Forums > Kitesurfing   Western Australia

Its a struggle

Created by G28off > 9 months ago, 26 Feb 2015
8 posts
26 Feb 2015 8:07PM
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In line with "seaspraydolphine", I am to struggling with this sport.
I started kite surfing in January by commencing 6 x 1 hour lessons at Pinnaroo Point. The location was too windy and the water deep within 5 meters from the shore line, which destroyed my confidence. The kite was flying me, not me flying the kite. After my lessons I abandon Pinnaroo and headed down to Scarborough and Brighton beaches to practise self launching from the beach and self landings. I never used my board, just tried gaining experience and confidence flying and controlling the kite. All was going well until I had two (2) explosive experiences where I was thrown 10 meters, which again shot my confidence to pieces. (Poor reaction time and inadvertently pulling down on the bar).
I have been surfing for 50 years and have never been taken so far out of my comfort zone by this sport, as the mental stress is unbelievable. I spoke to other kiters who have been kiting for years and they recommended further lessons and trying at Applecross Melville Beach Road. My lessons started in a tense manner with my heart rate up at about 150 beats and my breathing following suite. Notwithstanding, after 6 x 1 hour lessons I was settling down and able to fly my kite, body drag down and up-wind, sine waves and do power body drags-lunges. Since the completion of my lessons, the wind has been fickle, and I have only had two other times of putting theory into practice, which were only approx. 25% successful.
This lack of follow up is making me feel a little nervous and apprehensive about going solo at the Applecross river foreshore. However, I look at the $3,800 I have spent on my gear/lessons during my holidays and my continued desire to be able to surf out 50 meters, and safely return to the shore. I'm not willing to give up yet, until I have achieved what I set out to do. The experienced Kiters make the sport look so easy and manageable.
I live north side of the river and I'm unfamiliar with the river locations, hence, the mention of the "Pond" and "Sand Spit", that Point Walter?????, Do you consider and recommend those two locations as a safe spot to continue practising and learning
Cheers Geoff

WA, 44 posts
26 Feb 2015 8:57PM
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Hey Geoff ,
long story short .
surfing nearly all my life and over 50 .
watching the lads kite down here in margs having so much fun I hesitated for a few years which I later learnt is ........
( " i do not want to be a kook again syndrome ") .
but I know when you get older you can not compete in the line up for waves and kitesurfing was an inevitable progression .
its taken 2 years , two trips to Greece ..4 kitemares that I have come home and questioned my lack of sack !
A memorable experience where my kite , 100 metres down the beach wrapped around the only windbreak on an isolated
greek beach with two nude beef cake men wrestling with the leading edge !!!!! Holy **
i am the slowest learner and I am having fun .
I urge you Geoff and seaspray D to continue on and never say " enough is enough " .
ps , I would like to say that the goodwill and help between kitesurfers is very special and as a surfer of many years I urge all kiters to promote the good vibe and smiles .

Andy T
WA, 325 posts
26 Feb 2015 9:30PM
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You need to take a step back. You should not even consider self launching and landing until you are a competent kite surfer.

WA, 1199 posts
26 Feb 2015 10:09PM
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Hi Geoff, Christian here (your instructor )

Glad to hear you're motivated to carry on with the sport.

As Expatruds mentions, some students need more time than others to learn. This is the case for you and also was the case for me (took me many months of flying before I was comfortable with the kite).

As I highlighted in your written progression/feed-back sheet (just pulled it out and read it again), you unfortunately still have some dangerous habits of grabbing the bar very firmly and pulling it in all the way, along with a wide grip. This combination of habits is what makes kiting more dangerous for you, especially when flying larger kites on the beach, especially on windier days. You are MUCH safer in the water and for those reasons you should avoid flying on the beach as much as possible.

