I am in Icaraizinho in the state of Ceará in Brazil and it’s a kite surfing Paradise so today I want to talk about what is kitesurfing and my experience trying the learn it. I came here for many reasons to see friends and to experience living on the beach for a while but one of the main reason was I wanted to learn the kite surf.
I was watching a Kitesurfing and It looks fun and realist. It’s realistic to learn unlike surfing which is looks fun too but it’s like years and years and years of practice.
We made a whole video about Kitesurfing. You can see it here or go ahead on our Youtube channel to watch it there.
Kitesurfing is a sport where you have a board, kind of like a snowboard, where you can go either left and right, slide your feet into that board and then you have an harness strapped into your chest. There’s a hook and on that hook, you will hook a long wire with a handle and at the end of that there’s a giant kite. You will use that kite to generate power to steer you on the water going left and right or back and forth. That’s the gist of it.
It’s a pretty intense feeling when you’re strapped to a thing and you have a long kite then this thing pulls you in directions that you have to control it. You feel a little stress. I gotta say, the first time you’re like- okay it’s not do mistakes here, I will just fly out to the moon or something, but then you kind of learn to control the kite and you kind of learn to control the board.
How does it work?
The physics behind it is the kite, It’s shaped like a wing. They have a round shape on top and then a flat shape at the bottom. That round shape creates an effect that is called the Bernoulli effect, which creates an upward pressure in the direction of the round shape because it accelerate the wind one inside and then it creates uplift. That kite, when you lift it- you have a friend that’s over there and he helps you. The kite just goes up normally and it creates lift because of the shape of the kite that uses that effect.
It’s the same effect that the the sail on a sailboat, the plane, and even the rocket reactors. They use this shape and the same effect. It uses that effect to create lift and with that lift you can aim it in a direction then you use that to move yourself. You use the wind power to just to move yourself and that’s the gist of the how the physics of the kites thing work.
How hard it is to learn Kitesurfing?
To learn the kite surfing, It is pretty hard. I’ve been doing it for a month and my progression has been painfully slow. It’s a real humility lesson because- I’m getting up, I can do like 10 meters then I crash and that was like after many classes and lessons. I just slowly do a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more and slowly. You kind of understand different parts like I can see that other people get it faster than me, I had to go step by step and figure out how to put my board on my feet without my kite going on the other way and everything.
It is pretty hard. I gotta say that if you’re in the mindset that like- This is gonna suck for a while, but I have to do it and then it will be fun, which is the mindset that I am right now and it is still f*** at some point. I’m strapped to a giant kite right now in the water, that’s pretty good, but it’s not that easy to learn. I must say but it’s not that hard compared to what I think surfing will be like because I still want to learn surfing and I think Kite is easier to learn.
What size of kite for Kitesurfing?
A rule of thumb, it’s 10 meter per 10 kilos. For me I’m 120 kilos and I have a 12 meter kite. If you’re 100 kilo a 10, if you’re 90 kilo a nine and that’s the rule of thumb. But, depending on how strong the wind is, that’s the rule of thumb for here in Brazil and but depending on how strong the wind it is, then you go down or up from that scale.
Right now like today the wind is very light and I don’t have enough with my 12 meters kite for today, I will need a 14 meter or 13 or 14 meter to guide in light wind and I don’t have one. I can see that I will need a bigger kite to go on light wind days and I also have a nine meters that I rarely take because the wind here is light or steady but it hasn’t been crazy strong.
How dangerous it is to kitesurfing?
The kite surfing is like any adventure sport. There is a danger. There can be accident, you’re still strapped to a giant guy if you have a bad reflex and everything, it can be pretty dangerous. I see it like, ski or diving and accident happens.
The first safety, you grab your kite next to the handle and you pull and then instead of four strings that the kite has now it’s just one. The kite should go down in the water and just float there where the wind cannot generate more power, theoretically. But, something can happen. The rock, the coral reef or any way that it’s tied that could still generate power.
You have a second safety which is at the same location. You pull that safety and you don’t have anything tied with you connected to the kite. The kite can fly away at some point when you need to pull on that second safety, you lose the kite but you don’t break your leg or something.
So there are two safeties to drop the kite. The first safety is like stop flying and the second safety is get the f*** out. Theoretically the danger to Kitesurfing is low enough that people don’t hurt themselves that often. Accidents still do happen but I would say that it’s an acceptable level of danger.
So far, I am not able to go upwind yet, I’m still going downwind as soon as I try their waves and I fall I still go as soon as I can when the wind is strong enough. I am here in Brazil for one more month and I’ll go as often as I can. I will not be that good at the end of the month but I will be OKAY. I will still need more practice, I hope it gives you an idea of the scale that it is to learn kite surfing.