Learning and improving kitesurfing skills in Mui Ne
While kitesurfing is still classified as an extreme sport, it has become easier and safer to learn over the last years. The International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) has developed standards for instructors which are globally accepted (similar to the “PADI” courses for scuba diving). Schools which are accredited by the IKO only employ instructors who have passed difficult exams in both theory and practice of kitesurfing along with first aid training.
Starting out, it will take on average around 10 hours of practice to get up on the kiteboard and harness the wind. Interestingly, there is no marked difference between students who have prior experience in windsurfing or other watersports and those who have never practiced any watersports.
A kiteboard student starts out with a couple of theory lessons that provide information about wind, waves, and basic kitesurfing safety rules. Then, the student will learn how to steer a kite with a smaller “trainer” kite on the beach. Once the qualified instructor feels that the student has some practical experience flying the trainer kite, the student will move up a real kite on the beach. This allows the student to explore not only how to steer the kite to the left and right but also how to increase and decrease its power.
Once the instructor feels that the student is comfortable flying the kite on the beach, the instructor will bring the student out on the sea without a kiteboard. The student will learn how to “body drag”, that is, to master the kite in the water.
After some practice in the water, the student will go out on the water strapped to a kiteboard with the kite. The first couple of tries may not be successful but it takes only little practice to coordinate the kite and the board, and the formerly novice kitesurfer will have a huge smile on their face by the end of the day!
While learning this fascinating sport is easy, one shouldn’t underestimate the potential hazards associated with kitesurfing. We recommend taking classes with an IKO approved school with qualified instructors. In Mui Ne, there are two such IKO approved schools, Kiteboarding Ananda (KBA) located at Ananda Resort and CSky located at Sunshine Beach. Some of the non-IKO approved schools in Mui Ne will employ IKO accredited instructors, so students are encouraged to verify the diploma of his or her instructor before committing to a kitesurfing course.
These schools aren’t only for the novice kiteboarder. Many kite schools also offer courses for inter/mediate or even advanced riders teaching skills such as jumping or jibing (changing the direction).
If you are not sure if kitesurfing is for you, just go ahead and take a couple of lessons. It might change your life like thousands of others before you.
Writer: Michael Mahe