One of our favorite mermaids just so happens to be MI OLA brand ambassador Adrienne @yokeens. She moved to the Outer Banks, North Carolina a couple of summers ago to spend her days surfing, windsurfing, beach bumming…and working at one of the coolest outdoor outfitters, REAL Watersports. Jealous? Yeah, us too! We caught up with this adventurous mermaid to learn how to #GetOutThere on learning to kiteboard.
#GetOutThereGuide: Learning how to Kiteboard
Hey there mermaids! Love the water and seeking new exciting ways to enjoy it? Kiteboarding is an amazing sport that with the right gear and the proper instruction, anyone can do! It is always best to take some lessons to build a safe and solid foundation of skills before trying on your own. Once you are up and riding, the possibilities are endless as you can kite all over the world in the ocean, the sound, on lakes, and even in the snow!
Where to Kite: One of the BEST places in the world to kite is the Outer Banks, North Carolina. This barrier island has super consistent winds, miles of protected flat water which is mostly waist deep and multiple seasons in which kiting can be enjoyed. You can kite on the sound side which is similar to a lake or you can go ocean side and slay the waves. Traveling here is fairly easy compared to going somewhere out of the USA, so taking a weekend to learn to kite is totally achievable. Plus, you can easily find a spot all to yourself, or hit up one of the more popular launch areas to kite with new friends.
When to Kite: Spring, Summer and Fall are the best times to come. Both spring and fall offer less crowds, higher winds and mild weather/water temps (60s-70s). Summer is hot (80s air/water temp), but more crowded with more days of lower wind speeds. And with the right wetsuit and a great attitude, you can absolutely kite in the winter (a full wetsuit, gloves and booties are needed)!
What to Expect: 3 full days of instruction is the typical recommendation to get up and riding. You will learn how to fly a trainer kite, how to board ride, how to control a kite in the water while body dragging, then combine everything to actually kiteboard. There is a lot of safety and rigging of the kite to learn, but after a few times, everything will make sense! If you have any background in other board sports (like surfing!), or wind related sports, these skills will for sure transfer over.
Kiting can seem intimidating as you are attached to a large kite. But after you learn that small movements control the kite, flying becomes easy and fun….something you can do for hours on end! The more finesse and timing you have the better, so a lot of times women tend to pick kiteboarding up more quickly than men because woman listen to their instructor and do exactly what they are told instead of trying to muscle or fight through it. Patience and commitment is key, along with determination! The falls are actually pretty fun since you are in water (doesn’t hurt as much as learning to snowboard or ski)!
Gear to Get: Once you take a few lessons, getting a complete kite gear package is a great idea to continue kiting at home. Be sure to talk to your instructor about what size will be best for you based on your weight, hometown average wind speed and the style of riding you want to progress into.
My go-to kite size is a 9m, while I also have an 11m and a 7m which rounds out my quiver.
Look for a kite with swept back wing tips and a small leading edge. This will make the kite easy to relaunch and feel stable in the wind window, making smooth arching turns. Kites such as the Core Free or Liquid Force NV are good options. If you get a bar that is adjustable, then you will be able to use it on all sized kites, like the Liquid Force Response bar 46cm-56cm.
Board size will range based on weight and riding style, but for women, size 130cm to 140cm is a basic range. Getting a board with low to medium rocker and that is light in weight is a great idea to help progress to staying up wind and starting to jump. I ride a 134cm when doing freestyle, while I also ride a strapless surfboard (5’6).
A starter package will range in price, but lowest would be around $1200 for (new) 1 kite, bar, board, harness and pump.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask! I’d be happy to lend a helping hand getting you to the Outer Banks to become a kiteboarding babe as I have a wealth of knowledge! Also for gear selection check out Realwatersports.com as everything listed above can be found there. Plus we offer lessons, camps and accommodations….and even jobs if you want to become a pro yourself.