By johnarthur

Flying a Trainer Kite

How I Learned to Fly a Trainer Kite ?


Here is a list of some safety guidelines I followed, when I  fly my Trainer kite.

  •     Trainer kites can injure me and others around me, they are not toys. I made sure I kept a safe distance away for people and animals, and hazards such as powerlines, buildings and trees. I agreed to always follow all the manufacturers directions when using my kite.
  •     Trainer kites pull much stronger and fly much faster as the wind speed increases.  I made my initial flights in the light winds (less than 12mph). I understood that stronger winds would be more dangerous, especially if my trainer kite was over 2 meters in size. My trainer kite has a safety system and I read the owners manual on how it works before I started flying the kite.
  •     I understand Trainer kites can easily pull or lift small children. They can even pull or injure adults if the wind is strong enough. When in doubt, I will not go out.
  •     Trainer kites can get damaged if you crash them to aggressively. If I crash my trainer kite directly down at high speed, their stitching or fabric can tear. That sort of damage is not covered by the warranty. I did my best to refrain from crashing it in such a manor. I activated the safety system if this was about to occur.
  •     Low quality trainer kites did not perform well, and I don’t think they are worth the price. Inexpensive trainer kites seemed poorly engineered and they just don’t fly well for me.
  •     Trainer kites did not teach me how the real kite works, nor do they teach me how to kiteboard. I used them to develop initial flying skills and comfort with a kite before taking on the larger and more complex kite used in kiteboarding, kitesurfing, snowkiting and landboarding. They are fun and I still enjoy them.
  •     I understand that Trainer kites are 3 meters in size or less, and they are labeled as “Trainer” kites.
  •     I understand and accepted that I was flying the kite at my own risk and I aways kept it away from people, animals and hazards. I also understand that mother nature can surprise me on occasion and I am always ready to activate the safety system of put the kite down.
  •    I also understand that if I were to release the kite from me … It may blow into people or hazards.  That is why I always gave myself plenty of space and checked the components before flight.
  •     I know  that the flying lines are strong and able to cut or burn skin, so I never flew my kite at anyone or anything.


How I set up a trainer kite for launch in light winds:


Here are the general steps I used to set up a trainer kite.

  •    I selected an open area with steady airflow, away from people and hazards.
  •    I found that an open sandy beach or a open grassy park was the best location to learn.
  •    I made sure winds were less than 12mph and the ground was soft. I selected an area that had at least 300 feet of open space.
  •    I made made six (2 pound) sand bags to hold kite down during set up … when I was a sandy beach, I just use piles of sand.
  •    I set the unraveled kite on its back with the leading edge openings away from the wind and the training edge of the kite upwind.
  •    I put the first weight or sand pile on the trailing edge of the kite to hold the unraveled kite in place against the wind.
  •    I then unravel approx. 1 foot of  the kite and place another pile of sand or soft weight on that part of the trailing edge.
  •    I continue this process until the kite was fully unraveled and it was held securely down by the weights or sand.
  •    I pick up the control bar and move upwind of the kite … I was careful not to pull on the kite and cause the weights to fall off.
  •    I unwound the control bar as I walked upwind. I did not let myself pull on the kite … for fear it might take off before i was ready.
  •    I untwist the lines by spinning the control bar, without pulling on the kite.  I know that the color RED is ALWAYS for my left hand.
  •    I connected my safety leash SECURELY to my wrist.  (the safety leash must be worn when flying the kite!)


How I Launched the Trainer Kite in Light winds.


Here are some general steps I used to launch the trainer kite.


  •     With my back to the wind, and the control bar in both hands , and the color red in my left hand,  I walk backwards toward the wind as I pull on the control bar to fill the kite with wind and get it to launch straight to the top of the sky.
  •     If the wind is good quality, the kite will set still when it gets to the top of the sky. I hold the bar pretty steady and hold the kite still at the 12:00 high position.
  •     After I am able to hold the kite steady overhead, I pull gently on the right side of the bar to move the kite to the right side of the wind, when the kite comes down to the 2:00 position in the sky, I pull a little on the left side (red) of the bar to stop it from going down further , and I hold the kite steady at 2:00 position.
  •     Now I gently pull on the left side of the bar to slowly move the kite up to 12:00 position and hold it there. Then I pull more left and move the kites slowly to the 10:00 position in the sky and then pull a little on the right side of the bar to hold the kite steady at 10:00 position.
  •     I practice flying and stopping the kite from 10 to 12 to 2 o’clock positions … until you are good at it.
  •     If the kite falls or crashes … you can relaunch it using the kites features shown in the owners manual.
  •     If I  feel overwhelmed or feel in danger, I always let go of the control bar, so the wrist safety leash can kill the kite.

