Life begins at 25 knots

kitesurfing west coast
Want it faster, higher, tougher? Kitesurfing’s your game!

Woo hoo, harnessing the propulsion of kite and board, kitesurfing is just so darn intoxicating. And you couldn’t ask for a better place than the West Coast to learn or practise this extreme sport – one of the fastest-growing in the world. So, break out of the rut to juice up your life.

Just to clarify matters: kiteboarding refers to anything that isn’t wave riding, so this would include freestyle, wakestyle, speed and racing, while riding waves with a kite is known as kitesurfing.

Learning basic skills

Sure, you can learn by yourself. But remember, you’re connected to something that could be too powerful for your skills and you might be going out in the wrong conditions. Kiting, like driving, can be dangerous if you don’t respect it. Learning basic skills makes it safe and easy, plus these lessons gradually introduce you to the power of a kite.

With so many aspects to master, learning kitesurfing from a qualified instructor is the smart thing to do. He/she will show you the ropes of kite launching, landing, how to use the bar, how to manage the lines, plus a gazillion other safety issues. And importantly, you also have to master the art of body dragging. Not an easy feat.

Adrenaline-rush aside, the sport’s health benefits are numerous: with significant concentration required to stay on course, it boosts coordination skills; develops arm and leg muscles to match the different disciplines required for successful, strong surfing; refreshes and energises the mind in the ocean air with fast-paced water activity; improves hand-eye coordination; and strengthens the hand muscles.

Trust the pros

Ready to plan your days around windy weather? Sign up with Cabrinha – one of the oldest kiteboarding centres in South Africa. You can rest assured that their instructors are all IKO-qualified (International Kiteboarding Organisation) and backed by more than 15 years’ experience.

A three-hour introductory course teaches weather theory; safety and wind conditions; getting started (kite set-up, pumping your kite and connecting your lines); first kite flying, safety and control using a small foil kite; safety systems and their use; and then once you have it dialled, the big one: kite flying skills with a regular kite.

First-timers also have the stress-free bonus of boat-assisted kitesurfing lessons – all equipment included. These premium lessons take place in ideal conditions at a secluded location on Langebaan lagoon over three to four days. Keeping a boat close to students at all times, you’ll be transported back upwind after a downwinder. In addition, students wear two-way radio helmets while learning, keeping them in continuous contact with their instructor.

Because everyone learns at a different pace, instructors evaluate progression to determine how many more instruction hours each student may still need.

In addition, Cabrinha conducts 1-, 4- and 10-hour refresher courses with a maximum of two people per instructor. These aim to improve your skills or get you up on the board as quickly as possible. Again, two-way radio helmets are used in the water lessons.

There will be thrills (and no doubt spills too), but you’ll walk away from this experience grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Rates: R795 ph, or group intermediate course R3 180pp; contact Grant on 082 9633870, shop Shop 53a, Eden on the Bay, Bloubergstrand or 1 Bree St, Langebaan.