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      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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wai2011

Should I Learn to Kite or Keep Windsurfing

19 posts in this topic

I have been windsurfing since 1984 mainly on east coast and chespeake bay. I now live on North Shore of Oahu (have for past 10 years). Done quite a bit of windsurfing here in Hawaii and Maui, although with young kids, have not windsurfed much during last 8 years (A 34 foot sailboat also takes up my time- got that so I could get the whole family out in the ocean).

 

In the next few years I may have more time and would like to get back into windsurfing.

 

Or should I get out of windsurfing and go to Kiteboarding?

 

I really like the windsurfer as I can still get back to shore in 40 knots if need be. With a windsurfer I feel safe. If I need to (and I have needed to), I can paddle the board back to shore from a mile out if my mast breaks.

 

Although the small equipment package of a kite rig would be nice. I am also getting older, and do not look forward to teaching this old dog new tricks- like kiteboarding. Also, the thing I like about windsurfing is that you can sail in just about any condition- like the Red Bull storm chasers. I guess you can do that with a kite, but is it as safe and as reliable?

 

Opions are appreciated.

Aloha.

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I would take a few professionally instructed lessons on rental gear, preferably with a chase boat or ski. By the time you figure out how to get out from the beach and back to where you started, you'll know the answer to that question.

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.

...not sure how 'old dog' you are,,,but from what I've seen,there's lots of grey-hairs kiting in ventana and the gorge.

 

......it sounds like a good sugestion to give a kite lesson package a go before re-booting your w'surf gear.

 

 

.....more portable,,,softer on the knees ,, you're generally able to paddle home if that's what you want,,

,,,,,,,,,,,,,and no masts to break! :);)

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Why "or". You can kitesurf and keep windsurfing too. Even with limited time you won't need to invest much in getting back up to speed windsurfing, so spend the time with the kites unless conditions suite the windsurfer. I'm a windsurfer since 82, and learning to kitesurf now, and find they are actually complementary, since I wouldn't bother rigging up the windsurfer in the kind of wind the kites have fun in (I've got a 20m2 kite), and I wouldn't launch a kite in conditions I like to windsurf in (though other do, of course).

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Why "or". You can kitesurf and keep windsurfing too. Even with limited time you won't need to invest much in getting back up to speed windsurfing, so spend the time with the kites unless conditions suite the windsurfer. I'm a windsurfer since 82, and learning to kitesurf now, and find they are actually complementary, since I wouldn't bother rigging up the windsurfer in the kind of wind the kites have fun in (I've got a 20m2 kite), and I wouldn't launch a kite in conditions I like to windsurf in (though other do, of course).

You make some good points..

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I've windsurfed since 1982 and barely ever touch my gear anymore. I learned to kitesurf at age 50 and now 8 years later am good enough that I can kite, and have a blast, in conditions I would not be able to windsurf in, such as 30 knots in Cape Town. I think kitesurfing is much easier on the body, especially as I get older. I'm not very strong, so having most of the power go through the harness and mostly using the bar for steering works nicely (I know you are supposed to do the same windsurfing, but somehow it was always more work). Plus I never mastered carve gybes windsurfing, while kiteboarding I can do all sorts of spectacular transitions, not to mention huge jumps. Plus no more waterstarting, just dive the kite and you are back up and gone. Simply the most amazing sport. I envy all the young kids who will be able to do it all their lives. I strongly encourage giving it a go, but do it someplace pleasant to learn, like Cape Hatteras. And then back on the north short of Oahu you can ride at Mokuleia, which is where I learned to ride a strapless surfboard. The SWITCH kite guys do a lot of testing there and you will get to know Felix and the crew quickly. "Tophat" is an amazing strapless kitesurfer riding there, along with many others. Just don't try it when the waves are big in the winter, go in summer first. Search YouTube.

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I found it was a one way journey. My windsurfing kit almost never came out again after my kiting got to the competent stage. Its like going back to drinking cordial after you've tried Red Bull.

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Interesting comments. So far I have found the opposite to be the case, but I am hopeful my impressions will change. I've found the kitesurfing to be fun, but doesn't compare with pulling off a nice duckgybe, or fwd, or gu-screw, or similar, and I find it less satisfying on the face of a wave, in the same way that windsurfing on the face is less satisfying than surfing, in part because it is too easy. That is why I think they are complimentary, because the kites let you do stuff neither surfing or windsurfing can, so provides an additional set of sensations, rather than a replacement set of sensations.

