If you’ve ever strolled along Nai Yang Beach between the months of May and October, chances are that you’ve seen people some distance out at sea flying through the air performing all sorts of acrobatic and hair-raising stunts on kitesurfing boards. The same applies for Chalong Bay from November to April. These are the folks from Kite School Phuket – the place to go to if you’re keen on learning this energetic and exhilarating sport.
Kitesurfing combines aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding and even gymnastics into one extreme sport but it doesn’t come natural; you’re going to have to learn how to do this and basic skills include kite launching, flying, landing, usage of the bar, lines and safety devices.
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Your first class consists of an orientation ‘discovery’ lesson to determine if you actually want to go through with this and will generally last about three hours. You’ll learn to handle the kite through a handle bar hooked into a harness. No board is involved in this class. The second class consists of safety drills such as what to do if a line breaks. In this class you’ll continue to learn to handle the kite in a fixed position. By the third class you’ll be getting the feel of the board.
Many kitesurfing students agree that learning this sport is a whole lot easier than windsurfing and in fact kitesurfing is 80% kite flying skills and 20% board skills. There are several learning options and the great thing is that classes can be tailored and altered according to needs and wants from one-hour one-on-one classes to three-hour group learning. You can choose between Thai or foreign instructors and Kite School is able to teach in several languages.
With friendly instructors, classes are relaxed, humorous affairs with a lot of ‘fun factor’ involved – this is Thailand, after all. Once you have successfully completed the course you will receive an IKO certificate/license – the kitesurfer’s equivalent of a PADI diving certificate. You can’t Kitesurf every day due to tide and weather fluctuations but as soon as wind speeds rise to 10 knots and above you’ll be in business.
Basic safety equipment consists of a helmet, lifejacket, and surf boots. It should be noted that all equipment for classes is supplied except the boots as these are sometimes subject to contagious and hard-to-get-rid-of fungi. A pair will cost around 1,300 baht. The price of lessons also includes full insurance.
You should definitely take along sunglasses because you’re going to be looking up an awful lot and if you don’t have any Kite School sells strap-on floatable versions. Apply plenty of water-resistant sunscreen.
Kite School Phuket
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00 (flexible hours for classes)
- Location: May 1 – October Nai Yang beachfront, November 1 – April Wichit Road (near Supercheap supermarket) Rawai (see map below)