Article Series: Kitesurfing with kids – tips & tricks Vol. 2

After Vol. 1 of “Kitesurfing with Kids – tips & tricks” now it’s about Vol 2.: You’ll get some reports of parents whose children collected their first kitesurf experiences already as little tots.

Three fathers of kitesurf youngsters reveal their most imortant tips regarding this topic – which factors must parents observe and how can they give the best possible support to their kiddies for their kitesurf beginnings?

Here’s an overview of the reports:

Kitesurfing with kids

Report No. 1:
Not overtax – but motivate

Martin Reiters daughter Stella (11) was six years old when she had her first contact with kitesurfing. He talks about beginnings, stumbling blocks and lessons learned: 

As we live at the Neusiedlersee but nobody in the family did any watersports I wanted to change this. I was thinking about kitesurfing for Stella, but decided to learn it first to be able to assess the risks. So I did a beginner course and got immediately addicted! When Stella was six years old we started to practice with the trainer kite (1,5 m) and tried snowkiting. But at this age her attention span was still very short – so after 15 minutes she lost any interest and got bored. At this time for her it was all about having fun, there was no big ambition behind.

On the leash: The first attempts with the kites on the water. (c) Martin Reiter

The next step was bodydragging with a small trainer kite in the water. But still she wasn’t really ready for that – not enough body tension, she couldn’t reach the board and was super scared of crashes.

This year’s season things have completely changed. Stella did a lot of gymnastics during the winter and I also noticed that she was willing to take more risks in skiing. So when she tried kitesurfing again her body tension was much stronger, she hadn’t any problems reaching the board and when she crashed she laughed about it.  Especially after she rode 50 meters in a row everything was different! The years before, when I asked her if she wanted to go kitesurfing she said: “I don’t know”. Since her riding is stable, her motivation is way bigger. And when the wind conditions don’t allow her to go on the water, she’s dissapointed.

Riding is no problem anymore – now Stella wants to go for jumps. (c) Martin Reiter

In the meantime she also goes out in temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees – which is no problem with a thick wetsuit, an undersuit, a neoprene top and a beanie. Especially the off-seasons are perfect for training sessions as you have much more space on the water. At the moment Stella is highly motivated to learn jumping, and she’s practising already.

Kitesurfing with kids:
My conclusions & most important tips 

  • Self-motivation: It’s often claimed that children have to say “I want to learn this” on their own initiative. I don’t think so – cause not all children are keen on sports and if you’d offer them a choice they often would go for the easier option (like video games, TV …). And how should you know if you’d love a sport like kitesurfing before you even tried it?
    I also believe that the earlier one starts with sports the better it is for the development of physical coordination. And for sure if a child did different kinds of sport this makes learning to kitesurf easier.
  • Lessons: A kitesurf beginner course with boat support and communication via walkie-talkie works well for kids (might not be essential at a spot with shallow water where the kids can stand).  Continuous contact with the instructor provides confidence and the child can give a constant feedback.
Bei Kindern ist am Wasser anfangs viel persönliche Betreuung notwendig. (c) Martin Reiter

  • Motivate: You should show your child that you’re proud of it’s progression,  even if it’s just baby steps. And in my experience it was good not just to let my doughter do her thing and practice completely on  her own – so even during the lessons on the water I rode towards her and cheered her. This made her very proud and gave her some extra movitation.
  • Equipment: Particularly at the beginning – as long as you practice on shore – you should have a small kite that the child can let go immediately in case of need. For training on the water the kite should have an easy-handling (and not outdated!) safety system with a Quick Release that can be easy released and put together again. The less a kite tends to backstall, the better. Concerning the kite sizes: The smallest kite that my daughter is using at the moment is a five – a smaller one makes riding in low winds quite difficult.
Practice makes perfect! (c) Martin Reiter

So we continue on page two with the report of Fritz Kalman, whose three kids love living the kite lifestyle with their parents >>>


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