This week the Chronicle spoke to kitesurfing instructor François Berck from Ozone Kites and Kitesurfing about his kitesurfing addiction.
How did you first discover Kite Surfing?
I first started with buggy kiting and paragliding when I was a kid (in Belgium – where I am from). I used to see these guys kitesurfing but it was not that popular at that stage (20 years ago). One day, after a long summer in France working at a holiday resort I decided to buy a kitesurf package. I bought it online from a local shop in Brussels. They can’t really sell kites to people who do not ride yet as you obviously need lessons so they were a bit funny and forced me to book lessons with them.
Did it take long to get addicted?
So I was addicted before I even tried haha.
Tell me about the reality of teaching someone to Kite Surf. What are the steps involved?
You start with some safety and theory on the beach, fly a trainer kite for a bit to get the hang of it. When you are good enough to get you on a water inflatable kite with more power and start doing exercises in order to get you ready for the board.
Once you are ready for the board, we teach you how to get on it. It usually takes between six and ten hours to get some rides. The key is to never give up. Everyone gets it.
How would you recommend someone prepares for learning to kite in terms of attitude, strength and fitness.
The good thing with kiting is that there is many different way to do it. You could just cruise around while the harness holds the power for you (freedom and relaxation time guaranteed), you could go for some unhooked freestyle and wake boots on (sore muscles and adrenaline rush guaranteed), you can take a kitesurf board with no straps and get into the waves.
So you will pick your discipline according to your fitness level and goals and you will have fun. Kiting is for everyone.
Are more woman getting involved in the sport?
We definitely see more women getting into the sport, even in competitions. We don’t mind that.
What kind of feedback do you get from clients who give it a go?
Loads of fun. Sometimes too excited to get on the board and realise they need us for a bit longer. It takes what it takes but you will remember your first ride forever!
For more info on kitesurfing visit ozonenewzealand.com or call into the Ozone store at the end of Volcom Lane.