Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone learn to kite?
Kiting can be learned by anyone in decent physical shape. With proper instruction and adherence to safety precautions anyone can fly and enjoy kiting. The sport offers many levels of extremes and how far you choose to push it will be up to you. Some prefer to cruise around in light winds very relaxed, others are pushing the envelope each time they go out, jumping higher, trying new tricks etc. It is important to find the path that feels comfortable for you.
If you are uncertain, take the an Introductory course, we will supply the equipment and you decide if you like it. We are pretty certain, once you fly you will be hooked.
Is kiteboarding safe ?
The comparison we usually make is to driving a car. Because we all have taken Drivers Ed, and not only know how to control a car, but also the rules of the road, we all drive with minimal injury to ourselves and others. Without this commitment to safe practices, cars can and do kill people. The same is true with kiting. With proper instruction, you’ll learn how to control the kite, where to fly safely and how to minimize injury to yourself and others. Our community self polices ourselves to help ensure continued access to lakes.
Unfortunately, a lot of what people see of kiteboarding is the freestyle end of kiteboarding, where riders are hucking themselves 20-35 ft in the air, “going off”. While this is a great, exciting part of the sport, it is not for everyone. Freestyle does add a level of risk that not all are comfortable with. Many riders love to quietly slice through the wind, leaving all their troubles behind, relaxing, suspended under the pull of the kite. Others like to go Mach 6 across the water or ice. Some like to carve huge GS turns downwind. Kiteboarding is about finding your ride, the ride that gives you the most pleasure with a level of risk you are comfortable with.
How much is all the gear going to cost?
The bare bones setup includes, a kite, a board (if summer riding), and a harness. If you scour the used gear you could probably get a complete setup for $500-900. If you want new gear, which will have all the latest safety and performance innovations, you could pay between $1000-1600. Most of us have a couple kites to allow us to ride in different wind strengths. We go through all the gear choices in our clinics to help you better understand what’s out there, used and new.
Where do people kite in Minnesota?
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes we have many options. In the winter, any good sized field or lake will work. City lakes include, Minnetonka, Calhoun (summer riding restrictions), Nakomis, Medicine, White Bear Lake and others. Around the region, the options are endless. Because you can walk out away from shore to set up your kite, wind direction and launch location isn’t as much an issue as it is in summer.
In the Summer months, we have self banned ourselve off of Calhoun. Too many risks of injury, and quite frankly the thermals in the summer off of the city create the gustiest conditions on Calhoun…not fun under a kite. Other great options for the summer are Waconia, White Bear Lake, Mille Lacs, Superior, Cannon Lake. The launches and wind direction become much more of an issue in the summer. Shallow waters out from shore are best. Less experienced kiters look for launches that have the wind blowing down the shore (sideshore) to minimize getting blown into shore.
For more infomation on Lakes go to the Lakes Section of LAKAWA
Is it easier to learn in the summer or the winter?
In Minnesota it is much easier to learn in the winter and then transition to the water in the summer. In the winter, we teach out in the middle of the lake with no risk of trees, buildings etc. You can start with a really small kite and slowly move across the wind. When you are ready, we go one size bigger, and you can start to lean against the kite as you start moving faster and faster. Eventually getting to a kite that is sized for your weight. The other advantage if you are on skis is that you can ride in a very stable position, legs apart, solid front to back, side to side. Until you learn how to generate consistent pull from the kite, this stance keeps you upright.
In the summer, when we hit the water we start you on a bigger kite because you’ll need that power to get pulled up onto the board. Then once you are up you need to ensure you have solid pull from the kite or you’ll be back in the water. Not at all difficult just a bit more challenging. It’s just not as gradual a process as in the winter, though not unlike learning to waterski or wakeboard.
Is there a club I need to join?
The community is fairly well bonded, not by an organization, but by our passion for the wind. In local forums, like Chat on Lakawa.com, riders share their experiences, challenges and joys in these sports. Our meeting are scheduled in these forums by the wind. When it blows we all head to the lake. Attendance is usually pretty good, even on weekdays. No agendas, no meeting notes, no minutes kept. Just everyone taking the day as it’s presented.
Have a question not answered here?
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