On a recent trip to Phuket, Thailand, I watched my travel partner fly across the water on a kiteboard while I sat idly on the beach. I wanted to jump in and join him, I REALLY did – but, my tiny travel budget just wouldn’t cover expensive kiteboarding lessons. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I took action and created a plan to become a kickass kiteboarder without breaking the bank.
Here is what I came up with:
First, learn trainer kite basics on dry land.
A key component of kiteboarding is having excellent kite control skills. Before you make it to the big and powerful kite, you must first master a small one on dry land. There are two ways to do this. The first is to buy a small trainer kite and practice the basics on your own (much cheaper option). The Ozone Imp which starts at approximately $150.00 is a great one for getting started. Alternatively, take trainer kite lessons at a kiteboarding school. Expect to shell out three to four hundred dollars before you even touch the water. Mastering the trainer kite will take at least 15 to 20 hours of practice.
Next, take lessons at an IKO certified kiteboarding school.
Kiteboarding is fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous. Make sure to take lessons from a certified instructor. An easy way to find one is to visit the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) website. IKO is the body in charge of maintaining quality standards, accrediting schools and more generally keeping kiteboarding safe.
Kiteboarding lessons are offered all over the world, but few places compare to Phuket, Thailand. Why?
- Warm water and beautiful beaches. Who wants to be cold and uncomfortable while trying to learn a challenging sport?
- Relatively cheap. The exchange rate in Thailand is favorable – that means cheaper lessons, lodging, food and drinks. Expect to pay around $350.00 for three days of lessons.
- Consistent ideal wind and weather conditions from November to March.
- Cool kiteboarding scene with happening beach bar nightlife.
Finally, purchase gear.
After enrolling in a full round of lessons and receiving a stamped IKO certification card indicating skill level, you will be ready to move on to the next step and purchase gear. Expect to pay at least $1500.00. It may not be cheap, but it certainly is fun.
If you’re looking for awesome kiteboarding lessons in Phuket, try Kiteboarding Asia, a professional school with a maximum of two students per one IKO certified instructor.