If you’re visiting my website, you’re probably thinking of learning kiteboarding or already in the process of doing so. You’ve seen others riding in a video or on the beach and you’re like: this is it! I’m going to sound old, but when I started, kiteboarding wasn’t a mainstream sport like it is now. Instead of doing lessons, which weren’t that widely available, I cut right to the chase: get the gear start flying!
The story of my first set starts at the age of 14: delivering the morning paper, sleeping through the first hour of school (either in class or in my bed) & scrubbing dishes on the weekends. To say that kiteboarding isn’t free is an understatement, but I was dedicated to make enough cash to buy the gear. After about a year, my 3m foil got “upgraded” by a 2nd hand Slingshot Fuel: a hardcore C-kite (just like Ruben Lenten). It came with a really old, super-sketchy Naish bar & no safety system. Still no board, but couldn’t wait to try it… so I started having some jumping/flying sessions with it instead (don’t try this at home!). A couple of months later, I found out somebody was selling a completely handcrafted kiteboard online: awesome! As it was my 15th birthday coming up again, I asked my parents for a wetsuit and voila: my first set was complete!
Good pilots make good riders
After I got my gear, it was time to go out and try it for myself. Just to be clear, going out with the gear that you see in this photo, would nowadays be considering outright dangerous. A 50 kilo boy, flying an aggressive 12 meter C-Kite on a really old, mismatched bar and no safety system. If I myself would see a kiteboarder showing up on the beach like this today, I would probably have a chat with this person… At the time, it was all I could afford and I made it work! I was literally riding in minutes, the first time I went out on the sea. This is not because I have some kind of secret learning superpower. I practiced a lot. A lot! I became a pilot, before I tried riding. This wasn’t a conscious decision at all, it was just literally working with what I had. If I could’ve afforded buying a complete set straight away, I would’ve gone straight to the beach with it! In hindsight, however, my journey taught me something really imported about learning kiteboarding: kite control is everything. Hence my motto: good pilots make good riders!