In keeping with our water activities theme, we decided to see if we could kitesurf Mallorca. I consider ourselves very fortunate to have found EDMKPollensa – KiteSurf School Mallorca. The kitesurfing school is part of the Asociacion Aprende A Navegar kite club, and it’s a quality organization.
Our trip started off when we met our instructor, Cris. Right off the bat, I liked him. He gave us a safety briefing. He explained several issues related to safety. Strength and direction of the wind, proper instruction, kite size, board size, and a student’s ability to focus and listen to directions. As a person who wants to learn about the sport, but wants to be safe, I definitely appreciated the information. Especially since Lars and Anya were going to be participating.
With the safety briefing out-of-the-way, we made our way to one of the many beaches. Cris walked us through what we would be doing, and how we would be doing it. He gave us some easy to understand concepts about how the wind behaves, and how we were supposed to “talk to the kite”. I knew there was a lot to learn, but even I was surprised at how much there was to take in. It wasn’t that it was difficult, but there were a lot of things to remember, and timing is very important.
For each one of us, Cris, took our hands, and went through the motions of how we were to manipulate the bar. The bar is what controls the shape and path of the kite. The hand movements looked very similar to those performed in Tai Chi. Very fluid and smooth. It’s not a brute strength type of thing.
Down to Business
The wind at our first location was not behaving correctly (too variable, and wrong direction), so we moved to another location a couple of kilometers down the road. Once there we got geared up. The kids put on some light neoprene suits, and the harness that the kite clips into.
We made our way to the beach, and we went over the hand movements again. Right…tension…up…left…tension…up. OK, I think we’re ready. Cris got the kite ready, and it’s amazing all of the engineering that goes into the making of the kite.
We were using a non-rigid foil type of kite. It’s safer for newbies as if the kite crashes into the water, it won’t automatically launch. Once Cris unrolled the kite, we went into the water about 100 feet from shore. With the kite launched, Anya was up first.
We attached the kite to her harness, and Cris went through the hand motions again, telling her what to do. I don’t know the wind speed, but it was possible to lose control of the kite in a hurry. The timing between the various hand motions was critical. Anya was getting the hang of it, and when she got the kite in the power zone, it almost lifted her out of the water and dragged her a bit. It was pretty funny, but she did a good job. She only crashed the kite a couple of times. Lars would straighten out the kite, and she would relaunch.
Lars Feels the Power
Next up is Lars, and got the hang of it with Cris’ expert instruction. Occasionally he would make a mistake, and crash, but relaunching was not a problem. And the same with Anya, when Lars would get the kite into the power zone, he would get pulled over and dragged. By the end of his turn, I could tell he was tired.
Time for the Big Guy to Kitesurf Mallorca!
I’m up next, and I would like to say that I’m a natural, but I’m severely lacking in coordination, plus there’s a lot to think about. Keeping the bar parallel, applying the correct tension with both hands pulling harder left or right, releasing the bar, and starting the process all over. To give you an idea of how little movement is required to move the kite around, look at the bar that I’m holding.
From the lowest to the highest point, the amount of travel is only about 18 inches. The left hand/right hand placement distance when turning is about 12 inches when in full turn. And all of this controls the kite in about 60 degrees of movement. Pretty amazing!
All three of us were decent students. On my last turn, I was getting a better feel for the timing, and with Cris’ help, he would get me into the power zone, and it was fantastic! Our tiny kite (6 square meters) was pulling me off my feet. You don’t mess around with wind power.
Speaking with the Kite
After three turns, we were all pretty tired. I came away amazed at the amount of control a kitesurfer can exert, and the power the kite has. This is a great sport to learn as it doesn’t require brute strength.
Really understanding the mechanics of how to control the kite are key to kitesurfing. With a few more hours (days in my case) of getting the basics down pat, we would be ready to add the board to the mix. I think you probably need to be really solid on the kite skills before getting on the board.
While the kids were working with Cris, I’d be watching the other kitesurfers, and they made it look so easy! If we were staying in Mallorca longer, I’d love to go through the entire training program, and become proficient in the sport. They say it takes an average of 9 hours of kitesurfing lessons to make some good progress. It’s tiring, but a lot of fun.
Kitesurf Mallorca video of our lessons and others zipping around us
Kitesurfing Wrap Up
After a few hours both kids and I were tired, but we had progressed a lot. This gave us a great appreciation for those who make it look so easy and next time, we will get on the kiteboard. The equipment and services provided kept us safe, and I’m looking forward to doing this again. Cris provided excellent instruction, and you could tell that he was a true ambassador of the sport. I would definitely call him the Kite Whisperer!
Disclosure: Our experience was provided by EDMKPollensa – KiteSurf School Mallorca and all opinions are our own.