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Windsurf convert? Intro and a few questions

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Created by LukeandLiss 22 days ago, 2 Jan 2020
LukeandLiss
ACT, 11 posts
2 Jan 2020 9:18PM
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Hey everyone!

My wife and I windsurf when we get the chance. She has difficulty with sailing upwind. I've tried everything to teach her but spend most sessions rescuing her and not sailing, we have tried lessons too. I'm also very over the amount of space required for the gear we have and we are downsizing our house so storage will be more of an issue.

She is of the opinion that kitesurfing is extremely dangerous and would be hesitant to try it. I'm really keen to get her into it because once she got over the initial learning curve and got and about she would at least be able to sail and have fun, with windsurfing she gets very discouraged. And sometimes has trouble with a lack of strength.

I have heard that kitesurfing is easier to learn/have fun? Am I correct in my thinking?

We are also on a tight budget. We already have harnesses. But would need everything else. How much would two kites and the rest of the gear cost per person?

We live Sydney and she weighs 55kg and I weigh 80kg if that helps with gear etc.

Any other thoughts/advice? Thanks heaps!

englishmanbo
22 posts
3 Jan 2020 6:57AM
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Hi, I am in only my second season and am having a blast. My daughter is also learning she goes very gently and rarely gets overpowered. I hit it hard and took a beating every session (superman) while learning the initial steps. The generally accepted view is that once heading upwind (landing were you started) it becomes easier than windsurfing. This took around 30 hours on the water for my buddy and myself. Maybe you could just go for it yourself and see if you like it, or spend less windsurfing sessions trying to teach your wife. It is nice to do things together but not at the expense of your own sport/well-being/testicles. If she really wants to learn, upper body strength is not a big deal as the power goes through the harness and she can learn at her own speed. There are risks but they can be reduced by taking lessons, not going out in gusty conditions, etc.

There are more experienced people on the forum to discuss gear, you generally get what you pay for.

Gateman
QLD, 313 posts
3 Jan 2020 9:40AM
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Select to expand quote
LukeandLiss said..
Hey everyone!

My wife and I windsurf when we get the chance. She has difficulty with sailing upwind. I've tried everything to teach her but spend most sessions rescuing her and not sailing, we have tried lessons too. I'm also very over the amount of space required for the gear we have and we are downsizing our house so storage will be more of an issue.

She is of the opinion that kitesurfing is extremely dangerous and would be hesitant to try it. I'm really keen to get her into it because once she got over the initial learning curve and got and about she would at least be able to sail and have fun, with windsurfing she gets very discouraged. And sometimes has trouble with a lack of strength.

I have heard that kitesurfing is easier to learn/have fun? Am I correct in my thinking?

We are also on a tight budget. We already have harnesses. But would need everything else. How much would two kites and the rest of the gear cost per person?

We live Sydney and she weighs 55kg and I weigh 80kg if that helps with gear etc.

Any other thoughts/advice? Thanks heaps!


Hi Luke and Liss
The learning curve can be very steep for some people when it comes to kite surfing, it's 80% kite control and 20% board skills, time flying the kite is your best friend. The weight difference between you will allow you to share a couple kites in the middle of your quiver, she might be flying the 10m in the very light winds (12-16 knots) and you would use the same kite in the 22-30 knot range. Kite surfing requires less upper body strength than wind surfing and there are plenty 40-55kg kids, girls etc all able to handle the right sized kite. It's great sport and couples that kite together, stay together
I would definitely start with a couple lessons and follow your instructors recommendation for kite sizes.
Best of luck with your journey

Deefer
VIC, 44 posts
3 Jan 2020 12:22PM
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As Gateman said its all about flying the kite. I've taught my kids from age 10 and they all spent lots of time on the beach first with a trainer kite and then with a small kite to get used to how a real kite flies. I picked up an old 3.5 and 5m kite for a few hundred bucks and they all beach flew them for ages before we considered even letting them near the water and real wind. I used to hook my harness via a bungee tether to the back of theirs acting as the anchor, (82Kgs) that way they learned what it felt like to get dragged when you stuffed up. By the time they were ready for the water they were drilled in quick release and completely ejecting the gear.
Also when they needed to combine board and kite together they were good at the kite and it all just clicked. I for the life of me still cant see how someone can do a few lessons buy some gear and just go for it. Every summer we see people getting dragged across the beach and unsuspecting beach punters when practice with the kite would have made all the difference.

Learn to fly a Kite Well and the rest will fall into place!

