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Kiteboarding 101

Kiteboarding FAQ


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. 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 travel to come learn with us and our reviews tell the story.

Interested in more? Read The Next Level Guarantee that we promise to to each of our clients. Traveling elsewhere or considering another school? Read our article What to Look For in a Kiteboarding School to know the right questions to ask when you sign up for your next lesson!


Eligible students range from young kids (minimum weight is 70lbs, age is not a factor) to people in their 70s. It does not require significant strength – males, females, and kids can do it. The advances in safety features the last six years and transformed the sport and made it safe to teach and partake in. Kiteboarding is truly a lifetime sport. Once you have learned the basics, it is very efficient on the body and you can easily travel with the gear.


Kiteboarders range from young kids 12 years old to people in their 70s.


Minimum weight is 70lbs, age is not a factor.


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 safest place to do this is standing in that waist deep, shallow water. If you fall or get dragged, you simply fall in the water. Other schools will teach on the beach or in the sand, but we highly advise to not partake in this behavior.


This is inherently a tough question because the pace at which you learn depends on your background of skills. The process of learning to kiteboard involves:

  • Learning about the equipment and safety
  • How to fly the kite and developing muscle memory
  • Adding in the board
  • Developing skills to become self-sufficient
  • Practice & repetition

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. Important to note though, 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 because the pull comes more vertical.  

 


This will vary with skill level and prior experience. Our goal in teaching the sport is to provide top of the line instruction and help develop the necessary skills for our clients to become self sufficient. This can take anywhere from 3-5 lessons. 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 minimum three-hour blocks throughout each day and are weather dependent.


We encourage you to read our article The Truth About the "Group" Lesson.


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


We are different. And each lesson get's our NLW Guarantee.


Kiting does not require significant strength – it's a sport available to everyone. You wear a harness and the power of the kite is transferred through 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.


Consistent wind, waist deep water, boat support, high quality gear, veteran coaches. These and more of the quintessential ingredients to the best learning conditions can be found here.


The International Kiteboarding Organizations seeks to help schools and individual instructors 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 allowed them 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, training and fostering the best staff, and developing our proprietary platform that we stand behind as the best. Safety is our number one concern!


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 one, no worries! Please tell your instructor when they reach out prior to your lesson that you’d like to borrow one.
  • A bag or backpack to keep your valuables in

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to being comfortable while being in the water. The difference between kiting and a sport like diving or surfing is that, with kiting, you will transition from being in the water completely to time out of the water, riding above it. When you are 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 a session in. There are neoprene tops, shorty stuits, and full suits.

  • Neoprene top - Typically 2mm thick
  • Shorty suit - Typically 2mm thick
  • Full suit - You can get many different thicknesses of full suits. The first number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the chest areas and the second number dictates the thickness of the neoprene in the legs and arms. So a 4/3 means 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 used 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 one for you 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 that the board can be ridden in both directions and that 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 is one that can only be rode in one direction. This means that it is 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 that has been 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 us about it 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!