My 10 year old son has been enjoying using a 2m trainer kite on land for a while. Loves it.
We're at the end of the season now in WA, so when it starts up again later in the year, I'd like to get him in the water and receive some professional instruction - how to launch/fly/land the kite and body drag, to start with.
Then I anticipate spending time with him doing more of that, gradually letting him build competence and confidence. I don't intend to take him out when its blowing over 20kts, not for his first season anyway.
So I'm thinking, what kite and control system? Any ideas or recommendations? Thanks, Mark.
Worth hitting up
denys karantonis and Eppo , they've been putting kids of a similar age through, sure Eppo's young bloke started on a six catalyst, a little seat harnesss will keep the bar in a more manageable position
Not sure about resale but Epic kites created a junior range of kites so that Dmitri had something for his son to learn on. Might be worth a look?
Otherwise the Airush diamond range are designed for light riders (although probably still in the 45kg+ range). You might find some from previous years for sale second hand?
What does your son weigh ? Would be my first question.
how tall ? And
Where are you teaching him? .......water and wind conditions.
Mmmm I'd say that he's average-large build for a 10 year old - I'll have to weigh him next time I catch him!
...same for height.
At the moment we just fly the trainer kite together - usually at the beach.
To start with (in the water), I'd get him in down at Melville - yes I know the river is crap but (given that he'll probably get smashed around a bit to start with) I don't think it'll be as daunting as the open ocean and I think starting out at Melville will help him develop confidence and competence more quickly.
I wouldn't start off teaching him myself, I'd want him to get a good grasp of the basics from a pro and be given the all clear to practice with me first. Given the time of year now, I don't see him getting in the water until start of the next season - so I'm thinking that I have between now and then to get him a kite. Board would follow later.
Thanks all for the responses, much appreciated.
Beware of more advanced smaller 3 and 5 strut kites that really don't like flying in light winds.
...sounds like good advice!
Take him to Baldivis Wake Park and get him some time on the water there in a controlled environment. This will give him some basic board edging skills. Makes learning a lot easier. They do a kids club session where they slow the cable down and have extra coaches on hand to help the kids out.
That's a great idea - I never thought of that!
Mark I will assume your kid is at the 50th percentile so around 35kg.
The UNO is a very stable and lightly built one strut kite that is great to teach someone, especially a kid, how to steer and change the angle of attack of a kite and it's relation to bar throw. That's the hardest thing coming from a trainer kite for them to get.
But... let's say you only want your boy out in 12/13 to 15/16 max. Even at 35-40kg that uno (especially when they are still learning) won't, can't (it is difficult) for them to get planning and even if they are planning, to hold and length of tack. It's is also super fast and mistakes are amplified.
But a heaviky built kite at 4-6m will also not like staying in the air in those winds.
The best thing I did was put my lad on a lightly built 2011 6m catalyst. Within a very short space of time he was staying upwind and then my job was 95 percent done!! And thank Fck for that.
Line length... 20-23 is fine but a short lines of around 12-15 will help at the start but will become a hindrance eventually. So ...
I'd just get any lightly built 6m, 3 strut wave kite myself. Wave kites sit a little further back in the window and are super stable in the air. Any of them from any brand will be fine ... although the neo might be a tad heavy.
If ya want to be safe and don't mind throwing some coin in it get the 4m uno and a what i said above then sell the uno down the track (because you invariably will).
Also advice ... your son needs to be at it every single day for at least two to three weeks. Until he can stay upwind .. otherwise you will be back at the drawing board again quickly. Gotta get over that learning hump or just don't start at all.
i can vouch for Stella and shi house. I watched the latter spend literally all summer teaching his boy this past summer oh boy it was worth watching g the frustration on his face. Spent a number of hours at the pond in a chair just laughing my silly head off. But now his son is cranking !!
But when you crack it, it is priceless and right up there with the best feelings I've ever had anyway. Now my boy can hold a 7m with boots in 20 plus and is showing his dad up every session and he lets me know it to... little prick ....
Agree with above. 5m Reo was really good for my son to learn on.
Great advice Eppo - thanks heaps. Thanks to you other guys too
I'm thinking that I'll get him down to the wake park a few times over the coming months and let him get a taste for riding a board, which I reckon might give him some encouragement when it comes to starting out with a kite in the water ...which will be a challenge - just like it was for all of us when we started (well it was for me anyway)!
