All those kitesurfers who have been on the board for a few years usually already know where the conditions for this wonderful sport are good for their needs and where they are. Where the food tastes good, the mood is right and where the chance of wind is high.
Since the learning success and safety of our customers and all other kiters is important to us, we have decided to publish this article. It is aimed at those kitesurfers who have just completed a beginner’s course and are able to climb upwind and go onto the water alone. But don’t want to miss out on the amenities of a protected environment. This includes a defined take-off and landing zone with experienced helpers, an organized rescue and usually kite storage at the spot.
And there are some useful travel tips on top.
In this blog we present several areas that have proven themselves for beginners and where thousands of kiters have already taken their first steps.
So if you’ve ever wondered:
Kitesurfing spots for beginners?
Where to go after the kite course?
Kite travel destinations for beginners and intermediates?
Where is there a standing area?
Where can I find the safest possible conditions for my first kite sessions?
Here are some suggestions.
Austria / Lake Neusiedl
Lake Neusiedl is located in the very east of Austria, near the border with Slovakia and Hungary, a small part of the lake is even on Hungarian territory. The area around the lake is characterized by tourism and viticulture, Burgenland is known worldwide for the good wines that are produced in the vineyards around the lake. Hundreds of wind turbines are also present, which on the one hand make Burgenland completely energy self-sufficient and on the other hand are a sign of the abundant wind supply.
And that brings us to the topic: The wind blows here mainly in spring and autumn, driven by low-pressure areas that usually come from the North Atlantic and move across Burgenland in their path.
Before the bad weather fronts, there is the mostly constant southerly wind, during the front then mostly rain, storm and bad weather – and as soon as the front is through, the lake is aerated with wind from northerly directions. Then the kite community meets in Podersdorf, which can look back on decades of history as a hotspot for wind and kite surfing.
The Neusiedlersee has a depth of around one and a half meters over the entire area, around one meter in the shore areas, i.e. an extensive standing area. The upwind service, which all schools on the lake offer, is particularly recommended for beginners. The kitesurfer is taken a few kilometers upwind in a motorboat and can then work on his/her technique in peace.
Located near Trapani and Marsala, Lo Stagnone is one of the largest shallow water lagoons in Europe. The water is crystal clear and shallow everywhere, ideal kite conditions as far as the eye can see. The lagoon is ventilated by all wind directions, in spring and autumn by low pressure cells and in summer by thermals. The different wind directions are not an issue here, the lagoon is only connected to the open sea in the far north by a very shallow passage.
If you want to kite a little away from the kite schools or are looking for deep water, you have kilometers of space to discover your perfect “private spot” for yourself, because the lagoon is almost endless! Before going on the water, you should inquire at a school about the current legal regulations.
Best travel time: September to November and March to July
Borkum is a small sleepy island in the Wadden Sea off the Dutch coast. Arrival is by car to Eemshaven and then by ferry to Borkum. Borkum Bay offers a very large standing area and is protected from the open sea on all sides. The western part of the beach is a nature reserve and is reserved for seals and may not be accessed by kite surfers. The Borkum offshore wind farm with 70 wind turbines is evidence of stable wind conditions, the locals report almost daily wind, which often reaches storm force in autumn and winter.
Pink flamingos, campers and sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. Beauduc on the southern French Mediterranean coast is a kitesurfing El Dorado for nature lovers and adventurers.
The kite spot is located between the French metropolises of Marseille and Montpellier. The approximately 20 km long, crescent-shaped bay is the main spot for kite surfing in the Camargue. In particular, surfers who are traveling with their mobile homes and tents appreciate the remoteness of this kite spot. The bay is protected by several sandbars, so moderate conditions for kitesurfing can be found in front of them.
On a good day, the waves can pile up to two meters behind the sandbanks. There is no kite school directly at the spot, the nearest schools are on the nearby banks of the Rhone:
Months not recommended for travel: December to February
Ilha de Guajiru / Brazil
About two and a half hours north of Fortaleza is Irarema, where there is a large shallow lagoon. Wind season there is from September to December, the wind is very regular and blows around 25 knots day and night. Since the wind is cross-onshore and almost never changes direction, rescue is not an issue here. If you like rules and restrictions, you’re in the wrong place here. This is also the special charm of this beautiful lagoon, which has everything to offer in the wind season that makes a kiter’s heart beat faster. The hostels (pousadas) are right on the beach or in the second row of houses, you take off and land in front of the hotels and pousadas, regardless of whether you live there or not. People don’t take it too seriously in Brazil. The friendliness and helpfulness of the locals alone is worth a trip.
