Kitesurfing. It’s a little like windsurfing, surfing and wakeboarding rolled into one, and is surprisingly easy to pick-up – especially if you choose to learn in Margaret River.
Margaret River local Simon Peters was already a keen windsurfer when he picked up the sport of kitesurfing in November 2000. After enjoying the sport for a couple of years he noticed improvements in the safety of the equipment and an increased interest in kiteboarding from both locals and travellers to the region. So, in 2002, he became a qualified IKO (International Kiteboarding Organisation) instructor and established his business Margaret River Kitesurfing and Windsurfing.
The past three years has seen Simon teach hundreds how to successfully negotiate a kitesurf and insists that the sport is easy to learn, particularly for those who’re already familiar with water sports.
“(Kitesurfing) is very similar to windsurfing,” Simon tells us. “There’s the same pull on the string, only with kitesurfing you change the position of the kite in the sky and it pulls you back into the beach. It’s also a little like wakeboarding, although when you go out to sea you put your natural foot forward and when you return you put your other foot forward. There’s no front and back to the board (like there is with a wakeboarding board). It’s a great sport for people to cross over into.”
To become comfortable on a kiteboard, Simon recommends anywhere between two to 10 lessons during which he takes students to a point there they can independently head down to the beach, launch the kite and practice on their own.
Between December and April, when the winds tend to be gentle south-westerlies, Simon teaches his students how to kitesurf either in Augusta or Prevelly (during the colder months when the winds are stronger, Simon prefers to head to Busselton and Dunsborough where the water is more protected). The first lesson always begins with a thorough safety briefing where students learn how to read wind patterns and determine if conditions are safe for kitesurfing.
A typical first lesson will also cover how to launch and land your kite, how to fly your kite in what Simon calls a “neutral position”, how to recover your kite if it falls, retrieving and landing your kite, body drags – being pulled through the water without the board, and how to “power dive”, which is how kiteboarders create power.
The pace is stepped up a couple of notches in the second lesson where students simulate water starts on the beach and learn how to surf back to shore if they travel too far out to sea. Then the real kitesurfing begins as students are finally able to get into the ocean to do try their hand at water starts on the board. From here, students have all the skills needed to be able to kiteboard, and all it takes to become a pro kiteboarder is practice.
Simon supplies all the kiteboarding equipment including wetsuits, harnesses, kites and boards, leaving students to simply pack sunscreen, a hat and sunnies. All lessons last an average of two hours and cost is $125 for the first lesson and $150 for every lesson thereafter.
For experienced kiteboarders looking to further develop their skills, Simon offers advanced lessons and has a good range of equipment available for hire to anyone with sound kiteboarding ability. For those who love the sport so much they want to buy their own kit, there’s a range of excellent gear for sale in Simon’s showroom.
The lessons are popular with both sexes and attract a wide range of ages from older primary school students through to people in their 40s and 50s, although Simon welcomes anyone who can swim. To book kiteboarding lessons or to arrange a time to visit Simon’s showroom call 0419 959 053.