 

A bit like skiing and snowboarding. I really enjoy both, and would never want to only do one or the other.

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Hump, that's probably because you are an excellent windsurfer. Despite windsurfing for more than 30 years, I am now a far better kitesurfer than I ever was as a windsurfer, hence enjoy it much more. I never surfed, have never been on a wave face on a windsurfer, and hence the exhiliration of riding a wave with a kite is wonderful, especially now that I have sort-of mastered strapless riding on a directional. Plus I can kite for hours, while these days I can only windsurf for about 30 minutes at a time. I also don't think windsurfing would have taken me to some of the places I've been, and certainly not allowed me to do some of the downwinders (like Ocracoke to Buxton on Cape Hatteras, around the cape itself, or Milnerton to Haakgat in Cape Town). Plus I can take all my basic gear in one kitebag on a plane anywhere, generally without extra fees, and fit it all into a small rental car.

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^^ big plus that!

And in anything less than 18kts I'm kiting circles around the windsurfers struggling to plane.

Down winders are awesome!

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Ok so it looks like kiting may be the way to go.

 

A few more questions.

1. Are people still learning to windsurf, or is kiting pretty much taken over? Here on Oahu very few windsurfers (not that many kiters either- a lot of surfers and SUP getting popular). I have not been to Maui for 10 years so not sure what is going on there.

 

2. Why do the Red Bull storm chasers use windsurfers? Could they use kites or could the kite not sail in those conditions.

Thanks all for the interesting replys.

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Hump, that's probably because you are an excellent windsurfer. Despite windsurfing for more than 30 years, I am now a far better kitesurfer than I ever was as a windsurfer, hence enjoy it much more. I never surfed, have never been on a wave face on a windsurfer, and hence the exhiliration of riding a wave with a kite is wonderful, especially now that I have sort-of mastered strapless riding on a directional. Plus I can kite for hours, while these days I can only windsurf for about 30 minutes at a time. I also don't think windsurfing would have taken me to some of the places I've been, and certainly not allowed me to do some of the downwinders (like Ocracoke to Buxton on Cape Hatteras, around the cape itself, or Milnerton to Haakgat in Cape Town). Plus I can take all my basic gear in one kitebag on a plane anywhere, generally without extra fees, and fit it all into a small rental car.

I had the benefit of starting to windsurf when I was young (I'm ten years younger than you), and spent most of my university years out every day. You can't help but improve with so many hours "invested", and I, like you, envy the kids who can do the same with kitesurfing today. Nevertheless, I do think that kitesurfing is ultimately less satisfying to do the same things as on a windsurfer, precisely because it is easier, as windsurfing is to surfing when it comes to riding a wave. Where each discipline excels is doing the things that the others can't.

 

I've windsurfed in 50kts, and would even now be happy in 40+kts in protected water, but I would not be safe flying a kite in these conditions, because, unlike a windsurfer, you can't just dump it in the sea and take a breather. The kite on the surface will continue to pull you in an uncontrolled manner when the wind is so strong, and the differential in force from the kite in such winds is much, much greater than for a sail. I would be interested to know how the extreme kiters cope with these issues.

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There's still a vibrant windsurfing community in SF Bay.

Kites even moreso!

I do both and think they are very complimentary.

Ive been hooked on windsurfing for 25+ years and just started kiting last year.

While its fun to be able to master the conditions and sail anywhere I can on the Bay- feeling comfortable and secure on the windsurfer; kiting on the other hand, is still something new and the challenge is learning.

Its taken me a while to 'unlearn windsurfing' and feel comfortable on the kite but now-riding the kite course board is very similar to the formula windsurfer.

 

The biggest thing as a windsurfer was learning how to let go of the bar and sheet out. Once you get that and learn to comfortable relaunching the kite- its pretty fun and the fear factor is way less.

Most windsurfers however are still unwilling to take that jump of relearning a new sport.

You dont have to give up one to enjoy the other!

