Kiteboarding FAQ

Kiteboarding FAQ


We are different. And each lesson gets our NLW Guarantee. We started Next Level Watersports out of a love for teaching kiteboarding and a realization that there is a shortage of top-notch coaching in the market. When you learn to kite, you shouldn’t be grouped with a crowd of students, you shouldn’t be left alone in the water, and you shouldn’t be getting slammed by waves. Rather, you should have a coach, in a boat, by your side at all times ensuring you are in control, feel comfortable, and who paces you appropriately while you learn in flat water. That is why people come from all over to be taught by NLW coaches and our reviews tell the story.


This is our number one priority. Kiting has evolved into a very safe sport when observing the refined safety systems that give you the ability to depower and quickly detach from a kite. We teach and re-teach how to use these systems and other fundamentals until all becomes second nature. Safety is at the core of becoming a true kiteboarder.


Kiting does not require significant strength, as the load of the kite is on your harness, not on your hands. Gender nor age plays a factor in who is able to kite. Our students range from young kids to those in their 70s. The advances in safety features over the last six years have transformed the sport, making it safe to teach and partake in for the whole family. Kiteboarding is truly a sport that can last you a lifetime. Please note that while kiting does not require significant strength, we do require students to weigh at least 70 pounds.


Kiteboarders come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Typically, our students run from 12-year-old kids to people in their 70s, but there are no age restrictions. We do require our students to weigh a minimum of 70 pounds to partake in the sport.


Waist deep, shallow water. It’s the key component to reducing the learning curve and practicing the sport in a safe environment. Why? Step one of learning to kiteboard involves learning to fly the kite, the controls, and developing muscle memory. The best place to do this is standing in that waist deep, shallow water. That way, if you fall or get dragged, you simply land in the water. Other schools will teach on the beach or in the sand, but we highly advise against this type of schooling.

We also believe high quality gear and veteran coaches are pertinent to the best conditions. You can find the quintessential ingredients to the best learning conditions can be found here.


This is inherently a tough question because the pace at which you learn depends on your background of skills. While everyone has a unique learning curve, a kite tends to be intuitive to fly and comes naturally to most. Learning to fly a kite effectively generally occurs by the end of one lesson, and you can expect to be riding a board with one to two lessons. The process of learning to kiteboard involves:

  • Learning about equipment and safety
  • How to fly the kite and developing muscle memory
  • Adding in the board
  • Developing skills to become self-sufficient
  • Practicing & repeating
Clients that have wakeboarded before are likely to pick it up a little quicker. It’s like two sports in one: flying the kite and riding the board. When teaching it, we isolate each water activity and then combine them together. But don't forget, we can teach anyone! Board skills are not required and riding a board with a kite is actually a bit easier than behind a boat. That's because the pull from a tow rope behind a boat is parallel to the water, and since the pull from a kite is at roughly 45 degrees to the water, it assists in getting you up out of the water onto your feet and makes you lighter on the water as you ride. It is one of the magical parts of kiteboarding.  

 


This will vary with skill level and prior experience. Our goal while teaching the sport is to provide top of the line instruction and help develop these necessary skills for our clients to become self-sufficient. This can take anywhere from 3-5 lessons (but sometimes can be more and sometimes can be less). Some clients also continue to work with or staff for years after!


Please refer to our Kiteboarding on Nantucket guide for detailed information on this.


Please refer to our Kiteboarding in Stuart guide for detailed information on this.


We are available to teach seven days a week from May through October. Our lessons are booked in three-hour blocks throughout each day and are weather dependent.


You typically need at least 12mph to fly a kite and get riding!


Kiting does not require significant strength – it's a sport available to people of all shapes and sizes. You wear a harness and the power of the kite is transferred to your lower body. For people with bad backs, we have a special harness called ‘seat harnesses’ that transfers power lower towards the hips which can reduce strain on the lower back.


The International Kiteboarding Organization seeks to help schools and individual instructors create a program to teach kiteboarding and provide insurance while doing so. Next Level Watersports has gone a step above this and developed a robust business plan and instruction program which allows us to acquire a private insurance with higher levels of protection than the IKO. NLW has developed the best way to teach kiting in an incremental and safe manner, to train and foster the best staff, and to continue to evolve our proprietary platform that we proudly stand behind.


