Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Published October 13th 2014
Sometimes, you need a beach day with a kite
Whether you're one who has never surfed or paddled on a board before, or are an avid expert at all the different forms of extreme sports, kiteboarding is one form of those extreme water sports that you absolutely must aim to try at least once in your lifetime.
And if you're an international student/tourist, then you definitely do not want to miss the opportunity to make the most of the Australian sunshine that has returned with open arms!
I recently came across a Groupon offer where I could try learning how to kiteboard (or kitesurf) with a friend via WindSUP. WindSUP is a local (SA-based) organization that offers its customers with a choice of learning the basics of Stand Up Paddle (SUP), Kiteboarding or Windsurfing. And not to fret if you're already into the sport(s) - WindSUP provides you with refresher courses to get better at the sport of your choice.
The instructor (Matt Stringer) is a very friendly, patient and easy going man who was ever ready to help out with the booking process, and (as he'd later prove himself to be) an excellent teacher.
SUP, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing (Taken from official website)
The adventurous side of me convinced the student side of me to spend the $39 (usually $100) and give this lesser-known yet completely awesome water sport a go!
The class is held at West Lakes, so it's easy to catch a bus from the Adelaide CBD and get there in about 20-30 minutes. The beach was pretty busy the day my partner and I decided to have our class, but that added to the beauty of the day, as we had the good luck of watching experienced kiteboarders show off their skills in the gorgeous, blue waters of the coast.
The kiteboarding lesson kicks off just past midday on Saturdays and Sundays, where a group of like-minded and equally adventurous individuals come together and learn the basics of this complex but exciting sport. The instructor provides you with all the required gear and equipment for the duration of the lesson, so all you need to do is follow Matt's cues and set up your gear.
All you need to bring to the lesson are sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and an exciting sense of adventure!
Group sessions are normally limited to 3-4 participants and are generally a more affordable option (unless you'd like to become an absolute pro at the sport, in which case, WindSUP provides one-on-one lessons for $220).
Lesson one of kiteboarding will not actually see you testing the sport out in the water, but will instead focus on obtaining a comprehensive idea of what how the gear works, how the kite is inflated to the right pressure, and – the most crucial part of the lesson – how the kite is meant to be held when in the water.
Instructor Matt Stringer explaining the basics of kitesurfing
Don't worry if you are not great at it, because I can tell you now (from first-hand experience) that I absolutely sucked at it! But that's okay, because that's what Matt is there to help you out with – in terms of getting the techniques right, and treating the kite like a "lovely woman" where you learn to handle it nicely and not roughly (I quite enjoyed Matt's analogy, and agree wholeheartedly).
My partner, on the other hand (who had never handled a kite before in his life), was an absolute natural at handling it when he was given the harness and ropes to control the kite. So it all depends on how well and quickly you can grasp the instructions prior to testing it out yourself.
It has been less than a month since I had my first kiteboarding lesson, but my body is aching to learn more. I have always been a big fan of water sports in general, but I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly I've encapsulated my desire to actually be good at a sport that provides the perfect balance of fun, extreme and adrenalin-rushing!
I would highly urge you all to call Matt today and book in a lesson if the finances support that decision, because it is a fantastic sport that teaches you the beautiful art that makes up the wonderful world of kiteboarding.