Choosing a kitesurfing school
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Choosing the right kiteboarding school is important to help you progress in the fastest and safest way possible and get you to where we all want to be- having fun kitesurfing! Here are a few things to consider while picking the right kitesurfing school for you in New Zealand:
- Instructor qualification and school accreditation
We highly recommend to take kitesurfing classes with a certified instructors as they are following recognised and approved teaching methods.
IKO (international Kiteboarding Organization) is the largest kiteboarding organisation in the world but VDWS or BKSA trained instructors can be just as good in teaching you how to kite board.
Kitesurfing is a sport which involves risks if not learned and practiced properly and therefore it is vital for everyone to learn the sport in the right way and with a qualified instructor. We recommend you do not learn with someone who isn't qualified.
In New Zealand adventure tourism providers such as kiteboarding schools must go through an auditing process to be able to legally operate. If you are unsure if your chosen school is an accredited kitesurfing school you can check https://register.worksafe.govt.nz.
Blue Adventures is a Worksafe accredited school and all of our instructors are IKO qualified.
-Group vs private lessons and student to instructor ratios
The difference between a group and private lesson is that you will spent more time on the kite when you book a private lesson. When you book a group lesson this time is shared between participants.
- 1 on 1 time with the instructor means that you will spent more time on the kite, which will result in a faster progression.
- Your instructor can customise your lesson to your individual learning needs.
- The downside of a private lessons is that they will initially cost more.
- You might get tired faster as private lessons are more hands-on.
- Compared to a private lessons, initially group lessons are often a less expensive option.
- A group lesson can be a good option for people who easily get tired or take longer to internalise information.
- The downside of learning in a group is that you are sharing your time on the kite between the number of participants, which may result in a slower progression.
Student to instructor ratios
Most kiteboarding schools offer both private and group lessons, but student-to-instructor ratios of group lessons may vary from school to school. Should you decide to book a group lesson, we recommend you ask your chosen kite school about their student-to-instructor ratios.
At Blue Adventures most of our lessons are taught in groups of 1:1 or 2:1.
If you are unsure of what lesson option suits you the best, you can always contact us to discuss and we will point you in the right direction.
Every good kitesurfing school should use well maintained and up-to-date equipment for their lessons. This includes the right size kite, a beginner friendly board, good fitting harness, helmet, buoyancy vest and booties and wetsuit (even though many students choose to bring their own wetsuit if they have one).
Many kiteboarding schools also use bluetooth communication devices for their board riding lessons. The use of a good helmet radio system can speed up the learning as it allows instant feedback from your instructor. At Blue Adventures we use communication devices for our board riding lessons, which enables us to give you instructions once you are too far away to hear your instructor without a radio hemet.
- Spot selection
Kitesurfing locations with waist to chest deep water, no chop or waves and a sandy bottom provide the best learning conditions.
Generally spoken, the wind should preferably be side onshore. Side shore or onshore winds are also fine but can pose a problem if the water depth is above waist deep. Offshore winds are a "no-go" unless you are taught from a boat.
As you may know, wind conditions in New Zealand are variable and can change quickly. Optimal wind speeds for learning are between 15 to 20 knots of steady wind and wind variations (gusts) of no more than 5 knots. This said, wind conditions are not often perfect.
Depending on your level, our lessons take place between 10-25 knots. We try and avoid wind variations of more than 10 knots and do not teach in wind conditions over 30 knots.
There is a variety of wind apps available and we recommend you download Windfinder, Windguru or Windy.
Photo by Naish Kiteboarding