Safety/Lessons/Basic Info

Take some lessons first! Lessons are not optional!                                                                  

So you want to lean to Kitesurf? ...Have you seen the video of the guy getting lofted during Hurricane IkeMany of the launch sites around New Orleans are really sketchy.  Beginners must practice (after lessons) in Mississippi at a site like Henderson Point, Waveland, or anywhere along a beach where there is plenty of open space to land downwind.  Port Fourchon would also work for learning some basics, but it can be lonely down there.  However, before you even think of starting, make sure that you take lessons; preferably from a certified instructor.  Would you jump out of a plane, strap on a hang glider, or go paragliding without lessons?  Don't even think of buying some stuff off Ebay and trying to teach yourself. Buying off Ebay, there is a good chance you will end up with equipment that is to small or too big for the local conditions, or with equipment with old or dangerous safety releases. Kite gear is evolving rapidly. Some older gear works well, some is junk compared to the newer designs.

Kiteboarding is not a hard sport to learn, but it takes some commitment.  If you are interested in lessons there are several possibilities:

Tell them you were referred by Cat5Kiteboarding.

Miss Coast                            Lake Pontchartrain:

Good place to learn                                Hard Place to learn

Lessons help you learn without killing yourself, also you will learn to kite much faster.  90% of the lessons are learning the characteristics of the kites, power, stalling, etc. Lots of time is spent on safety. 

Advantages of Lessons:

  1. You can always tell the guy that tried to learn by himself. He has a new kite that's all patched up.
  2. You learn (and possibly crash) on borrowed kites.
  3. You will get going much faster. The instructor should have the correct equipment for the conditions that day.
  4. Safety. These kites are powerful and can be dangerous (for real).
  5. The board/kite you may be learning with is not a board/kite you will want to own. 
  6.  You will learn more about what equipment is out there and what are the correct gear size for  your size and weight.
  7.  Lessons are all about safety.

Weather is essential. Pay attention to the forecast and the current conditions. The Gulf Coast is known for its rapidly developing thunderstorms. Thunderstorms do not mix with kiting. Even clouds that seem to be distant create local static electricity. There is no reason to duplicate the Ben Franklin experiments. Land the kite immediately if static is building up on the lines. Major updrafts are associated with thunderstorms (especially in this area) which may lead to lofting a little longer and higher than is still enjoyable. Also, as a cold front comes through, the wind will switch direction within a few minutes. You may be headed offshore in conditions that very quickly deteriorate.

Cat 5 Riding Rules. 

With more new riders showing up, we decided to post some basic riding rules:

  1. If you are in the process of learning we want you to come ride with us. Its safer to learn with other kiters around. However, you may want to set up down the beach a couple of hundred yards so you can crash and burn in peace.
  2. Help other kiters. Help launch and land each other (know the signals). Look out for each other on the water. Tell someone if they are doing something dangerous (in a friendly way).
  3. Starboard tack is supposed to have the right of way. However, the best rule is: When in doubt, yield to the other riders.
  4. When two riders converge, the upwind kiteboarder must fly their kite high and the downwind rider must fly their kite low.
  5. When riding in the same direction, the rider in back needs to keep clear. Usually, the rider in front is not looking behind and may turn suddenly.
  6. A rider pinned into an obstruction or closer into the beach needs to be given space to maneuver and has the right of way.
  7. When two kiteboarders converge on the same tack, the rider most upwind must give way to the downwind rider.
  8. Always give right of way to anyone within a 200' safety zone downwind of you.
  9. Learn how to self launch and land (without screw anchors).
  10. Learn how to recover your board without a board leash.
  11. Stay well away from swimmers and beach tourists. We do not have the pressure of too many kiters here, but an accident with a swimmer will get our launch sites shut down. Give yourself enough room to crash and burn in peace. (besides, no one wants to see your stupid tricks).

Lessons are good...No lessons can be very bad. 

Category 5 Kiteboarding