AquaPlow
QLD, 786 posts
3 Jan 2020 5:46PM
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What Both defer and gateman said above..
but compared to a punter..
you both know and understand wind and how to read it.
UBK& Understand board and balance using the wind
URB competent to go out beyond your depth without getting phased..
So the main differences are..
How the power is transmitted to the board it is less complex
Hhow you capture the power, the kite is initially more complex but once you start including Gybes etc kite is way less complex...
SStarts.. well if u use a floater and haul up..mast that's no fun if you standing start one foot on board that's about same as kite start.
A stand out difference is the ability to start and stop power delivery.
Windsurfing is way more straightforward..
Kite no drop mast and relax. The kite is active from launch till landing there is no off. But. It is obviously not a major issue a lot of people kite.
This is where kites take getting used to.. it is also where very rapid change occurred in design some10 plus years back.. the target being safety.. so kites have a complete setup you will find new.. but capable of being understood fairly quickly due to knowledge of wind/power development from sail. So the way to checkout is that land based handling.

summary.(joke ). in the learning phase...kite considerably less muscle required.
kite control has no easy comparison to windsurfing you have to learn it windsurfing is a lot easier to learn sail movement balance and power delivery but once you are moving on a board I feel kiting is easier.. getting that balance on a windsurfer especially near the top or bottom end of the sail's range is harder and requires more physical power.
windsurfer likely to get earlier runs on the board as a learner the board floats and once balanced you just zip so more leeway for error..
Kite.. building that solid familiarity once you expect to be able to ride the board each session is easier to windsurfing especially since the first board type you use is symmetrical so go to left or go to right is basically the same.
There is no free lunch but you are well ahead of a rookie..
Both crews are generally great helpful.. so if you want wind power and portability give it a crack...
cheers
AP. (In dry dock for a number of weeks after bike stack so time to burn)

Sandfoot
VIC, 415 posts
3 Jan 2020 7:23PM
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Take a holiday to a learners camp - you will save years and be safer quicker.

Gateman
QLD, 313 posts
4 Jan 2020 12:58AM
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Plus 1 for the learners kite holiday if you can afford it, I did 5 days in Peurto RICO back in 2003 and it was an amazing way to get your head around all the safety, kite gear etc. Included all gear, instruction and accommodation. Not sure who does these locally but Zephyr Tours do a number of trips to Cocos Islands, South Africa, Torres Strait etc.

eddiemorgs
NT, 366 posts
4 Jan 2020 12:36PM
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I could never get my wife in water beyond her waist , so you are off to a good start

I have now done a lot of both windsurf and kiting. Given you are at the beginning of the learning curve , I would advise to check out kiting over windsurfing with some lessons and the idea of a trip to fast track skills is all a great one.

I still miss many components of windsurfing , the connected feel ...which I don't get with kiting although I love kiting as well , but not the ultimate buzz in waves.

But ... to progress to a reasonable level in windsurfing will take much longer than kiting. It simply has a higher requirement for optimum conditions to advance well , thus more "difficult" in that sense.
in kiting as already stated , it's 80 % kite flying ... if there is wind then the kite will fly , then you have to manage it. In windsurfing , you can stand up on the board but there is a whole lot stuff you have to learn to harness the wind with the sail before you will even plane the board.

Kiting has a much greater range of optimum conditions to learn in , therefore more time on the water ... more learning , more fun.
The gear is more compact and lighter , so yes there is definite advantage there.
And yes , there is much lesser need for whole body strength in kiting . I should say that kiting is more dangerous ... there is no doubt about that. But the danger it is manageable as long as you follow the safely protocols ... this is important to your wife's learning curve ..we don't want to discourage people having a shot , by being dismissive of their fears while they are confronting them. Attend with them , assist them etc until they become more comfortable . It only takes a few moments. And find a good instructor .. slow introduction for your wife will help her to understand things better as she goes.
Re gear , have a look at the Buy and sell to get some idea of cost. Talk to your instructor about it too. Always take note of what the experienced locals use and have a chat to them if you can.

good luck !

KiteAddicted
38 posts
10 Jan 2020 10:03PM
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well said Eddiemorgs. Fear is a good thing - the sport is risky and risk management a big part of what we do. If she is aftaid, understand concerns and address them. As others mention, training and practise in appropriate conditions after personal instruction is key. Given concerns about budget to save money, i got lessons thrown in with gear purchase. Can highly recommend the face to face instruction is supplemented by progression videos and youtube (qualified experts). Talking to people at your local shop or on the beach works as well. Mates and i made the shift from windsurfing. On super windy days we miss it but the airtime and reduced gear weight is worth it. Good luck!

