because you assume you can simply unhook. “Safety equipment” also includes the bar floats, the foam floats on the outside lines of most kite bars; most kite lines sink, and without bar floats sunk lines are more likely to tangle around an underwater obstruction. This could even happen with the bar floats, but they do help. With the kite in the water, a tangle like this could drag you underwater and hold you there.
* Never use a board leash without wearing a helmet. Under very common circumstances, a board leash can cause the board to strike the rider in the head. Alternatively, don’t use a board leash. A helmet is a wise precaution in most circumstances whether you use a board leash or not, but never use a board leash without wearing a helmet. Note: board leashes have propelled boards through helmets in the past. The best course is normally to not use a board leash and practice body dragging upwind to regain your board.
* Avoid riding overpowered. Using too large a kite for the wind conditions or your experience level is extremely dangerous. Underpowered riding is preferable to overpowered riding. When in doubt, go to a smaller kite and see how it goes. Always stay within the wind range specified by the manufacturer for the kite.
* Be extra careful when landing or launching the kite. Most accidents occur on shore or while a rider is entering or leaving the water. It’s advisable to either un-hitch your kite from your harness while on-shore, holding onto it with only your arms, so you can release if necessary, or simply be ready to operate the quick-release mechanism. Ideally, don’t spend any time on shore with the kite in the air; launch the kite and then leave the beach immediately, and when coming in, land as quickly as possible. When on shore, keep the kite low: if it’s hit by a gust, it can drag the rider, but may prevent lofting.
* Carry a safety knife attached to the harness for cutting tangled lines. Tangles are dangerous because an entangled rider in the water may not be able free themselves quickly enough in the event the kite powers up suddenly (catches a wind gust, suddenly accelerates, or, if it’s in the water, gets hit by a wave). The tangled lines around a rider’s body can cut and sever a rider’s fingers, toes, or limbs or cause serious and deep lacerations. In a crash situation, with the kite in the water, under no circumstances allow a line to encircle a part of the body.
* Notify the coast guard if you lose a board or kite at sea. To prevent unnecessary concern if your equipment is lost at sea, you should notify the coast guard.
Another, subtler hazard is that at fifty km/h (a typical speed for a skilful kite surfer), one can easily get tired, and then get farther from shore than an easy swim, which is the primary reason kite surfing in directly offshore winds is discouraged. Still other general marine hazards include sharks, jellyfish, sea otters, dolphins, and even crocodiles, depending on the location.
Collisions with wind surfers, other kite boarders or water craft are significant hazards, particularly at busy locations.
Some kite designs from late 2005 and onwards have included immediate and full depower integrated with the control bar and improved quick release mechanisms, both of which are making the sport much safer.
Weather planning and awareness are key to safe kiteboarding. A substantial quantity of riders has been killed in kiteboarding-related accidents since 2000, according to a safety adviser for one of the sport’s governing bodies
When practised safely, with the proper training and gear, kiteboarding is an enjoyable, addictive sport. Like any other sport, respecting nature, paying attention to the weather and staying within the limits of the rider’s ability will provide the safest and most enjoyable experience.
* air time: the amount of time spent in the air while jumping. This can be remarkably long; the current record is probably Erik Eck’s 39-second kitemare. Five to ten seconds is not unusual.
* apparent wind: the kite’s speed relative to the surrounding air. When kitesurfing in a straight line, the kite’s apparent wind is a combination of the wind speed and the speed of the kite and rider over the surface, but since the kite is highly steerable apparent wind can vary widely depending on how the kite is being flown. Most ways of increasing power from the kite involve giving it a higher apparent wind somehow, i.e. diving the kite, riding faster, or riding at a greater angle into the wind. Any of these raises the kite’s apparent wind speed.
* body dragging: being pulled through the water without standing on a board. This is an early step in the learning process, and is recommended before trying the board after flying a trainer kite.
* boost: to suddenly become airborne
* chicken loop: a hard rubber loop attached to the middle line which has been fed through the control bar. It is used to attach the control bar to the harness, so the kite surfer can produce tension in the lines using their entire bodyweight instead of using purely arm strength.
* chicken bone/chicken finger: a hard rubber “tongue” attached to the chicken loop which the rider feeds through the spreader bar hook to prevent the rider from becoming “unhooked”.
* de-power: to reduce the kite’s power (pull), generally by adjusting the angle of attack of the kite. Most kites and control bars now allow a rider to rig a kite for a number of different power levels before launching, in addition to powering the kite up and down “on the fly” by moving the bar up and down. The ability to minimise power makes a kite safer and easier to handle. Some new kite models, especially “bow” kites, can be de-powered to practically zero power, giving them an enormous wind range.
* DP: Dawn patrol; a very early morning session.
* donkey dick: same as “chicken bone”.
* downwind: the direction the wind is blowing towards; to leeward. When a rider is facing downwind the wind is at their back.
* downwinder: a kitesurfing “trip” (could actually be as short as a few minutes) where the rider starts at one point and ends up at another point downwind of their original position.
* edge: tilting the board with its edge into the water. Used to control the direction of travel. Learning to edge properly is critical for learning to tack upwind. Edging is one of the fundamental skills of kitesurfing and is one of the ways kitesurfing is different from windsurfing or wakeboarding. While windsurf boards have dagger boards and/or skegs to steer the board upwind while lift and planing is provided by the board itself, generally kiteboards actually combine both functions and the bottom of the board lifts the rider and steers simultaneously. Kiteboard fins are generally much smaller and are for keeping the board in the water (see “tea-bagging”), but are not essential. Because kite boards have a small rocker, a deep edge can allow the board to act as a large low drag fin. Edging in wakeboarding is used for steering the board; whereas in kite boarding not only does edging steer the kite board, it is essential for kite control and controlling board speed. Riding downwind towards the kite subtracts massively from the kite’s power and helps control board speed as well.
