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Tim's Kiteboarding Self-training program:

Kiteboarding can be extremely dangerous, so I recommend you follow this progression to minimize the risk of injury/death to yourself and others:

- Buy and wear safety gear.

- Never kiteboard without a helmet strapped to your noggin!

- Get a 2 meter training kite (Slingshot B-2 and Best Kiteboarding Trainer, are good ones)

- Fly the 2m training kite until you can literally read a book and/or hold a conversation with your wife/girlfriend/pet, while flying the kite. Idea is to build your kite skills until flying it is second nature, like riding a bike. This will pay off BIG TIME later on. The kite is 90% of kiteboarding

- Get a landboard and use the 2m kite and landboard on a paved (or other smooth hard surface) and roll around. Get the kite at 12:00, step onto the board, and then move the kite to 1pm or so. It takes very little force to move a landboard on pavement, so you don't need a big kite or tons of wind. Be sure and point the board downwind (towards the kite).
Once moving, carve upwind to slow down, or just jump off (recommended you REMOVE the footstraps until your comfortable on the board). Practice with the landboard and 2m kite until you can easily go both directions, control your speed, and control your direction.
Do "S" carves, transitioning from heelside to toeside as you cruise along. Be sure and keep your hips forward; a common beginner's error is to bend forward at the waist. This is not good. Back should be straight, don't let the kite control you. Let it know who is boss and thrust your hips towards it!

- Obtain some heavier kite lines (ones that come with trainer kites are not suitable for the following step). Get these from Best Kiteboarding, Slingshot, etc. 20m - 30m is a good length. Rig the 2m trainer with these lines and then go fly in gusty high winds. Creve Ceour soccer fields parking lot is ideal for this. Crappy wind (get used to it, this is missouri!) is the norm.
Landboard in these conditions until you are completely comfortable. This stage of progression is key, as there is a big difference flying a little 2m in light wind as opposed to flying a real kite in real wind. When you can landboard and fly a crazy kite in 20-30mph wind gusts you're ready to go to the next step. Practice riding both hooked in and unhooked.

- Get a larger foil (or inflateable, but they are more prone to damage when hitting the hard ground, and beginners crash kites often). A 4m or 6m is fine. I use a 6m Slingshot foil, with 2 lines (no power control). This is great, as it teaches using the board edge to control kite power and speed. There is no sheeting on a 2 line kite, so you'll learn quick how to edge and place the kite in the sky, or you'll end up doing face-plants into the asphalt. Obtain knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet. You'll look cooler, pick up chicks, and be less busted-up when you crash.

Kitesurfing - but this aint St. Louis!- Now that the landboarding has taught you how to control the kite, edge the board, and just generally get the hang of flying and boarding at the same time, the next step is to get into the water. Carlyle (IL) is the only real option here. Having a friend in a support boat is highly recommended, as you will end up downwind, and walking back is difficult.
Start out by flying the kite while standing in the water. Then, practice letting the kite pull you around the water (without the board). You should be able to go upwind with this technique (this is how you recover your board when you lose it kiteboarding).
Next, float in the water, fly the kite, and practice putting the board on your feet. Once you can do that (and keep the kite at neutral), it is time to attempt a waterstart.
There is plenty of info on this scattered around the web or in training videos. Basically, with the board on your feet and pointing downwind the direction you wish to go, dive the kite. The power surge from the kite will pull you out of the water.
Once on the board, control the kite and power, lean back, and kiteboard off into the distance.

These are the basic steps, and there is certainly a lot more detail to it. There is lots and lots of great info on the web to fill in the blanks. Again, unless you have the skill level to go upwind, learning in STL is difficult. But can be done!



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