What flying skills do I practice?

  •     Fly the kite with 2 hands and keep it from falling or crashing.
  •     Fly the kite so it can perform clockwise loops and counter clockwise loops through the sky.
  •     Fly the kite while you walk to the left side of the wind and then fly the kite while you walk to the right side of the wind direction.
  •     Fly the kite around then practice stopping it for a moment then Fly it around and practice stopping it in another location.
  •     Fly the kite gently through the sky with only one hand in the center of the control bar.  Kite is in the left sky with the right hand controlling it and     visa versa.
  •     Fly it without having to look at it all the time … learn to fly it by feel.
  •     Practice saving it from falling when in really light winds.
  •     Practice using the safety system to fully depower the kite ( kill the kite).
  •     Practice proper counter balance against the pull of the kite. (arch back somewhat, to counter balance against the kites pull)
By johnarthur

Secret to Learning to kiteboard quickly and safely

How do you learn to kiteboard Quicker and Safer ?

The secret to learning how to kiteboard / kite surf safer and more quickly than most people is to adopt the following agenda:

Understand that Kiteboarding/ Kitesurfing is an Extreme Sport and there are real risks to the safety of you and those around you.   Ask yourself, “would you sky dive without proper training from a certified, licensed and insured training facility that has had years of experience teaching people to sky dive ?”

Understand the kiteboarding is a KITE Skill above all else!  Be GREAT with the kite, and riding is easy.

Get experienced professional instruction from a certified, licensed and insured kiteboarding instructor. Make sure he/she has taught at least 50 students  how to kiteboard.  Avoid taking lessons from another kiteboarder , even if they are a very good rider.  I have had to fix so many dangerous practices, that were taught to my incoming students, who took a previous lesson from their friends, or some hot shot rider.

History has shown that inexperienced instructors and non instructors, don’t know how prepare you for the risks and independency of the sport. They consistently fail to teach you the skills needed to make you safer,  and self sufficient with the kite and your safety.

Uncertified and uninsured instructors have a history of teaching unsafe and risky techniques to their students. They are not accountable for their actions, because they don’t have to follow the guidelines of any certification agency.  Since they are not licensed nor insured, they are likely to disappear in the event of an accident or injury.  Be wise, don’t spend you money on such a risky venue for your training.

Your lesson should cover no less than these items:

Site selection and evaluation / Kite set up / Safety system operation and check / self launching / assisted launching / self landing / assisted landing / emergency de-power of the kite / flying patterns / one handed kite control / power system adjustments / safety procedures / self rescue and recovery / rules of the road and right of ways / environmental conditions / local rules and regulations / how to keep your kite flying in light wind conditions / proper kite and equipment selection / how and where to practice on your own after the lesson.

Purchase the right size and model of equipment for you to learn and grow into.  Your instructor should help you select the correct size and type of equipment to ensure a safer and more successful path to your learning.  Get the right stuff on the first try, and when your instructor feels you are ready … practice using that equipment as often as you can.

Golden Rule for safety and learning quickly:

Your kite is not suppose to fall or crash EVER, it should only go down when YOU want it down.

Practice flying your kite a lot, and become so skilled with your kite, that it NEVER falls or crashes again. You must learn to fly it with such control, that it does exactly as you wish at all times, or you will calm it down and/or shut it down on command.  Practice using the Safety System to perform Self Landings. Do this as a skill every day you fly the kite.

Some additional thoughts for you to consider:

  •     If you have to re-launch the kite … you are not very good at flying it.
  •     If you can’t fly it well with one hand … how will you handle a board.
  •     If  you don’t know how to self launch and self land your kite … who will help you?
  •     Stay down wind of other beach/water users … so you don’t crash into them.
  •     If you don’t practice how to kill the kite … you won’t be able to do it.
  •     The kite can help you or hurt you … keeping it in control is the #1 rule.
  •     If you don’t KNOW what to do … don’t grab the bar!
By johnarthur

Buy the right size of Kite.

Kite size does matter !


Simply put, take your kiteboarding lesson first!  Your kiteboarding instructor with show you how the kite works, and what you should be practicing. You will get to fly the kite/s and see for yourself if you can handle the kite and you may even get to try the kite you plan to purchase before you lay money down.  When you lesson is finished, ask your instructor,” What is the ideal kite size and model for me to learn and grow into ?”

