Beginner Mistakes in Kitesurfing

Kite Mistakes Determining the Wind Direction

Kiki Höglinger
 min read
July 25, 2023

Kite Mistakes

As requested by many of you, in this blog post, we will takea closer look at some typical kite mistakes that we observe on the beach as instructors. I will present this from the perspective of a kitesurfer starting and experiencing their kite session at our beach in Hamata.


Mistake: Determining the Wind Direction

The first challenges arise with determining the winddirection. It's understandable that this isn't easy at the beginning, but it's crucial for every further step. Always start by checking the flags or observingother kiters to know how to align yourself. After determining the winddirection, here's a useful rule of thumb: as a kiter, always position yourself with your back to the wind; this way, you've already done a lot correctly.


Mistake: Underinflating the Kite

Another common issue we frequently observe is that the kite is not inflated firmly enough. We all know the feeling – you're super motivated, the wind is blowing, and you just want to get out on the water to have some fun. But that fun is cut short when the kite is not adequately inflated. Especially for beginners, when the kite falls into the water often and requires relaunching, it becomes quite a hassle if the kite behaves oddly in the water, collapses, and becomes challenging to relaunch. Even as an experienced kiter, when you want to jump and go high, but the kite can't generate enough power due to lack of stability, it can be frustrating. You can save yourself from all this trouble by ensuring that the kite is fully inflated.


Mistake: Incorrect Kite Launch

Regarding launching the kite on land:

At our beach, we have our super motivated and helpful beachboys who are always there when you need them. They assist you in positioning the kite for launch and double-checking the lines. This is crucial because, here too, we often see kiters who have no idea about the correct launchposition. It goes back to the issue mentioned in Problem 1: Where is the windcoming from, or where is my wind window edge?

So, position yourself at approximately 90° to the wind until the kite stops flapping, then make a final fine adjustment, and off you go.

Mistake: Quick Release Loop detaching and the Kite falling from the Sky

Another frequent problem that occurs after launching the kite is the quick release loop detaching, and the kite falling back into the water. Why does this happen?

Our observation:

You attach yourself to the safety leash, chicken loop, and chickenstick while still on the beach, and then head to the water. During this process, some kiters tend to overlook the chicken loop and fail to do a double-check. Sometimes, as you walk towards the water, the chicken loop may rotate and only be partially hooked. Once tension and pull are applied to the lines, the chicken loop releases, causing the lines to go slack, and the kite simply falls back from the sky.


Attach the chicken loop and chicken stick in the water orperform an extra double-check before you start.

Now you've overcome all the challenges on land and are finally ready to hit the water.

Mistake: Water Depth and Board Positioning during Waterstart

Mistake number 1:

Attempting a water start in shallow water is not advisable, as it can lead to quite severe injuries. Always go into the water at leastknee-deep before starting.

Mistake number 2:

Board positioning.

Ensure that your board is either parallel to the fronttube or at a 90° angle to the wind (halway downwind) before starting. Many beginners face difficulties in starting because their board is pointing too far upwind, preventing them from moving away, regardless of how much power they try to generate with the kite.

Finally, you've done it! You're fully cruising and enjoyingyour kite session, but then you notice that you're getting closer and closer tothe obstacle downwind, losing height instead of gaining it. 

Mistake: Riding too Close to the Wind in Light Wind Conditions

It's essential to shift your body weight on to the board and distribute it evenly between both feet. When there's very little wind, I even shift my weight more on to the front foot. Also, it's crucial to move the kite vigorously up and down, flying strong sinusoidal curves. When lifting the kite, remember to push the bar forward to avoid constant backstalling. Backstall refers to when you pull the bar towards you for too long, causing the kite to lose airflow and, consequently, fall from the sky. Unfortunately, we often observe this during water starts.

A final small tip:

Even if it's hard to believe, using a board that is 3cmlonger can make a big difference. So, during your next light wind session, grab a larger board, and you'll have more fun for a longer time.

We wish you a lot of fun on the water.