* heel side: the side of a board on the edge where a rider’s heels are (opposite of toe side). “Riding heel side” is riding with heels down. Heel side is the normal and most comfortable riding position.
* Hindenburg: A reference to the Hindenburg Airship disaster of 1937, which in kitesurfing terminology refers to the kite stalling and falling out of the sky. Hindenburging can be caused either by lack of wind or by the kite advancing to a position upwind of the kite surfer in the wind window.
* handle pass: while unhooked, passing the control bar behind a rider back while in the air
* kite loop: is a group of tricks where a rider loops the kite while spinning through the air
* kitemare: a kiteboard surfing accident or dangerous mishap. Kitemares can be deadly.
* lofted: to get lifted vertically into the air by the kite by a strong gust of wind. A very dangerous occurrence that has resulted in several fatalities when kiters on or near land have been dragged into obstacles. Can be avoided my minimizing time on land with the kite flying directly overhead, and by not kiting in overpowered situations.
* luff: when the air flow stalls around the kite. It may then stall and fall out of the sky. Like sails, a luffing kite has rippling and flapping panels. When launching the kite, if the kite is luffing, the rider should move farther upwind, or the person holding the kite should move downwind.
* mobe: This term has two meanings. It can either be used to describe a class of wake style tricks: any invert with a 360-degree spin is considered a “mobe.” Also, this term can denote a specific trick: a back roll with a frontside 360 handle pass (while keeping the kite below 45 degrees); this specific trick is also known as “the mobe.” The term “mobe” (as a class of tricks) is historically rooted in the fact that the mobe (the specific trick) was the first type of mobe to ever be landed. Other types of mobes include: mobe 540, mobe 720, slim chance, KGB, crow mobe, moby dick, Pete Rose, blind pete, crow mobe 540, etc.
* nuking: wind blowing at great speeds (30-40 knots). These conditions are very extreme and dangerous for most riders.
* offshore: wind blowing at the water from the shore. Never ride in offshore winds without some means of recovery, i.e. a chase boat. This is somewhat less important in smaller bodies of water, of course.
* onshore: wind blowing perpendicular to and directly at the shore from the water. A challenging condition for beginners, especially if waves are present.
* O-Shit Loop: Two loops on either ends of the bar that are attached to the kite lines and run through rings attached to the bar. A standard leash attachment point.
* overhead waves: waves two or more meters (6 ft.) from trough to crest;
* overpowered: the condition of having too much power from the kite. Can be a result of an increase in wind, incorrect kite choice (too large for the conditions), incorrect adjustment, simply going too fast, etc. Interestingly, experienced riders who are overpowered can switch to a smaller board to compensate, to a degree, although it’s common to have just one board.
* pop: height gained above the water using only the board and tension in the lines to get lift, with the kite usually positioned at 45 degrees. Lower kite angles are possible for more experienced riders. Used as a basis for many tricks and regarded as an essential skill for progressing.
* power up: when the kite’s power increases (suddenly), because of wind gusts or the kite’s movement.
* power zone: is the area in the sky where the kite generates the most lift (pull), this is generally between 0 to 60 degrees arc from the centre of the downwind direction.
* send it: To move the kite aggressively up through the power zone.
* schlogging: This is riding extremely underpowered. A rider has no power to plane and definitely not enough to jump. A rider and their board bounce from planing on the surface to being dragged in the water.
* S#*t Hot: The art of stylish smooth moves.
* side shore, winds blowing parallel to the shore. Usually the most desirable direction for kitesurfing.
* side onshore: wind blowing between side shore and at a 45-degree angle towards the shore.
* spreader bar: A stainless steel bar that attaches to the rider’s harness. It has a hook that holds the “chicken loop” when riding hooked in.
* tack: The direction which is being sailed, normally either starboard tack or port tack. In a starboard tack the wind is coming in from the rider’s starboard (right-hand) side, similar to sailing a boat. In normal riding, the kite surfer takes a heading which is as close to into the wind as possible, and in any event, leads at some angle slightly upwind, sometimes as much as 45 degrees; jumping or wave riding usually results in traveling downwind, so the net result is to maintain relative position. Alternately, see “downwinder”.
* tea-bagging: popping out of and falling back into the water intermittently due to light or gusty wind, poor flying skills, twisted lines etc.
* toe side: the side of a board on the edge where a rider’s toes are (opposite of heel side). “Riding toe side” is riding with toes down.
* underpowered: the condition of having insufficient power from the kite. Can be a result of insufficient wind, choosing a kite that is too small for the current wind, rigging incorrectly, board too small, water current in the same direction as the wind, not riding fast enough, etc. A rider who is continuously diving the kite and sending it back up in a sine-wave pattern is usually underpowered.
* unhooked is a term used to describe when a kite surfer is riding while the chicken loop is not attached to the rider’s harness.
* upwind: the direction from which the wind is blowing; windward; into the wind.
* VaS conditions: Victory at Sea; very rough sea conditions, generally with overhead wind waves causing severe shore break.
* wind window is the 120-180-degree arc of the sky downwind of the rider in which the kite can be flown. Roughly one fourth of a sphere’s surface. If the rider is facing downwind on a flat surface, like the ocean, the wind window consists of roughly all the area the rider can see, from the rider’s peripheral vision on one side, along the horizon to the other side, and then directly overhead back to the first side. If the rider somehow puts the kite out of the window — for example, by riding downwind very quickly and sending the kite directly overhead and behind — the kite will stall and frequently fall out of the sky.
* zenith the location in the wind window directly over the kiter’s head. This is the neutral position where kite surfers can place the kite to stop moving or prior to movement. This places the kite in a more vulnerable to “Hindenburgs” position than any other.