It’s in your best interest and safety, if you buy the right size and model of kite to match your size, wind conditions and skill level.  Doing so will aid your learning, and provide you with enough power to ride the most number of days per year. This means you will become a kiteboarder safer and quicker.

Avoid buying a kite gear before you take lessons. The students that take this route, end up regretting their purchase, and in the end, they learn slower, or not at all.  Get the right thing on the first try and become the kiteboarder you want to be, quicker and safer.

If  you insist on getting gear without the input of your instructor … What model of kite should i get?   We suggest you purchase the “All Terrain” model kite.  All the manufacturers offer such a kite.  You want a kite that “Does it All”.  These kites help you progress into the sport, but you never outgrow them … even after years of use.

Examples of such kites:

If you purchase a kiteboarding kite and you are not familiar with the kites safety system or you are unsure about any of it … then take an equipment orientation lesson with a certified and experienced instructor to teach you how it works and what it can do for you to aid your learning.

Feel Free to contact me with any Equipment Questions

John Arthur

Chief Instructor –


By johnarthur

Private Kiteboard lesson or Group Kiteboarding Lesson ?

What lesson is best for you …. Private or Group lesson?

Any lesson with the professional, certified, licensed and insured instructors, at Manta Wind & Water Sports, is the right lesson to get you started in the sport of kiteboarding, aka: kitesurfing.  The reason we say this is based on years of experience teaching to individuals and groups. We provide you with the essential experience to determine you best path for continuing education in any of our lesson programs.

No one is good at kiteboarding after one lesson. It will take more practice with the equipment on your own, or in continuing lessons if that is your path.  We show you what you need to know to feel confident in your path to improving your skills and ensure maximum safety in this extreme sport.



Private kiteboard lessons

  •     Customized training based on your abilities and comfort.
  •     More time flying the kite and practicing skills, ensure greater confidence.
  •     Immediate answers to your questions.
  •     Fewer lessons needed to achieve your goals
  •     Higher initial cost for lesson, but fewer lessons needed overall.
  •     Greater chance you may get to board riding skills in a 4hr lesson.
  •     Almost all students feel ready to purchase gear and work on skills after the lesson.


Group Kiteboard lessons

  •     Slower pace for learning and more time to observe and learn from others.
  •     Lower initial expense, but great chance you will need more lessons.
  •     Easier to get a lesson on weekends in the summer months.
  •     Greater exposure to common errors we make while learning to kite
  •     Good chance you will have other to train with after the lesson
  •     Slimmer chance you will get to the board riding skills in a 4hr lesson.
  •     Half the students feel ready to purchase gear and work on skills after the lesson

Bottom line:

Any lesson is going to be a good lesson to get you started in the sport.

Worry less about the expense. Don’t worry how much time before you’ll be riding a board … if you learn to fly the kite well … board riding will come quickly and easily.

So … Sign up today and get your kiteboarding adventure started. Kiteboarding really is one of the easiest and fastest sports to get good at.   It will offer a lifetime of fitness and fun.

Book a lesson today !




By johnarthur

Trainer Kites :

Trainer kites are smaller, and a different design, than the kites used in kiteboarding.  The idea is to purchase one before you take professional lessons, and spend some time on your own developing basic flying skills and confidence with those skills.

We offer 2 sizes of trainer kites to our customers,  3meter and 3.5 meter size models. The 3m size kite is the most common size trainer for those who want to train in lighter wind speeds, ( 4-18 mph ).   The smaller 1-2m size trainer kites are used by smaller people of for those practicing in stronger wind speeds.

We have found that the trainer kites do build confidence in those students that practice with them before taking professional instruction.  However, we also find that prior trainer kite experience does not ensure you will perform better with the 4 line inflatable kite that is used in the kiteboarding lessons.

Flying a trainer kite is fun and does build your confidence before taking the kiteboarding lesson. However, Flying the trainer kite is not going to teach you to fly the 4 line inflatable kite used in the lessons. It only teaches you to fly the trainer kite.

Bottom line:  If you can afford to buy a trainer kite and use it before taking lessons, then do so. However, If you can not afford to buy a trainer kite, don’t worry …  the majority of students do just fine in the lessons without prior training kite experience.



By johnarthur

My harness is riding up !

Is your waist harness sliding up to your armpits?

