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Trainer kites - worthwhile or counterproductive?

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Created by OliviaMB 2 months ago, 27 Jan 2021
OliviaMB
15 posts
27 Jan 2021 4:49PM
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Hey there, I have done a handful of lessons but am so new to everything about kite surfing (wind, kiting, board skills - the whole lot!) that I am really struggling to improve past basic body dragging. Do you think investing in a 2-line or 4-line trainer kite is worthwhile? There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice online about trainer kites, particularly 2 line kites. Some people recommend them but I've also heard a few people (including my instructor) that it can be counterproductive due to the lack of a power bar (because you learn bad habits such as pulling on the bar to control the kite, which are harder to unlearn than learning to use a proper kite in the first place). 4-line trainer kites are pretty exey, and for context I have already bought my proper kite surfing kite. I am just struggling to improve with it and am slightly (very) terrified of accidentally hurting anyone at the beach while I try and try to get the hang of it. I had a near miss the other day with some people on the beach and it's knocked my confidence. I guess the other option is just paying for more lessons (I've had around 5). Tips/personal experiences with this would be very much appreciated!

FormulaNova
WA, 11908 posts
27 Jan 2021 5:06PM
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If you are good enough with body-dragging, then your kite skills are probably good enough to get on the board and learn from there.

When I learned, not that long ago, my problem was working out how much power to use to waterstart, and then once up on the board, what to do. I was lucky in that there is a wakepark nearby and after spending a bit of time there my boardskills became good and once I was up I automatically knew what to do.

I asked instructors similar questions about trainer kites and more lessons and they all said to just get out there and practice, and they were right. For what its worth I see people out there kiting competently and they don't seem to have great kite skills. Others have excellent kite skills but you can guarantee that they learned them once they were up and running.

Do you live in an area where there are places more suited to beginners?

OliviaMB
15 posts
27 Jan 2021 5:37PM
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Thank you, that is super helpful. I seem to be pretty decent with the kite when body dragging without the board, but when I add in the board I struggle. I still have my neck craned up all the time, and as soon as I look away it is liable to go haywire. I expect you're right and I just need to practice. I am possibly trying to progress to quickly (over-enthusiastic, under-skilled). In retrospect, when I had the incident the other day and nearly wiped out some innocent beach bystanders, the wind had increased to 25 knots with stronger gusts - I am a small female and even with my small kite I think I was overpowered given my skill level.

I'm in Sydney and there are areas near me that are 'okay' for beginners - certainly not free of obstacles/other people but can't complain. I've also tried the water park advice - I was no good in the main pool but I could get up with no issues with a lesson and will definitely go back when I FINALLY manage to get up on a kite board!!

FormulaNova
WA, 11908 posts
27 Jan 2021 6:27PM
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When i lived in Sydney i went out to Penrith wake park a lot mid-week and it really helped with the board skills so that when i was waterstarting it was much easier. I think most people keep looking at the kite until they are comfortable. If you dont have to worry about the board its much easier.
I would recommend it, even though its pretty hard on the arms initially.

KBGhost
QLD, 129 posts
27 Jan 2021 10:21PM
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You could share where you are learning, and try to find kite buddies in this thread, or "the hookup" section, or maybe local Facebook kite groups. I'm sure some more experienced people would be happy to meet up and keep an eye on you, just for a confidence booster.

As for getting over the hump, nothing beats water time.

listery
QLD, 69 posts
28 Jan 2021 10:28AM
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Have you got insurance. Near hits are not good.

OliviaMB
15 posts
28 Jan 2021 10:30AM
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Select to expand quote
listery said..
Have you got insurance. Near hits are not good.


I didn't but I do now! Thanks!

listery
QLD, 69 posts
28 Jan 2021 7:02PM
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Select to expand quote
OliviaMB said..


listery said..
Have you got insurance. Near hits are not good.




I didn't but I do now! Thanks!



Good stuff. When you get up on the board, remember to let the bar out on the upstroke of the kite so you don't choke it. That tip I got from Seabreeze, and it got me up and cruisin

snalberski
WA, 784 posts
29 Jan 2021 8:01AM
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Both my kids had a few goes on a 2 line trainer kite. I had always thought there would be no value in this but it definitely gave them an introduction to the fundamentals of flying a 4 line kite. Things like the power that is and can be generated and directing the kite with the bar. I made sure they new that the 2 different kinds of kites have different ways of controlling and flying and in both cases they benefited from having some time on the trainer. My take would be a trainer is good for a few short try outs but bad if you intend to spend multiple hours practicing.