So I think you and the others have perfectly answered my question: a good kite solution would be a lightly built wave oriented kite at 5-6m and shorter lines to start with. Thanks :)
I'm realising that the key to success will be helping him to persevere and not give in because it's 'too hard'!
Where's the caf? Cauncy? I'm heading (driving) up to Kalbarri on the 24th with the boys, and I'd like to at least pass by and have a quick squiz at the beach at Dongara.
Doubtful I'll have time to get out on the water this time.
Mark , I started my boy ( Av size) at 7- 8 on a foil training kite. Age 8-9 on a 2.5m uno. great for body dragging . We used this on the land as well . with caution . I just used my 4 line bar. not really ideal as the throw was too big.
We body dragged for a season.
Age 9-10 introduced the board and went on a 4m Catalyst , then a 6m Catalyst. We have used the 4 and 6m Uno as well and they are great. In retrospect i think we should have been on the 6 earlier as the 4 was too fast to handle . so i would recommend a slow turning 6m when you introduce the board.
We kited Melville water . wind was ****e but made some progress there.
We also kited in the shallow part of the Pond on a highish tide. I know that is not a place to teach but the locals turn a blind eye to those teaching kids. its great because its shallow and you can get to them easy . Clear water so they dont freak out..
We also made good progress at Sandy bay Exmouth..
we made very slow progress and i think that was the key.when we were learning there was not really any option for prof instruction but i think there is now ..
He was upwind age 11. and starting to jump now age 12... and now i can go kiting more often... its all about the kids .. enjoy and be safe.
Plus one for the wake park .. we went there a few times .
I use LF Solo 6.5m and 4.5m to teach my 30 kg kid in 9-14 knots.
I also use the same kites with my surfboard:
6.5m: 22-35 knots
4.5m: 28-40 knots
The Solo is a great teaching kite because it's really hard to backstall and still flies well in 9 knots (relaunch is hard sub 10 though). Beginners tend to way over sheet so a kite that is hard to backstall makes a big difference.
I also started my kids aged 7 and 9 on a 2 line trainer kite (1.5m I think) and both loved it but the younger one hasn't really taken to the sport .... yet! Will focus on older child's development: promised I'd buy a real kite when he could fly the trainer 15mins without crashing, that happened quickly. Bought a 5m Cabrinha Radar at age 10 and started body dragging etc. Last season I got him to the stage of water starts but he would lose control 20 to 60m away from me going 45 degrees down wind. Paid for a 2hour lesson with instructor using radio helmet and by end of lesson he was staying upwind and turning without getting wet. He is now 12 and about 40kg, bought him a 7m Cab Drifter beginning this season and he hasn't flown the Radar since.
Couple things I mentioned in another post about teaching kids:
1: Kids get bored easily, spending too much time on how to set up, connect lines, pack up properly etc they will get bored and give up the sport.
2: teach the most important skills: when in doubt, pull safety! I have the luxury of kiting in a safe place, no current and standing depth. My son just gives the standard Surf Life Saving (learned at Nippers) signal and I make my way over to him.
3: F the bar or tangled lines, climb up the centre line and rest on the kite if you can't stand
4: Rules of the road: upwind = kite high, downwind = kite low when passing.
5: Have fun!
As his father, yes, I'm probably spoiling him by connecting his lines, doing the final few pumps, running out lines etc but I'm doing this while he pumps up both our kites most of the way. One day he will ask "can I take my kite to mums house?" or "Can I go kite surfing with my friends?" At this point my answer will be "yes, as soon as you demonstrate proper set up, pack down without my help and at least 3 self rescue's from water you can't stand in"
At this point, at the age of 12, he is pretty much self sufficient on the water, we kite together regularly and both have lots of fun but I'm still responsible for his welfare and keep an eye on him.
Oh and by the way, started with waist harness in XXS and XS for kids but both had seat harness within a couple months. Just helps keep bar more within reach.
Dakine and Mystic both do harnesses in these smaller sizes which fitted my boys.
That's awesome Gateman! ...thanks for all that useful info and it's great to hear that you guys are enjoying it
We have always had good success using the Viron.
Slowish to turn and one of the easiest kites you can fly. They are lower on power so usually choose a couple of meters larger.