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Why learning to kite is FUN

After surfing for almost a decade, Jørgen from Norway was eager to increase his ocean riding abilities and visited us in Esposende, Portugal, to explore kiting. Read on for a first-hand impression of his experiences as a total beginner.
 

 
The venue for this out-of-the-comfort-zone-experience, Esposende, is a charming town 30 minutes north of Porto with international access through Porto (OPO) or Lisbon (LIS) airport. With the Atlantic coast offering surfing waves and the tidal river providing a flat cross shore learning ground, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the water.
 
The Lapoint Villa is ideally located only a short, cozy bike ride from the kite centre.
 

 
STEP ONE: CONTROLLING THE KITE
Learning how to set up a kite safely is an essential part of learning to kitesurf. My instructor taught me to “walk the lines”; to make sure the lines of the kite are not tangled and allow me to fly it safely. The instructor also told me to always set the lines up downwind of the kite. Once everything is lined up, you will attach it to your harness, securely fastened around your waist.
 
With the basics of flying a kite done, my instructor went into more detail about the wind window, kite control and much more. I tried to imagine a watch in front of me and put the kite in the right place as he kept asking me to direct the kite in the angles of “10, 12, 2”.
 
Once you get more confident you can try walking on the beach, I can assure you that the sensation of power from the kite is exhilarating, and it’s even better when you understand how to control the power!
 

 
STEP TWO: BODY DRAGGING
When you enter the water for the first time, the reality of kitesurfing hits you. The kite responds to any movement, and you can be pulled forward or side to side with small adjustments of the bar. ‘Body dragging’ is a crucial part of learning how to navigate, and basically means using the kite to take you in the direction you want to go without a board. I practised travelling in one direction, how to keep the kite at 12 and then head back in the other direction.
 
When I made a mistake, the kite fell out of the sky slowly and landed on the water. Relaunching the kite from this position can be difficult, but is manageable with some practice.
 

 
As a kitesurfer, if you’re trying to get out past the waves or when the wind has dropped, and you need to get back to the beach, you’ll also need to body drag while holding your board. To do so, hold the kiteboard in one hand and the kite bar in the other.
 
STEP FOUR: THE BOARD/WATER START
OH YEAAH, riding on the board is a fantastic feeling! I was so keen that the first time I managed to stand up on the board, I just went off with the wind without looking back!
 

 
Unfortunately, I got a bit carried away and my instructor had to come to get me in a boat. So stoked I got a long ride the first time on the board tho 🙂 Granted, this is a challenging process and it takes time to master.
 
You need to use the wind, the kite and the board to get up, and everything needs to be timed correctly. Never give up, I can assure you it’s worth it, no matter how many litres of salt water you need to drink to get there.
 
Hope to see you on the lake or in the fjord somewhere soon!