Kitesurfing is a wonderful water sport, it offers that incomparable surf feeling, usually within the first basic course. To ensure that the fun doesn’t result in “expensive fun” when getting your first kiteboard, it makes sense to know about a few tips. As long as the kitesurf beginner is in the responsibility of a kite school, the material is provided by the school in almost all cases. The kite instructor selects the suitable kite size for the student and chooses a suitable board for the respective lesson based on skill level and weight . When the kite course is over, the following questions usually arise:
Which kiteboard should I buy?
Which kiteboard after the kite course?
Which is the best kiteboard for the beginner?
There are tons of kiteboards on the market, from very cheap ones that can be bought around € 300 to kiteboards that cost around € 2,000. Here is a little help for the selection:
The size of the kiteboard
In the kite school, the kite instructors often give the students very large boards. That makes a lot of sense the first time you try to kite. The beginner usually steps onto the board with all his weight. The bigger the board, the slower it is pushed under water and the first attempts for the water start work much better.
If the student does the so called “dynamic starting”, where the kite control gradually puts the rider’s weight on the board in relation to the speed, then there is no need for such a large board. From this point onwards, such a large training board has more disadvantages than advantages. So when the kite course is over and you only rode with boards 150 cm or larger in the course, you shouldn’t make the mistake to buy such a large board for yourself and for your own use.
If the kitesurf beginner has a solid level to ride in both directions, then the kiteboard size depends a lot on the riders weight. For light riders around 50 to 65 kilos, a length around 133 cm has proven itself. Between 65 and 80 kilos you should choose a kiteboard around 135 cm and over 80 kilos a board with approx. 138 to 143 cm. Boards smaller than 133 cm don’t work very well, and boards larger than 143 cm have more disadvantages than advantages. We explained this in another blog about the right kiteboard size!
If we already know the kiteboard size, it is still difficult to find the right board of the right brand for you.
How much do we want to spend on our first kiteboard?
First you should define a budget, you want to spend on a kiteboard. If this value is over € 1,000 then you will get a board from one of the big brands that is suitable for beginners. You will get it in a good kite shop with good advice, including the necessary pads and straps. That’s around € 1,000. But that is not always necessary.
There is a handful of small brands that produce high quality boards at far lower prices and enjoy cult status. The boards made by the Dutch brand Lieuwe or the Austrian brand Woodboard, for example, can easily keep up with the big brands in terms of technology and quality and they also emit a lot of innovative impulses.
The price level varies between the different brands but actually depends a lot on how elaborately the underwater ship is shaped. The beginner can confidently get a board that is very good for his skill level with less budget. For example, channels on the tips are used to build up more pressure when jumping. Other channels hold the kite in the middle of the wind window to place the kite in an ideal position for a wakestyle trick. A beginner may not immediately be able to feel the advantages of this type of underwater ship. But with the first successes coming, an advanced underwater shape will have many advantages.
So what should be considered?
You need to like the optic
Boards printed in 4 colours are usually not as UV-resistant as kiteboards with screen printing due to the printing technology used in four-color printing. Less color is more in this case. If you don’t leave the board in the sun for hours, it shouldn’t make a big difference.
The board should have a wooden core
Boards with a foam core do not have as good resilience as kiteboards with a wood core. It feels a bit boring on the legs, like walking in mud with moon boots. The only exception are the directional kiteboards or foil boards, because they shouldn’t have flex. Therefore a foam core can be used here.
The underwater ship
The first kiteboard for your own should definitely have at least a single concave. This means that the underwater ship is shaped a bit hollow. As a result, the board does not stick to the water. It feels light-footed on the sole of the foot. We call it “loose”. Simple channels can reinforce this feeling, or enable a better low end. In any case, a kiteboard should not be flat on the bottom. Flat means without a concave or without channels in the longitudinal direction. These types of boards, without a defined underwater ship, can often be found at the lower price limit. Beginners often fall for these “cheap” offers. You can’t gloss over a board without channels or without a concave. It just doesn’t work well.
Good and proven entry-level boards
The following boards are good and proven entry-level boards with a strong brand behind them:
DUOTONE Gonzales, approx. 500 €
FLYSURFER Flow, approx. 500 €
WOODBOARD Beam approx. 420 €
DUOTONE is the undisputed global market leader, FLYSURFER is a very likeable brand from southern Germany that is famous for its highly developed foil kites and WOODBOARD.KITESURFING is known for its extraordinary kiteboards, designed and developed at Lake Neusiedl. A high resale value is guaranteed for all three brands.
The right kiteboard size is mandatory for quick improvement and fun on the water
A lot of kitesurfers have the same question every year: Which is the right size for my kiteboard? How long should it be? How wide should it be? Especially as a beginner, this decision is not that easy. Companies offer kiteboards in sizes from 130cm up to 150cm.