Unlike most students in other schools you are perfectly capable of performing deep water self-rescues without any assistance, you've done 4 of them (all successful) during your lessons. Hence, you should have nothing to worry about going out for a body drag in deep water. In fact that's the best thing you can do to improve and build confidence and flying skills. Just stay away from waves/shore breaks and over crowded areas.

I see you have lost your board in a different thread, sorry to hear that. Remember that after your 3x2hours lessons, you were still having difficulty with upwind body drag and kite control... and we weren't ready to bring the board to your hands or in the water just yet.... As a result I recommended you book more lessons and was hesitant about recommending you to go out on your own... but I totally understand you would go out by yourself after spending on gear. I would've done the same thing and actually have done the same mistake myself. Went through many kite mares myself until I just accepted I needed more lessons...

Finding a shallow water location may help you to build confidence, but remember each locations has it's pros and con's. Melville has a very narrow beach and lots of obstacles nearby, kites end up in trees regularly there. Winds can get very gusty and it can get very crowded. Point Walter would only work on Easterly winds, which are extremely gusty and also almost on-shore on the upwind side of the sand bar or off-shore on the downwind side. I wouldn't recommend this place for any beginners.

As Andy T suggests, you definitely should avoid self-launching, especially at your level. Contrary to what Andy T says, Self-landing is fine as long as you release your safety system first, which is something you've done well a few times by yourself during the lessons.

For your own safety and ease of progression I would strongly recommend budgeting another few more lessons (with practice in between) until you get more comfortable, confident and safe. It's not rare that our students book more than 3 lessons, nothing to be ashamed of.


WA, 1094 posts
26 Feb 2015 10:10PM
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Shoalwater near penguin island is an awesome beginner spot. The pond is NOT a learners spot and point walter shouldn't be either.

Like the advice you've had, wind it back a notch and feel comfortable flying the kite before you get the board.

Keep in there, people learn at different rates and your surfing experience will make you progress faster than a lot of people once you get me control.

11 posts
26 Feb 2015 10:28PM
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Hi Geoff,
Have you tried any time on a trainer kite? I started at 42yo and I credit my experience with old school delta kites as being the thing that has shot me ahead of others in the learning, and confidence, curve. My basic surfing background helped me deal with getting smashed many, MANY times. My lessons were rubbish but perseverance got me where I am today. You'll get there too. The learning curve is steeper at the start than surfing but tapers off so quick that you'll wonder what the stress was all about

Select to expand quote
G28off said..

I'm not willing to give up yet, until I have achieved what I set out to do.

That is the simple attitude that will help bring it all together. What you "set out to do" will soon become the very least of what you "are able to do". The winds will come back but expect your first winter to be "kite free". Summer will return and you'l have a whole season from start to finish to get it all going again.

Good luck
From Jeff to Geoff

WA, 611 posts
27 Feb 2015 8:31AM
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Hi Geoff

You will get there eventually, but stay away from the river and any objects that you could potentialy hit, hurt yourself and others, Pinnaroo is still a good place to be as a beginner the wind on the river is too gusty in a lot of places.
Get into the water with your kite as soon as possible, as hitting the sand just hurts a lot more. a lot depends on what sort of kite you have some are very quick, or develop a lot of power, the reviews on those kites were writen by competent kiters who had other agenda than a beginner and his problems.

Even if you are just making small steps, I would be stoked to learn a new sport at your age, totaly positive!


WA, 2894 posts
27 Feb 2015 8:35AM
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and stay away from shallow water as it creates false sense of security . The best place to be learning is deeper water so you know how to rescue yourself properly , not relying on being able to stand up .

Stick with it mate you will get it . Everyone learns at a different rate .

WA, 1246 posts
27 Feb 2015 10:17AM
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Can someone explain why the pond is not a learners spot. Too many egos to contend with?

