Learning to kite landboard starts with becoming skilful with a kite. This could be an entry-level fixed bridle power kite with a wrist leash safety or a de-powerable kite used with harness and leash. The moment you’ve gained some basic control of even a small power kite, you can apply those skills to riding a landboard.
If you’re already a kitesurfer, you might want to downsize to a power kite or a smaller foil kite to grasp the basics controls of the kite on the hard ground.
A few pointers never hurt, so it’s good to take a lesson and get some tips from a qualified instructor. It’ll help speed the learning process. From a qualified instructor and kite school, you can expect to get riding within a couple of hours following a lesson structure like this.
WHERE TO KITE LANDBOARD
To Kite Landboard safely, you need to find an area that is open and has a clean wind flowing. This big, open space should have no trees or people nearby that will act as obstacles. The ideal location of kite landboarding is a vast sandy beach with a hard sand or an open field.
When you start learning to landboard, you will learn to ride downwind before progressing to upwind riding. Therefore you need to make sure that the area is free of obstacles as you ride downwind, and there is no large buildings or trees upwind that could distort the wind flow.
Remember always to check your spot is safe to kite.
- Surface – Is the terrain suitable for landboarding? Hard sand is a great surface to landboard on.
- Hazards – Are you in a big open space away from downwind hazards?
- Other People – Are you on a quiet beach or field? Give other beach users space and keep them safe.
- Environment – How windy is it? How does the tide affect you? Are you using the correct equipment?
HOW TO FLY A TRAINER KITE
Before flying, become familiar with the kite controls. If you never flew a trainer kite, refresh your knowledge by reading this article and watch the below video tutorial by Kitesurf College introduces basic 2 line power kite flying and the wind window.
For your first attempts, practice in low wind speeds. Do not exceed the manufacturer recommended wind speeds for your kite.
- Start in an open space away from hazards. Attach your wrist safety leash before flying a kite.
- With your back to the wind, pick up the bar and step backwards. The kite will catch the wind and fly upwards. Keep your bar straight, no steering to left or right, and the kite will fly overhead.
- Steer left and right starting with small movements and progressively increase as you gain confidence with control. Keeping the kite high will produce less power. Steering the kite low will increase power.
- Aim for symmetry in kite movement. Imagine the upper half of a clock face in front of you and steer the kite in a figure of 8 (infinity) movement between 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock. This will produce power downwind.
- To move right, move the kite between 12 O’clock and 2 O’clock, down and up repeatedly as if drawing a wave.
- To move left, move the kite between 12 O’clock and 10 O’clock, down and up repeatedly as if drawing a wave.
- Larger movements down and up will produce more power; smaller movements generate less power.
- Practice keeping the kite still at 10, 11, 12, 1 and 2 O’Clock. When you can keep the kite still with 1 hand, you can then pick up a kite landboard.
- Remember, if you lose control, let go of the bar to activate your safety system.
BASICS OF KITE LANDBOARDING
Only introduce the landboard once you are confident with your power kite control. Practice your balance on the board with your kite at 12 O’clock and make sure that you can easily jump out of your footstraps if needed.
- To start rolling, point the board downwind slightly so that you are not resisting against the kite.
- Dive the kite up and down (12 to 2 or 12 to 10) to generate power for movement.
- Keep your knees bent, and weight spread between your toes and heels as you start to roll. Your weight will also be even between your front and back foot.
- As you gain speed, lean into your heels to control speed.
- If you lose too much speed, press into the toes of your front foot to go downwind again.
- To stop, lean into your heels and move the kite to 12 O’clock.
- If you lose control, let go of the bar to activate your safety system and jump off the board.
KITE LANDBOARDING GEAR
Landboards (AKA Mountainboards) are derived from skateboards. They differ from skateboards by being a stronger construction board and by using bindings, larger trucks and all terrain wheels. Many Landboards are made of wood, though you can also get performance boards made of carbon.
There are 2 types of Trucks on landboards; “Skate” trucks, or Channel trucks. Skate trucks, as the name suggests are similar to skateboard trucks; they differ by being more robust with wider axles. Channel trucks are a suspension truck with springs and dampers to help stabilise the board at higher speeds. As they have more components, they are heavier than skate trucks.
Landboard Wheels are typically 8″ or 9″ in diameter with a heavy tread for lots of grip so that you keep traction on sand and grass. Wheels are made up of a rubber tyre, inner tube and a hub to mount the tyre and inner tube to.
The final part of your landboard, is the Bindings. These allow you to keep your feet on the board easier and keep the board attached to you for jumps. Entry bindings are typically are velcro foot strap but you can upgrade to ratchet bindings if you prefer.
For the land-based activities, we naturally need a smaller amount of power as there is no resistance from the water as in kiteboarding, so much smaller kite sizes should be used.
We recommend starting with a small power kite (2-3m even in the light winds), so you have time to learn the control of the landboard before you head for the longer runs.
Once you have good control with fixed bridle power kites, take a lesson with an instructor and learn how to fly a de-powerable foil kite to take your kite landboarding to the next level. Remember, de-powerable kites have more sophisticated control and generate more power, therefore can be more dangerous. There are more things that you need to learn, like 3-step safety systems and setup of the kite, and emergency pack down that you may need to use in case something happens. So please consider at least a few hours lesson with the instructor before you head out.
This great guide from Kitemare will help you choose the best trainer kite for Kite Landboarding.
If you are using a de-powerable kite you will have to choose a harness to connect your self with the kite, that means you can slowly increase your power and even play around with a jump or two!
There are two types of harnesses used in the kitesports industry, waist and seat.
Waist harness – most commonly used in water disciplines, waist harness (as the name suggest) wraps around your waist, therefore allowing more freedom and higher harness hook point. This type of harness can be used in land-based activities, but you might find that it slides up your body and rotates too easily, as the harness is specifically created to stick to the neoprene material when wet.
Seat harness – similar to a climbing harness or a ‘trapeze’ (translated from other languages) is essentially a waist harness with a leg strap. They come in many different forms from a hybrid between the two harness types to solid seat harness or for lighter versions just a leg staps with a hook.
For landkiting, we suggest starting with a seat harness; you will find it easier to control your kite and your balance on the board. If you are also planning to explore the water based activities then hybrid harnesses are a very good choice.
If you are still unsure what is a better option for you, read this in-depth article from Red Shark Fuerteventura Kite school.
To Kite Landboard, you need to have good balance and protective gear in case you fall on hard ground. This is a common part of learning to landkite so gear up!
To protect yourself fully we recommend a helmet, knee and elbow pads and a good pair of sturdy boots or trainers that can protect your ankles. Additionally, some tough clothes that can take a beating and getting dirty will help a lot.
If you are not so keen on falling, have an injury, or would like to experience the thrill of the speed, then we would recommend considering kite buggying.
Get out there, stay safe for yourself and others, and have fun!