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Absolutely agree with the Dragon. An expert windsurfer with consistently good conditions probably wouldn't shift, but as an "intermediate" windsurfer kiting is sooo much better and so much more fun. More time on the water, sailing 95% of the time during a session, easy turns, endless variety of easy and complex moves to work on, jumping, easy travel. It dawned on me when there were 100 kites out on the water, and 1 windsurfer in the car park (me) that something had changed. So I tried it, loved it and have never never regretted the move. Only problem is that there are now so many damned kiters out at the good spots.

 

The big limitation is the safety aspect with cross off or offshore winds, and that you need safe places to launch and land. With the right gear and experience, 40 kn is managable and exhilirating, above that you've got to be a bit mad. :P

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There are a lot of people here who have taken up kiting for when the conditions are <20knts, and on those days the bays and lakes are full of kites. By 25knts+ there are a lot more windsurfers out and less kiters. I prefer windsurfing when it really blows, part of that is (as you mentioned) the safety feeling, I can just paddle on the board to get home when shit hits the fan. With the kite there's a giant sail to deal with (or you have to partially contain it in the water), and it just doesn't seem as safe to common sense.

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I got lofted a few weeks ago (picked up into the air) and dumped on my head/right shoulder area. On land or in very shallow water I would have been badly injured, in fact I would have broken my neck and died.

 

Get instruction, or at least understand the risks.

 

My particular mistake? riding along and had the bar stopper pulled right down, went to change direction and as the kite went overhead the pull was just so immense. I remember looking back (I got twisted around as I left the board) I could see the board floating, next thing BAMMMM! upside down. Water was waist deep so no so bad. If I had done this closer to shore I would have been dead (quite a rocky shore) what happened was the bar couldn't raise as it was jammed tight to the stopper.

 

I was very lucky that day. I have been kiting for over two years and hadn't realised just what could happen, especially if you don't appreciate how a simple mistake could cost your health or life.

 

I don't mean this to be some lecture, its great activity and I still kite when I can. I hardly ever sail my skiff anymore, fact last time I had the skiff out I ached for a few days after. Kiting, just run of the mill riding with a few jumps is really easy for me. I would go for it and learn:)

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I've windsurfed since 1982 and barely ever touch my gear anymore. I learned to kitesurf at age 50 and now 8 years later am good enough that I can kite, and have a blast, in conditions I would not be able to windsurf in, such as 30 knots in Cape Town. I think kitesurfing is much easier on the body, especially as I get older. I'm not very strong, so having most of the power go through the harness and mostly using the bar for steering works nicely (I know you are supposed to do the same windsurfing, but somehow it was always more work). Plus I never mastered carve gybes windsurfing, while kiteboarding I can do all sorts of spectacular transitions, not to mention huge jumps. Plus no more waterstarting, just dive the kite and you are back up and gone. Simply the most amazing sport. I envy all the young kids who will be able to do it all their lives. I strongly encourage giving it a go, but do it someplace pleasant to learn, like Cape Hatteras. And then back on the north short of Oahu you can ride at Mokuleia, which is where I learned to ride a strapless surfboard. The SWITCH kite guys do a lot of testing there and you will get to know Felix and the crew quickly. "Tophat" is an amazing strapless kitesurfer riding there, along with many others. Just don't try it when the waves are big in the winter, go in summer first. Search YouTube.

thats answers my question...am I too old to make the transition.. will it be harder than windsurfing ... , looks like no n no n yes geta kite , less gear to carry , i started to learn before by trying to teach myself a few years back and last year used a skateboard n small trainer to practice somemore, looking up an a skate aint easy... and being 50 my main problem is not getting gear but, on lombok there arent any lessons to be had and getting the kite outa water and restarted

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Am an old short board sailor. I saw kitesurfing on Maui and I've been hooked on learning. Will be learning in a few weeks and can't wait.

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Well, good luck. Thing to watch for is that your instructor really does emphasise the safety aspect. You should expect to wear appropriate safety gear, at least a safety hat (bit like the ones kayakers wear)

 

Its a high risk activity, you only got to read my earlier post on getting lifted out the water to know this. In fact google kitesurfing injuries, this is not to put you off. Most examples I have seen are from showing off. Who on earth would do fancy tricks near rocks, or great big jumps over shallow water? none of the gear is rated and can fail anytime, which could seriously injure or kill you.

 

Its a great activity otherwise, just needs to be treated with respect. Always remember, the game isn't over until your kite is safely landed and secured! :)

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