Dave Whettingsteel
WA, 1344 posts
27 Feb 2015 10:25AM
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Geoff as everyone else says just stick at it and take more lessons if you can. Pinnaroo would be a far better learning spot than scarbs! No shorebreak for one thing. And more space. Definitely don't do self launches yet. They can go badly wrong even when you are experienced. As Chris says, self landing is ok. Just make sure plenty of space, hit the safety and watch your kite float down. I learnt 3 years ago at 52 and am loving it. Well worth hanging in there.

WA, 121 posts
27 Feb 2015 10:25AM
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Patience Geoff,

You only started in January - you will have to spend a lot more hours yet to start getting up and staying upwind unless your one of the extremely rare guys that can pick this sport up in a couple of sessions.

Like Andy T stated above - way too early to be worrying about self launches & self landings, stick at it- stay away from the river its shi%house at both melville & pt walter for beginners & crap wind also...not worth it when your starting out..
Stick to pinaroo (from the one time ive been there a lot of learners seem to kite there) & also head to Leighton (plenty of beach area & good wind & no swell hits there) City to Trigg stretch is for more advanced as it gets a little swell.

I have a couple of other mates learning this year & they seem to really like the Pond (safety bay) when they can get there ( easy for them to stay upwind there & flat water) as long as you stay away from all the advanced riders there you should be right..(WA Surf being right there is great also to offer advice & any additional gear you need)

Also - one tip from personal experience, make sure your not underpowered - if your a bigger guy - 90kg + you will find a little bigger kite will help your progress big time - especially in choppy open water.

Best of Luck and stick at it, you are going through the hardest stage & it gets heaps easier soon mate

6 posts
27 Feb 2015 11:12AM
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Yes the struggle is real. And with each misfortune, my confidence is shattered and it takes a lot of determination to go at it again. Last week was the first time i went out this season after battling with my mental demons. And i am so glad i came here to seek some encouragement and advise.

And all these pple around me make it look sooo effortless, not to mention the little kids doing this sport!!! When i have kids, i'm making them do gymnastics and kitsurfing.

My instinct is to always grab and pull the bar when i feel like i'm losing control. But a couple of times launching myself unwittingly into the air because of grabing and pulling in the bar, i've now learnt to .....just let go... it's all cool... it's all zen.

I've tried Melvile and hated it. Though its shallow, i hate the trees, the lack of beach and the road thats just next to it and the houses. I'm still a beginner struggling with kite control/launching/landing and i dont want the extra stress of thinking how things can go horrible wrong if i lose control of the kite and head towards an oncoming car.

The back of the pond at safety bay was by far, the best place to learn, even though i've only been there once. I seem to be a lot more calmer there because alot of obstacles are eliminated there. No swimmers, no children playing on the beach, no boats, no kayaks, all the advance/intermediate pple are at the pond doing tricks so i dont feel like i'm in the way, more area to crash my kite without hiting others, flat water.

We all learn at different pace. It's a struggle when i go out, but i know my limits and i like to think that's helping to preserve my life. And if i feel like the kite is flying me most of the time, rather than the other way round, I pack up. I find that, the more i push into the uncomfortable zone, the more i struggle and the more i am inclined to say in frustration... this sport is gayballs.

stick with it! If it takes me 3 more seasons to progress to the board. so be it. Because when i do, i'll be way cooler than the pple sitting on the beach.

QLD, 3669 posts
27 Feb 2015 2:59PM
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Yeah a good spot can make all the difference to confidence. Ours is about 500m of beach, with 100m front the water to the trees that block the road. Wind is usually a little cross on... water goes over chest deep about 50m out. There are rarely non-kiters on the beach.

This sport has taught me more patiemce than any thing else in my life ever

Just think - it could be worse. You could be fat.

WA, 108 posts
4 Mar 2015 11:35AM
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Hey Geoff,

Hope you keep at it, this really is an incredible sport when it all clicks.

It's soooo important to be in control and confident with the kite in order to progress. It's very impressive that your instructor has seen you do FOUR self rescues. Huge credit to him for teaching you that and massive props to you for being able to execute those! It can be quite an intimidating task, even though it's so crucial to be confident with. As others have advised, as you are able to do that, you should really be happy to spend time in the water.