FormulaNova
NSW, 9951 posts
13 Jan 2020 10:56PM
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Its sad, but my answer to learning how to windsurf well was to go to WA in the summer and spend a few weeks there with consistent wind. My answer now to how to learn how to kitesurf is the same.

As for gear, you can buy cheap gear if you know what you are looking at. I was told ages ago that I shouldn't buy a kite older than 2011. Now I have heard people saying something similar, but for much newer dates, and I don't believe it. I am sure kites get tweaked year by year, but I think after a certain year the safety systems became very similar and relatively safe.

You run the risk of valves delaminating, and all that stuff with older kites, but you could buy some really cheap kites. I would try and stick with a more recent bar that has a modern release setup, but the kites themselves can use newer bars in a lot of cases.

I guess with your difference in weights you can get away with using the same kites for both of you, so its not like you would need too many.

Have you thought about speaking to Kitepower or whatever WindsurfNSnow is known as now?

cansyd
NSW, 38 posts
15 Jan 2020 2:55PM
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hi Luke and Liss

My wife and I both Windsurfed, not that well but we enjoyed it. My wife (57kg) found carry the gear to the water, rigging bigger sails a pain. She was fascinated by kiting due the smaller equipment size.

Moving forward we started kiting (we had lessons and a holiday (good location) is great idea) and she was off kiting. The whole strings on the beach, people who choose to jump over you and trying to manage a kite in strong winds tarnished the attraction. Then to foiling and she got "foil brain" and pretty much doesn't twin tip.

Late last year she saw windinging and there has been no stopping her. She currently has a 115l board, 4m wing, 1600 foil. She can carry the gear, no strings, easy to pump up sail and more places you can go. We both are still learning so we wear wetsuits and helmets because of the foils. I am still in the learning phase as I hadn't really kite foiled.

for kiting we essentially have one set of kites 7,9,12 plus a zephyr. Generally my wife is one step down from me (90 kgs) on a twin tip (eg me 9m her 7m - ) sometimes maybe a bigger gap. We have the same bars etc so it is easy to change over if the wind drops or picks up. Our boards are about 15% differences in size although I have a really big tt for light winds which she doesn't use. Kite foiling introduces some other variables and we now have kites down to 3.5. We actually bought the same model board in different sizes so if we swapped the board is the same.

When we learnt (on holiday) there were a lot of new starters who gave up before the first 2 hr lesson was over. If you get launched badly is can be a little disheartening. So I would commit to equipment too early. We both agree it is easier physically to learn kiting and it is quicker to get to the mowing the lawn point.

You might be able to try a wind wing on a sup to see what you think, windwinging is still fairly new.

Hope this helps with your decision, for us the biggest issue was who would launch who when we were the only ones on the beach.

MrBlean
6 posts
Friday , 17 Jan 2020 6:44PM
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As a long-standing windsurfer who migrated to kiting about 8 years ago, I can say from personal experience that the biggest problem you will face is getting used to letting go of the bar when things start to go pear-shaped rather than hanging on for grim death as one does with a windsurf boom. When kiting, I found myself pulling on the bar for leverage which powers-up the kite when, in fact, I should have been 'sheeting out' by extending my arms and/or releasing the bar.

There is an exact parallel with snow ski-ing /snowboarding and wind/kitesurfing. It's easy to learn the basics on a pair or skis but it takes years to get truly competent. It takes about 4 days to become a moderately proficient snowboarder and to realise you have got past the hump. But the first day or two are really hard and you fall a lot and get dispirited. This is particularly problematic if you are a competent skier and think you could be having fun on skis when you are killing yourself on a snowboard.

Precisely the same thing applies to the transition from windsurfing to kitesurfing. You have to really want to master kiting. Dabbling at it is not sufficient, especially as an ex-windsurfer. It's all too easy to drop back into your comfort zone and get back on a windsurf board.

However, I would say that as a novice kiter, you need more optimal conditions than you do windsurfing, for kites don't fly when there's not enough wind and your are unable to 'sheet out' to the same degree when over-powered. In contrast, you can balance on a beginners' windsurf board and pump your way home and sheet out completely when over-powered.

I have taught many people to windsurf and to improve their technique. However, I wouldn't profess to be able to teach someone to kitesurf safely as there is so much to learn and so much that can go wrong if your technique isn't up to par. Lessons are almost mandatory but after about 4-6 hrs you should be up and planing albeit needing a change of shorts/wetsuit after each session!

cauncy
WA, 7694 posts
Sunday , 19 Jan 2020 5:30PM
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Hi Luke, post a picture of liss, we will try n help ya



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"Windsurf convert? Intro and a few questions" started by LukeandLiss