Kitesurfing with kids is a topic I have been asked about frequently in the past few months. As it is quite a big subject that ranges from equipment via teaching methods up to correct behaviour as a parent I decided to pay special attention to it. So there will be an article series about kitesurfing with kids – and as I am not an expert in this area I’ll give the floor to those who have experience with this issue!
We start with Oliver Palmers aka Olsen, snowkite world champion and owner of snowkitekurse.at. He will answer some FAQs concerning kitesurfing with kids. Additionally he offers the possibility for kids to try kiting for free: The KITE4KIDS days on the Neusiedlersee offer the possibility to get trial tickets at no cost for youngsters up to 13! Get more information at the end of this article.
Kitesurfing with kids – Vol. 1
My child wants to learn kitesurfing. Which is the best way to proceed?
As a parent one should’nt be afraid to let the kids try it. The main factor is that they want it themselves! Children learn things intuitively and faster than grown-ups. One thing is important though: Even if one is an experienced kiter it’s recommended to book kite lessons with a certified kite teacher – not only for safety reasons but also cause the kids will react differently to a teacher than to a parent. Additionally at a kite school they will get material that suits their weight and height as well as safety equipment (helmet etc.).
From which age on can children learn kitesurfing?
Concerning the minimum age for kitesurf lessons kiteschools have different regulations. Mostly the required age limit lies between 8–12 years, sometimes it requires a minimum weight (35–40 kg) or a certain miminum height too. But many schools offer the possibility to do a trial course for kids that are younger/lighter. What’s absolutely essential when a kid wants to start with kitesurfing is a certain level of physical fitness, the willingness to learn and understanding for the challenges of this sport. In addition the child must be able to swim and shouldn’t be afraid of water.
First kitesurf trials: Water, land, snow?
Practicing with the kite on land or on the snow is perfect for kids to gain initial experience. There’s no need to be able to swim when you have solid ground under your feet, and you can even practice with lower wind. Even if you don’t manage to ride you just stand on the ground instead of sinking into the water. So the kids can concentrate on the kite handling without any distractions.
Which kite is good in the beginning?
For the start a trainer kite is the best for kids – cause if necessarty they can just let it go.When a depower kite is used for the first time it should be a small one which is easy to handle (a special one for training/a school kite). One strut or strutless kites around 6 sqm are ideally suited for this – there are also special ones for land- and snowkiting which work with only three to four knots (such kites are used for the kids lessions at snowkitekurse.at).
The problem with “normal” kite with more struts is that they usually need more wind for staying stable in the zenith and that with this wind they generate too much power for kids when the kite is moved quickly, e. g. when it’s dived down. Some schools use short lines for kids lessons, especially in stronger winds (cause the shorter the lines, the less power the kite develops).
Which harness is good for kids?
For the beginning a seat harness is a good choice. It should have a handle in the back so that the teacher or parent can hold on or mount a leash on it. When the kid finally has a better kite control it’s also ok to try a waist harness.
Which bar is suited for children?
As children have shorter arms it’s important that the depower way of a bar isn’t to long. Some brands produce special bars for women which have a shorter depower way. Also a stopper-ball is useful to fix the bar shorter, so that the kid can grab the bar after letting go. Furthermore the bar should provide a modern and easy-handling safety system.
KITESURFING WITH KIDS
KITE4KIDS – free landkiting trial lessions for kids on the Neusiedlersee
The KITE4KIDS days (from now on until end of June 2018) offer the opportunity to try landkiting/snowkiting under the guidance of the snowkitekurse.at instructors – for youngsters up to 13 years for free! How to take part: Just write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be some KIDE4KIDS days till 28th of June 2018 – concrete dates will be communicated via mail.