Got kids? Start 'em young. Start 'em now!
Here’s Part One of a series we’re running over the next few weeks about getting your kids started in the sport of kiteboarding. Read on to learn about trainer kites, kid specific gear and how to maximise the benefit of taking lessons with kids.
Kids and Kiteboarding – Part one: Trainer Kites!
While Winter sucks for kiteboarding in most spots around the world, it’s perfect for flying land based kites in your local park; and that’s how every young kiteboarder cuts their teeth (and their knees) before hitting the water. Trainer kites are small kites between 1.5 and 3m, usually of a parafoil design. They don’t have any bladders or valves, just fabric and some lines attached to a bar. Because of that, they’re cheap; and they’ll withstand the abuse of two or three children!
Flying them is easy. Mastering them takes time; so starting in winter gives both you and the kids time to get REALLY good at flying, landing, launching and re-launching the kite. It also gives you time to experience a broad range of wind conditions, from the days where there’s not enough wind for it to fly, to the afternoons spent in the pouring rain and howling wind, sliding across the grass. If they truly love kiteboarding, they will spend all winter with that kite in the air, and you’ll know you won’t waste your money in Summer on some real gear.
So what do you look for in a trainer kite? Here’s three things a trainer kite MUST have.
1: A bar.A trainer kite must of course have a control bar for steering. Two separate handles belong on stunt kites and toys. Steering with a control bar isn’t as intuitive as one might think, so getting lots and lots of practice is vital to a quick learning process down the track.
2: Three lines.Trainer kites with only 2 lines cannot be relaunched properly, and their safety systems; well, lets just say they're not so safe. Kids will get bored if they're walking up to untangle and relaunch a kite all the time, and that's exactly what they'll have to do if you go down the 2 line road. They might cost less, but there is a reason why! Three line Trainer Kites are the ultimate, that third, middle line, makes relaunching simple and the safety system works like a big kiteboarding kite, just let go of the bar, which ultimately could prevent serious injury or worse. Spending a bit extra will be worth all the smiles and the continued attention that your kids give to their Trainer Kite, which are actually really great fun to fly, especially for the smaller folks.
3: A good design.Head in to your local kite shop and talk to the staff. They’ll recommend a trainer kite that’s been built for the purpose, in most cases by a kiteboarding company. These kites are designed to fly just like the big ones, without the danger of breaking when you crash them.
Check back soon for Part Two in the Kids and Kiteboarding series: What gear to buy, where we explain the difference between a 5m kite and a 5m kite. There’s more than you might think!
New Foilboarding Category in the Buy & Sell
Foil kits complete, componets, support for Wind Wings and more.