First of all we can say, that kiteboards smaller than 130 cm won´t work really well. The hydrodynamic effects, which lets a kiteboard glide over the water, appear at a size around 130 -135cm. Also the upper side of a kiteboard has a limit. The longer the kiteboard, the flatter it sits on the water surface. This flat angle to the surface results in lower uplift force. The biggest kiteboard size turns out to be at around 150cm. Longer kiteboards, again, have bad hydrodynamic effects.
The width of a kiteboard should be in relation to the length. The factor between length and width should be 3,3 to 1. Other proportions cause disadvantages in hydrodynamics and feelings.
Out of this statements, we get a relation between the rider´s weight and the kiteboard size. This relations is shown in the following chart.
If you use a smaller kiteboard than recommended in the chart, you will feel, that the kiteboard sits deeper in the water. Therefore, it gets a higher angle to the water surface. This will result in a slower ride, lower upwind abilities, less efficiency on the low end and more spray.
If you use a bigger kiteboard than recommended in the chart, you will feel that the kiteboard sits higher on the water surface and get a lower angle. You will feel less in control of the board and feel more impacts of the chop. Also the spray will increase.
Kiteboards should always be built with a wood core. A wood core represents quality and delivers fun and a long life span. Usually, manufacturers like to show the wood core by integrating it in the design process.
Be aware of foamed cores! New Kiteboards in the shop for less than 300€ will usually be foamed. The foam gets injected between the outside layers. Foamed kiteboards don´t have a lot of pop and deliver a very indirect feeling. We cannot recommend these kiteboards. Not even for beginners or kiteschools. Wood cores get pressed with high pressure and heat, ensuring a long life span. Furthermore, the wood gives a good feedback to the rider. This means more pop and less vibrations.
For beginners and upcoming riders there are specific kiteboards. Basic Freeride kiteboards are suitable. The bottom should have a concave or a concave with channels. Channels are profiles on the running base. Quite simplified we can say: The higher the riders level – the more channels his kiteboard should have.
Kiteboards with a flat running base should be avoided. They get stuck on the water surface very easy, which results in slow and indirect ride. The low end of the kiteboard is not efficient and riding gets exhausting. Similar to a snowboard without wax.
Field of application
Despite the rider´s weight, also the field of application and the style plays a big role in choosing the right kiteboard size. Kiteboards for teaching and beginners are usually a little bit bigger, around 150 cm. Getting on the board is a bit easier, as the bigger surface delivers more stability. As soon as you are able to do the water start it makes sense to choose your kiteboard as shown in the chart.
Good for Beginners is the Woodboard Beam, available in size 135, 138, 143 cm. The Beam is a proved and tested Beginner Kiteboard with a wood core and a single concave on the running base. The Beam has a good low end and low resistant. This delivers a loose feeling while riding. It will beam your progress. As soon as you are able to do you first jumps around 3m, it´s time to switch to an advanced freeride kiteboard.
That´s the point where you should think about the Chame or CRBN. These two kiteboards have the same shape, but get a complete different feeling by using different materials. The CRBN has integrated carbon fibres, while the chame is equipped with a triaxial glass fibre. The CRBN feels much stiffer, delivering a very direct feeling. The chame is a bit softer. Still direct, but more relaxed. One of these kiteboards would be the right choise, if you are looking for an advanced freeride kiteboard. Once your jumps get higher than 10m and you are really enjoying the strong winds, you should get yourself a dedicated big air kiteboard. Unbeatable in this category is the Woodboard Basalt BIG AIR
For riders who want to evolve in the freestyle category, specific freestyle kiteboards and kites are necessary. C-kites and open C-kites are very suitable to unhook. There are special freestyle kiteboards, which are nice to combine with these kites. The freestyle kiteboards have a strong rocker and usually a double concave to take care for soft landings. Plenty of channels in the tips deliver good grip, while taking off unhooked.
The Woodboard Trash fulfils these needs and is a well-tested freestyle kiteboard. Since couple of years there is a trend to ride bigger freestyle kiteboards. That’s why we came up with a bigger size of the Trash. Now available in 143 cm.
Summarized, these are the criteria to choose your kiteboard. In the following order:
Level of riding
Of course the price also plays a big role, but that’s something you will have to choose by your own. But it should be noted, that a kiteboard can be used several years. While a kite usually gets changed within 3 years. A kiteboard with wood core can be ridden for 5-6 years. Kiteboards with foam core about 1 year.
So, concentrate on kiteboards with wood core and a good value for your money. Kiteboards from Woodboard proofed good quality for a fair price.
Last factor is the design. This might be the biggest factor for some kiters. A manufacturer can choose between a sublimated graphic and a screen printing. Sublimated graphics get printed in 4C, which offer the opportunity to use a lot of different colours. The problem is, that the UV rays from the sun cause optical whitening of the graphic. The colours start to fade away after many hours in the sun. The screen printing graphics usually just use a few colours, but these colours stay much longer on the kiteboard. Screen printing is UV resistant.
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