I've been teaching a few friends this season and have really enjoyed it. I would be very happy to spend an hour with with you (for free) down at South Trigg at 6:30pm any wind day, my downwinder always winds up there. The beach there is great, but the water is not, so it would be practice on the beach only. I'm not 'qualified' nor am I insured, but I'd be keen to help out if you think spending time with people will get you over the line.

If you're interested, send me a message and I'll send you my mobile number.

8 posts
4 Mar 2015 1:25PM
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Hi Jo,
Thanks for the offer, I have been at Melville a couple of times and have progressed up onto my board albeit with a record run of approx 20 meters. I'm not ready for the ocean yet and prefer to stay on the quieter river waters until I iron out a few bugs. Especially the water launching, where sometimes its instantaneous and other times just a frustrating pain. No amount of U-Tube, watching other kiters and reading instructions has made the water launching a simple affair.
I'll keep your offer in mind and be in contact when I feel ready for your coaching.

Once again thanks for your offer.

129 posts
4 Mar 2015 2:33PM
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Try Leighton. Definitely not Trigg or Scabs. Lots of dumpers there.

Get off the beach and in the water, without the board. Most accidents occur on the beach.
You should not be self launching and landing at your stage. Ask someone to help with both.
We all look out for each other.

Forget about the board for now. Get in the water and just keep body dragging over and over. Get
comfortable with the kite...until you don't have to look at it. And enjoy body dragging! That is fun too.

We all went through a period of being uncomfortable with the kite. So just keep dragging in the water until you know it's you controlling the kite instead of the other way around.

You will get there. Everyone you see kiting had humps to get over. Keep at it and most of safe! No self launches or landings for now ;-)

WA, 5 posts
5 Mar 2015 12:13AM
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Hi Geoff
I am also a newbe started in jan this year with my son we are learning at mulla's there is a good crew there and it's safe people are very helpful
we also surf I'm 51 and been surfing for 40 years so I know what you mean when it's a bit daunting however small steps and do not rush it safety is paramount in this sport that's what we have been taught.
its a challenge to say the least so hats off to you for continuing your journey keep at it

WA, 770 posts
5 Mar 2015 2:57PM
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Stick with it Geof, there has been some really good advice given here. IMHO pinnas is a perfect spot to learn at, stay away from flukey winds on the river, you are safer in the ocean, and even safer where you will not hit the bottom if it all goes wrong.
Keep the progression slow and steady, the last thing you need is an injury, they can really set you back as you get older.
Good luck with it and enjoy the learning process.

WA, 14 posts
5 Mar 2015 3:52PM
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I know you've heard it before but patience really is key. I have learnt this season too and one day it'll just click. I went from not being able to stay on the board for more than 20 meters to doing sliding turns, jumps and backrolls a few weeks later. It really is worth it. I found it the most frustrating sport to learn and probably the hardest if I'm honest but it is also the most rewarding. One day it just all came together for me, I'm sure the same will happen for you. Remember to let go if you ever feel out of control or ever feel as though the kite is flying you not the other way around. It seems to be against your basic instincts but needs to be at the front of your mind.

I found that shoalwater was good to learn at and I actually also enjoyed learning at Melville though it can be gusty and dangerous. The Pond has the right conditions for a learner but is generally pretty packed and can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner. My first time there I had just entered the water for about 10 seconds and my kite at 12 o'clock when a guy crashed into me and split my canopy in half, I had only bought the kite 6 weeks ago. He came over, pretty much just said unlucky and then left. I walked to the rubbish and threw out my kite. In saying that, I have returned there multiple times and had a blast. I think I was just unlucky.

Good luck! And definitely stick with it, you won't regret it.


Forums > Kitesurfing   Western Australia

"Its a struggle" started by G28off