Living in Northern Canada, the winter is long and cold. We usually disappear for a few weeks to go whitewater kayaking to help break things up. This year we thought we would try something new and we headed off to La Ventana, Mexico to learn to kite board.
We have friends that do it and they said that whitewater kayakers make good kite boarders because they are already used to getting “beatered” in the water. That wasn’t enough to scare us off, so we watched a few youtube videos and figured that it can’t be that hard to do!
La Ventana is a very small coastal town south of La Paz on the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula. It is recognized as a fabulous location to learn to kite board due to the predictable thermal winds, relatively calm tides and the fact that the winds are mostly onshore, which means that you won’t get blown out to the ocean if you make a mistake. The beaches are also fairly wide with lots of room to learn to fly the kids on the sand before committing to getting dragged around the ocean.
We based ourselves out of Captain Kirks (http://www.captainkirks.com/resort/resort.html), which is located right on the water and has great accommodation and instruction options. The beginner package is 9 hours, split up over 3 days, and walks you through everything you need to know to get started. It also includes all of the equipment that you will need, including wetsuits.
Being Canadian and used to colder water, we showed up with all of our fabulous Level Six water gear - long sleeved rash guards and Neoprene shorts. They were perfect to keep the sun, sand and wind effects down and the neoprene lined shorts made it super comfy to sit on the sand while learning to fly the kites.
The first 3 hours is spent learning about the gear, safety and how to fly a trainer kite, which gives you a taste of the power of the wind.
The second 3 hours steps you up into the full sized kites, you learn how to self-rescue in case of any equipment breakage when out in the water and really get comfortable launching the kite and flying it in all sorts of different positions. One of the hardest things is parking the kite straight above you at “noon” - this is basically putting it in neutral where the wind is not driving you in any specific direction. We ended our second lesson doing body dragging with the kite in the ocean, learning how to go upwind and downwind and basically go where you want with the kite.
The third 3 hours puts everything together and you now incorporate the kite board into the equation. You learn how to “surf” just holding the board under your body to get leverage. Once you are comfortable with that, you then work on parking the kite at noon, getting the board on your feet (with one hand still on the kite), staying neutral and stable and then powering up the kite to get enough wind to pull you out of the water. You are looking to generate enough wind power to be similar to when a boat pulls a wakeboarder out of the water (at approx 15-20km/hr). This is all great in concept but super challenging in reality. It involves a lot of crashes - some small and some spectacular - think front edge crashes on a snowboard while being pulled forward at the waist at 15km/hr…
Overall it was a fun experience and one we would recommend. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, trick or sport. It’s even more fun to do it in great gear - thanks Level Six for making awesome water sports clothing!
The Vincent Family