Next Steps?

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Gerry
Kiter Noob
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:18 am

Next Steps?

Post by Gerry » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:06 am

Hi all -

I have been a windsurfer for almost 20 years (not that it helps much!), age 53, and decided to take up kiting. Since I live in Chicago, my goal is to get to the stage where I can get a permit to sail at Montrose.

So far I have taken 7 two-hour lessons, all down in Aruba where I can also get in some windsurfing. The winds are straight offshore which makes it tricky, but I did get to the stage where I was able to waterstart and ride for 100 feet in each direction - although it still feels like there's a fair amount of luck involved!

I'm still having occasional issues with kite control, when trying to ride I don't think I have a great feel for the control bar yet and (like many beginners) I still sometimes pull on it / forget to let it out with the result of the kite stalling OR getting overpowered. I was mostly able to relaunch the kite in the water (with board on), but it often took several attempts which makes me feel a little unsafe until I have more experience / confidence with that.

I am a little disappointed that I still need more lessons after 14 hours of instruction, but I am still highly motivated and feel like I am pretty close to getting over the hump. Have not bought gear yet, other than a trainer kite which I no longer use as it does not have a sliding control bar and was not helping me with that piece - which I am finding very challenging!

As Spring approaches I am thinking this might be time to start some training in the Chicago area, though I will be down in Corpus Christi in April and I'm sure I could take some lessons there. Would love to get your thoughts on the following:

- is it time to buy a (smallish?) kite and bar and do more land practicing on my own? Have not learned much about the equipment, other than setting up the gear that the school had and using the board they picked for me. Also concerned that I may not always be able to find someone to help me launch and land the kite - it would be much simpler if I could practice on my own without the need for a second person.

- Should I try to arrange for some more lessons on land now, or wait for warmer weather to hook up with a local instructor? I would be game to try to progress on a land board since it will be a while til the water warms up. I do have one that takes a windsurf sail, but it only works on pavement so I don't think it would be a good landboard for a kite.

- Am I still a long way off from being able to get a permit for Montrose, or is that a realistic possibility for this year? Is there a sticky that describes the process?

Sorry for a long "newbie" post, and thanks in advance for any and all input. I'm looking forward to meeting some Chicago kitesurfers as I try to become one myself!!

Best,
Gerry
Roger Park

tyedye
Kite Crew in Training
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Chesterton, IN
Contact:

Re: Next Steps?

Post by tyedye » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:19 am

Hi Gerry,

It’ll be great to have you join the Kiteboarding scene! Unfortunately the conditions at Montrose don’t look like Aruba more than two times Max a year. They don’t call it the washing machine for nothing. Although on occasion after they groom the beach it is good for Landkiting before Memorial Day. See my answers to your questions below.

- is it time to buy a (smallish?) kite and bar and do more land practicing on my own? Have not learned much about the equipment, other than setting up the gear that the school had and using the board they picked for me. Also concerned that I may not always be able to find someone to help me launch and land the kite - it would be much simpler if I could practice on my own without the need for a second person.

Since 90% of accidents happen while launching and landing on land, one of the cardinal rules of kiteboarding is never kite alone. It would be best to have an instructor evaluate your skill level since Lake Michigan can be more difficult than most places around the world. The water is cold, the waves can get large and close together, and it gets deep very quickly. A little local knowledge on where to go and what gear to use can go along way to help your progression.


- Should I try to arrange for some more lessons on land now, or wait for warmer weather to hook up with a local instructor? I would be game to try to progress on a land board since it will be a while til the water warms up. I do have one that takes a windsurf sail, but it only works on pavement so I don't think it would be a good landboard for a kite.

In my opinion the landboard is the most difficult form of landkiting. The only place I have found that seems doable is Montrose but those days are few and far between. A land buggy is much safer and our kiteboarding school, Stoke Riders, offers these all year long. https://vimeo.com/253135850

- Am I still a long way off from being able to get a permit for Montrose, or is that a realistic possibility for this year? Is there a sticky that describes the process?

Realistically about 1 out of every 10 students can go upwind their first year at a place like Montrose on a north wind. There’s a lot of current and chop there that pushes you into the jetty that can get you in trouble very quickly. The surrounding beaches Like Waukegan or Michigan city are much easier to navigate and practice on. Unless you’re just trying to score an after work session, many seasoned riders prefer to drive the extra hour for the quality of riding rather than the convenience.

Sorry for a long "newbie" post, and thanks in advance for any and all input. I'm looking forward to meeting some Chicago kitesurfers as I try to become one myself!!

Thanks for posting! You’ll love the Kiteboarding lifestyle and enjoy exploring the many beautiful kite beaches along Lake Michigan! If you have any further questions, give me a holler. Info@stokeriders.com

Tyler
Tyler
IKO Certified kiteboarding Instructor
Core, Liquid Force, Peter Lynn, NP, Mystic, Hyperflex, Woo, Trace, Mountainboard Sports, Rinsekit, Surfur, BBtalkin Dealer
http://www.stokeriders.com

Gerry
Kiter Noob
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:18 am

Re: Next Steps?