Zigs
NSW, 39 posts
9 Feb 2021 10:14PM
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You could just take your kite to the beach on a light day (10 knots or less) and just do jumps and slides. Thats how I got better at my kite control

JCBoston
9 posts
16 Feb 2021 12:37PM
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When I first dipped a toe in kitesurfing, I bought a 2-line trainer. I found it was difficult to control and keep in the air in gusty conditions. A gust would hit and it would shoot up to the top of the window and then collapse.
I then bought a 4-line trainer, and it was 100% better. The learning curve was very fast. It was a very good investment because it allowed me to be very efficient when I later took lessons.

The 4-line trainer is HQ Rush Pro School, I don't hesitate to recommend it.

Rush Pro School - HQ4

KPSS Used
NSW, 313 posts
Site Sponsor
21 Feb 2021 9:42AM
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Get a trainer kite = Spend less money on lessons. Or do the opposite and spend much more on lessons, many schools and instructors prefer you to not learn the basics of kite flying with a trainer kite for obvious financial reasons.
Fly a trainer kite for a few hours until you are confident that you understand the wind window, explore the power zone and the edge of the window, and master up turning at the edge and down turning too. Do not believe the BS/hype, these are really important things to learn and they do not make you learn bad habits. I see so many people who never used trainer kites and they simply do not know they can down turn at the edge of the window! You will never be taught to down turn at any kiteschool during lessons as its considered too dangerous and risky, but once you are up and riding its an essential skill that will get you out of many crashes and the stress of relaunching.

The anti trainer kite mantra is as dumb as saying that learning to drive a go cart is bad for learning to drive a car.

Learning to kitesurf is 70-80% dependent on kite flying skills.

Rent or buy (they are fun to fly with friends and family)

froghoppa
NSW, 25 posts
24 Feb 2021 10:02PM
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I believe flying the kite should be fun before you go and get wet. So before you you rush into trying to learn everything in the water learn to fly whatever kite you have on the beach [ away from people] till you are having "fun" and most importantly competent and not afraid. Practice all manner of launching and landing methods which you can first watch on the internet and do this on the 8 to 10 knot days which will be teaching you how to feel what the kite needs.This will give you a good skill set for taking care of yourself out on the water. I use a number of trainer kites and smallish kites when training people but always start them on a Ozone uno 4 which is a amazing little 4m four line kite. A beach anchor can be a good call in some circumstances.

L8Start
15 posts
29 Mar 2021 8:47PM
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You are where I was last summer. I frequently crashed the kite when I tried to turn around and body drag back to shore. Trying to handle the board and the kite resulted in losing control of the kite and then letting go of the board or flying away from it.
My advice - first, unless you're freaking out about the big kite, keep at it.
Second - I totally disagree about flying the kite on the beach - that is, if you can already fly the kite on the beach. That's the most dangerous spot for you and others. Plus it's easy to control the kite with both feet on the ground. Hopefully you can body drag away from the beach ok - it's turning around or trying to handle the board that's messing you up? After flogging around a bit you'll get more used to flipping the board around; how it catches and accidentally goes under; and more used to handling it in the water while being dragged. It can be frustrating - the question is whether you enjoy being in the water or are just feeling constantly overwhelmed and panicked. If you can, try to relax and laugh at the accidental flights - just do it far enough from the beach to not hit innocent bystanders. Next, it took me a lot of trial and error to get my feet in the straps (crash kite; repeat). The beginning of this summer I got my feet in the straps and got up, and down, and up, and down. (repeat 20x). Hey - no fair - summer's over?! It disappeared in all that rain!

Oh - p.s. when it comes to body dragging, the wind and waves make a huge difference. I'm getting better about not crashing my kite when I crash on my board, and trying to not fly so far away from my board. But in some conditions it's easy to get back to the board; in others I have to decide whether me or the board are getting too close to the rocks and just let it go to the next section. And I even lost a board - expensive mistake! But I've kept at it and it's getting better.

jms
NSW, 131 posts
30 Mar 2021 2:00PM
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Agree - it's a good idea to body drag out far enough that your kite isn't in danger of hitting the shore. That way you can slam the kite into the water do the occasional unplanned superman jump to your hearts content. Obviously if the water is busy see if you can find a quieter spot...

kitcho207
NSW, 853 posts
Tuesday , 13 Apr 2021 12:57PM
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From a fair bit of experience, trainer kites are really only good for the odd people who cant get the push/pull concept.
If you want to turn the bar like a steering wheel, you should definitely spend some time on a trainer.
if you have that concept, then time on a proper kite is more valuable.



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"Trainer kites - worthwhile or counterproductive?" started by OliviaMB