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Common mistakes made when learning to kitesurf

Updated on May 1, 2012

When learning to kitesurf people tend to make similar mistakes throughout the learning process, Whether its flying a trainer kite, getting up on the board or jumping.

After teaching kitesurfing for a number of years I have experienced a lot of different mistakes that people make and how to correct them. Below is a list of some of the most common mistakes and how to correct them. This is not a how-to kitesurf guide. It highlights the mistakes made when learning. When learning to kitesurf you must take lessons from a professional instructor to get you confident in kite flying and board control.

Trainer kite flying

I keep crashing the kite

  • You are pulling on each side of the bar too much

  • you are being overly aggressive with the bar

My Kite doesn't steer

  • Make sure you move your hands towards the kite like a boxing movement. Steering like a car will only make the lines twist.

  • You may not be pulling on the one side of the bar enough.

The kite wont stop moving

  • Be relaxed in your body will small movements to get used to the power and how it moves in the sky.

The kite keeps losing power

  • This is usually because you steer the kite right over to the edge of the wind window We want to keep the kite in front of us downwind in the power zone, If you continue to move the kite to the edge of the wind window it will keep losing power and crash.

Setting up LEI (leading edge inflatable)

My lines are twisted when I go to launch my kite

  • Make sure you run your lines back to your bar to check they are not twisted before going to launch

Flying your LEI/BOW/C kite (on the beach)

Kite not steering

  • remember not to Fly the kite like a steering wheel

  • The bar could be pushed away too much

The kite is flying backwords all the time

  • Make sure that the center line (the line that goes to your chicken loop) is straight, bending this could cause the kite to stall (fly backwards) and it will be harder to steer.

  • Make sure you are not pulling in really hard

  • The key is to keep your arms relaxed.

The kite is not responding when I steer

  • The bar is pushed away too much so all you are doing is pulling the slack in the line

  • You are being overly aggressive on the bar, let the kite do the work.

While launching the kite it flies backwards

  • Make sure your bar is pushed away and center line is straight.

  • Bring the kite up slowly by pulling slightly on one side

Body Dragging

My body twists when I body drag

  • Always let the kite pull you forward, relax your legs and let let kite drag you forward

  • Don't fight the kite

The kite doesn't pull me much in the water

  • be more aggressive with the kite

  • pull the bar in more

  • Quick movements with the kite

I keep crashing the kite at the edge of the wind window

  • remember to steer the kite back up and keep consistent movements

  • pull the bar before the kite steers, there is a slight delay

One Handed upwind body dragging

The kite keeps going down/up

  • Make sure you have the correct hand on the bar (top hand)

  • Hold your hand in the middle of the kite

  • Keep the bar pushed away but not too much

  • Don't push away the bar completely

I cant go upwind

  • Make sure the kite is still in the sky

  • Your arm should be stretched right upwind as far as you can

  • Make sure the kite is low in the sky

  • When tacking back make sure you move the kite around to the other side of the wind window slowly.

First water starts

Body twisting when trying to get board on feet or getting up


  • Make sure you keep your eye on your kite and keep it at 12, this will help your body not twisting.

  • Use your arms to pull your body back around

  • Keep both legs bent with equal pressure

  • make sure your board is facing 90 degrees to the wind

I keep going straight over the front of the board

  • Giving too much power in the kite

  • Let the kite pull you and experiment with the power of the kite

  • Your bringing your body too far up over the board

I'm not getting up on the board

  • Make sure you are getting enough power in the kite

  • Your front foot should be straight

  • point your board downwind more when getting up.

I keep sliding out of control

  • You are too flat on the board

  • your keeping both legs bent

  • Make sure you get on the edge of the board.

Up and riding

Im riding out of control

  • Make sure you are getting your edge in and not staying flat.

  • Use your board as a brake to slow down. (back foot)

  • Lean back on the board

  • Keep your kite still earlier

  • Dig your heels in

Riding for a few seconds then sinking (tea-bagging)

  • You need more power in the kite by moving it more

  • Point your board down wind to gather more speed before leaning back

  • Your riding on the back of the bard too much

  • Make sure your hips are pointing forward (head to front foot should be straight)

Up Wind riding

I cant stay upwind

  • your not keeping your kite still

  • Make sure your kite is low in the sky (around 2/10 o clock)

  • Eliminate mistakes (falling off, crashing kite etc)

  • Make sure your hips are forward and relaxed body position

  • Don't ride on the back of your board too much

  • look in the direction you are going

  • Twist you hips slightly in the direction you are going

I can't get downwind

  • Point your board downwind more

  • Bring your kite down lower in the sky

  • Keep hips forward

  • Aim for a point to come downwind too

Riding toe side

I go straight downwind

  • Make sure you are getting your edge in with your toes

  • keep your arm outstretched

  • look in the direction you want to go

  • twist your hips around

  • Hold the bar with one hand

I keep going out of control

  • Lean your body forward more

  • Dig your toes in more to get more of an edge

  • use your back foot as a brake

  • de-power your kite

I keep slowing down

  • Point your board downwind to get more speed

  • Move your kite to get a bit more power then keep it still again

  • Make sure you are not right off the back of the board


I can't get out of the water

  • Make sure you get enough speed before edging

  • send your kite faster up to 12

  • pull the bar in as you bring the kite up

  • Don't edge for too long, it should be a quick edge then bring the kite up

I don't get enough height (same reasons as above)

I go miles downwind when I jump

  • Make sure your edging hard and fast before bringing the kite up

  • Don't send the kite from low down

  • Timing is the key; speed, edge, send kite in very quick movements.

The kite always falls out the sky when I land / I always land too hard

  • Make sure you send the kite back down on your way down from the jump otherwise your kite will go right out of the wind window.

  • Again its all about timing

I hope this has helped you eliminate some of your problems when learning to kitesurf and give you more of an understanding of how kitesurfing works. Safe flying and many windy days on the water!


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    • profile image

      julien 4 years ago

      One of the best kitesurf video around. Enjoy !

    • profile image

      Noob 6 years ago

      Well written article!

    • profile image

      mybrightlife 6 years ago

      Thanks. helpful tips!

    • kitesurfguru profile image

      kitesurfguru 6 years ago from Worldwide

      Thanks 'Kiwikiter'. Definitely would be good to see some more beginner videos out there. We will keep our hopefully useful articles coming out :-)

    • profile image

      Kiwikiter 6 years ago

      Awesome hints/tips guys, keep them coming! There needs to be more beginner Vidios out there other than "Progression"