We know -- the upfront costs of learning to kite can be intimidating. That being said, we view it as an investment that pays dividends over time. Unlike buying lift tickets at your ski mountain, wind is free and water is free. Once you make the leap, you can go ride free for the rest of your life and the price tag becomes much more approachable.

Our pricing varies by lesson type, duration, and season. Please find our most current pricing here.


We will have your equipment for you, but suggest bringing:

  • Water
  • Snack (i.e. Granola Bar, Apple)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Appropriate waterwear for the day if you have it (i.e. sunshirt, wetsuit, wetsuit top) If you don't have it, no worries! Please tell your instructor when they reach out prior to your lesson that you’d like to borrow one
  • Bag or backpack to keep your valuables in

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to being comfortable while in the water. The difference between kiting and a sport like diving or surfing is, with kiting, you go back and forth from being completely in the water to having time out of the water, riding above it. When out of the water, the wind may hit you and chill you down. With diving and surfing, you spend most of the time in the water. If you are taking a lesson, we suggest that you wear a thicker suit. It's always better to be warm when you are learning something new. The second you get cold, it can hinder your focus and physical ability, decreasing your progress. So, when in doubt, go thicker! Check out the table below for our suggestions on the time of the year and what wetsuit you should wear for kiting based on our locations.


There is an array of neoprene material available designed to keep you warm while getting in a session. There are neoprene tops, shorty suits, and full suits.

  • Neoprene Top - Typically 2mm thick
  • Shorty Suit - Typically 2mm thick
  • Full Suit - These come in many different thicknesses. The first number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the chest areas, while the second number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the legs and arms. So, a 4/3 signifies that the suit has 4mm thick neoprene in the chest and 3mm thick neoprene in that arms and legs. Typical suits are 3/2, 4/3 and 5/4.
  • Neoprene Jacket - If you are getting into the sport, we also suggest getting a neoprene jacket. This is without a doubt one of the most used pieces of neoprene by our staff. It can be worn while rigging, as an extra layer while riding, and is the perfect tool to warm you back up at the end of a long day or session on the water!

Below are our recommendations for what suit to wear in our locations based on the time of year. Remember, it is always easier to flush a suit and cool off than it is to get warm, and we highly suggest erring on the side of warmth to get the most out of your lesson. If you don't have a wetsuit, just let us know and our staff will bring you one to use during your lesson.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

  • May - 4/3 Full Suit
  • June - 3/2 Full Suit
  • July - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • August - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • September - 3/2 Full Suit
  • October - 4/3 Full Suit

Stuart, Florida

  • November - 3/2 Full Suit
  • December - 3/2 Full Suit
  • January - 3/2 Full Suit
  • February - 3/2 Full suit
  • March - Shorty or Wetsuit Top
  • April - Shorty or Wetsuit top

Kiteboarding is technically defined by riding a board that is called a twin tip. This means the board can be ridden in both directions, and the tip and the tail are exactly the same. Both ends are symmetrical. This is the type of board that most people learn on.

Kitesurfing is when you ride a directional board. A directional board can only be riding in one direction. This makes it necessary to tack or gybe the board to transition and ride the other way.


What's the wing?

  • The wing thing is a new sport evolving very quickly. There are two components: the wing and a hydrofoil. The wing generates power to pull the rider on a hydrofoil board. It is shaped like a spade and has similar DNA to a kite with inflatable struts, with Daron material in between, to provide stability. The big difference is that no lines are used with the wing set up. You simply hold on to the wing via hand loops and steer it in a similar manner to a windsurfer. The wing is similar to a kite in how it can generate power and pull you through the water. Combine this with a hydrofoil and you can be speeding across the top of the water effortlessly.

What intrigues the NLW team about the wing the most?

  • We love the ability to ride a foil out into the wave, ditch power from the wing, and then use the power of the wave to ride in. Unlike when you are using a kite, you don't have to worry about lines slacking or the kite falling out of the sky. You can let the wing float behind you as you ride down the wave and then pull out, power back up, and ride upwind to catch the next swell!

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