Post by Gerry » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:11 am

Thanks Tyler! The land buggy looks like it could be perfect for my current stage. After 15+ years windsurfing on lake Michigan I am very familiar with our conditions, depending on how strong it is a NE is definitely for advanced sailors only - same goes when water temps are in the hypothermia range. I fully expected the same for kiting! I was actually thinking more of a nice SE by season's end when the Lake is warm - but maybe even that is not realistic. :)

I did see this in the Where to Ride to section:

"You must have a PASA/IKO Level 2 certification, or equivalent, to kitesurf at Monrose Beach. You must present this card at the lifeguard station for allowance to kiteboard for the day."

Does Stoked Riders or any of the other schools in the area offer this certification?

Also, if I do want to have Montrose as an option, can I take a test with the school in order to get a card, or do I have to take at least on lesson with that school?

Thanks again,
Gerry
Rogers Park

tyedye
Kite Crew in Training
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Chesterton, IN
Contact:

Re: Next Steps?

Post by tyedye » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:49 pm

To ride Montrose, you actually will need an IKO Level 3L for riding on the water. An ESE at montrose is the golden nugget but only happens a few times a year. A SE is offshore so you’ll need to be able to stay upwind next to the jetty to capitalize on those days.

If you’re on the beach, having a small kite to practice on is much safer if you have someone to help you that knows what they’re doing. You can even ride a buggy in much less wind than what you would need on the water.

If you are traveling upwind on the kiteboard this season and would like us to evaluate your riding level, we can issue you an IKO card with a streamer to ride Montrose. If you end up needing more instruction to attain the necessary requirements,we can turn your evaluation into a lesson.

If you sign up for a lesson with us at Stoke Riders, we will issue you an IKO card with the level you are at when you wish to discontinue your lessons. That way if you are traveling around the world to another school or kite rental shop, you will be able to prove your level to them without another evaluation.
Tyler
IKO Certified kiteboarding Instructor
Core, Liquid Force, Peter Lynn, NP, Mystic, Hyperflex, Woo, Trace, Mountainboard Sports, Rinsekit, Surfur, BBtalkin Dealer
http://www.stokeriders.com

WaWaZat
Kite Dominator
Posts: 763
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:41 pm
Location: South Holland, IL

Re: Next Steps?

Post by WaWaZat » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:39 pm

Hey Gerry!

Glad to know we've enticed another windsurfer to come over to the other side! :twisted: :wink:

As a local windsurfer, you should have a great head start on understanding our conditions around here.

I second the info Tyler gave you and will add... don't feel discouraged about the amount of time it takes to learn kiting. There's a lot to know to keep you safe & responsible and a lot to practice to get all those movements and techniques required to power you along on a kite working together with ease! Knowledge & repetition.... and a little finesse... is key. With kiting, the learning curve is steep at 1st but once it clicks, it levels off some and before you know it, you're off flying solo and developing chops from there comes a lot easier and more quickly! Glad to hear you're motivated... I remember enjoying every minute of learning and I recommend it to everyone! It's not just about the ride... it's about the journey and especially here in the Windy City, the journey is all part of the fun!!

To answer your question about lessons.... no better time than the current to keep it rolling! I too have an IKO school and we run year-round. I've got some great landkite locations I like to use and can get you off to a flying start pretty quickly on a buggy, as we remove a lot of the challenges faced when learning on water. Once we’re sure you have a good handle on kite control and basic safety, we can almost set you down in a buggy and start tacking! There are many more factors involved with getting up and planing on water with a kiteboard and getting the hang of these while also trying to do what you need to do with the kite to get you moving, takes time. With the buggy, we can focus more on the powerkite aspect and get you there much more quickly. Heck... if you end up loving it silly, we can get you in to your own buggy & kite rig! I also have the area kiteboard shop and sell all brands we use. I still have a couple foil kite deals left too!

Then, with Spring springing soon..... I know, it snowed today but I promise we will be back in the water before long!… we can take those powerkite skills you’ve learned on the buggy and apply them in the water! At that point, I can evaluate what you’ve learned in your previous water kite lessons. Where necessary, we can break down in to baby steps all those factors involved with getting up and riding on a board that you might not yet have a grasp on. Once we get you past any struggles and begin to program that muscle memory, it won’t feel like luck at all and we’ll get you to the point where you’ll be up and riding consistently!

As far as riding Montrose, when you’re at that level, we can take a trip there to show you the ropes safely… as it is a unique animal… and do a certification test. After passing that, I can issue the proper certification and get you the required streamer!

As a windsurfer, you may perhaps be pretty well suited up but if you’re lacking in the water gear, appropriate wetsuit or cold water accessory department, I can have you in to the shop to check out options to fill in the gaps.

The other thing I do is host kiting trips to great wind destinations! We’ll be down in South Padre Island, TX April 7-15. These trips are for all levels of kiters and an extreme blast! We go there because the wind is reliable this time of year, it’s warm and comfy and best of all, especially for those who are learning, we have a 7 square mile flat, shallow kiddie pool which makes learning easier and faster! I will be teaching the ones in my group who need it down there during this time and it’s only a few hour drive from Corpus. If that lines up with your trip there, you might consider coming down to see us!!

In any case, see ya soon out in the wind!!
Kiteboard Mike
3ME/WindyCity Kite Sports
Fully Stocked Shop, Demo Center & IKO Certified School
eus@3mekite.com
708.341.0003
http://windycitykitesports.com/

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