Is your seat harness giving you crotch squeeze?

Providing your harness is actually the right size for you … the first thing you should look for, is your stance.

If you are standing tall while you fly a kite, your harness will always try to slide up.

We shouldn’t stand tall when we fly kites, we should try to relax back, and counter balance against the pull of the kite.

Fix that … and you will see the harness is not being pulled up your abdomen, its actually being pulled away from your abdomen.

Is your neck getting sore? Same thing … Don’t stand tall, relax back and your neck will not have to look up.

Are you falling foreword when the kite pulls?

Same thing … relax back



How do you Relax Back?
Hips Forward, Knees bent, shoulder blades back, slight back bend against your harness.



Give it a try.


John Arthur

By johnarthur

Skills to Practice

Time To Practice Kite Skills !

Now that the kite boarding season is fast approaching, It’s time to pull that gear out and develop the fundamental skills that maximize safety and success, and minimize on frustration and risk.

These skills can be practiced in much lighter wind than you think.  You can perform land practice with most kites in 5- 10mph winds.  Make sure you make good choices and practice in Slow winds,  with Soft terrain and plenty of Open Space and with Shoes and a Helmet.  

First Rule: Understand how your kites safetey system functions and make sure the control bar is designed to work with your kite.

Second Rule: Seek out and obtain professional, experienced instruction when ever possible.  or

  1.    Practice using the kites safety system to perform “Self Landings”
  2.    Practice various methods of  “Self Launch” that work for your kite.
  3.    Practice Flying your kite with one hand , then the other hand.
  4.    Practice Flying by Feel , rather than rely solely on Sight.
  5.    Practice Saving your kite from all falls or crashes.
  6.    Practice Walking cross wind while flying your kite.
  7.    Practice “Touch Downs” in launch/landing area with the kite.
  8.    Practice 3 methods of “Relaunching” your kite.


Some Common kiteboarding terms defined:

  •    Emergency De-power = Kill Kite = Intentionally Disable Flight
  •    Self Land = Kill kite without damage to kite or others and be re-launch ready if you desire.
  •    Self Launch = safely perform an Initial launch of your kite without the aid of others.
  •    Re-Launch = safely make kite take off after it has fallen or crashed.
  •    Take Off = When you intentionally permit a kite to fly.
  •    Touch Down = When kite is resting in the landing zone and bar is fully sheeted out.
  •    Landing = When you intentionally disable flight.
  •    Suicide Launch = When Flight is initiated aggressively or without control.
  •    Sheet Out = lower kites power by moving bar away or by shortening the front lines with a trim strap.
  •    Release Kite = Eject from the kite when all other safety options have failed and your life is in danger.
  •    Self Rescue = Getting back to shore with kite attached to you, but not actually flying.  (Swim, Tow, Sail, Drift, Etc.)




Remember:  The more skilled you are with your kite, the safer you can be and the quicker you will get good in this sport.

By johnarthur

Tips for Self Starters

Tips for you self starters:


Secrets to learn faster and safer:

Rule #1:      The Kite is #1 … it must not fall or crash EVER!   ( The kite is only allowed to go down, when YOU want it down.)

Rule #2:     It’s all about Kite Skill !    ( Be Great with the Kite and Riding will be Safer and Easier.)

Rule #3:     Stay away from people and hazards!   ( You are never as good as you think you are … Don’t expose others to possible dangers.)

Rule #4:     Know how to Kill your kite!  You must understand how your kite’s safety system works, and be proficient at using it.

Rule #5:     Don’t go further from shore than you are willing to swim with a kite attached to you!


Getting Started:

Get a 3m Trainer kite and take it out to an open area away from people and hazards.

Practice flying the 3m trainer kite in light winds at first (<10mph).

Get really good at flying and looping  the trainer kite, no falls or crashes ever again.

Get really good at one handed flying, and flying by feel, more than by sight.

Get really good at KILLING the kite and relaunching the kite.

Use the kite to help you back get up from a seated position.

Get really good at saving the kite from falls in light winds.

Get really good at calming the kite down in stronger winds.

Take a lesson from a qualified kiteboarding instructor.  (See my other blog on how to tell if you have a good instructor at, )

Make sure the instructor teaches you all the following Land Skills:

Kite Set up /Self Launch /Self Land, De-power /Emergency De-power (Kill) / Assisted Launch / Assisted Landing /Kite Re-Launch /Kite Control / One Handed Flying.

Buy the real kite, in the correct size for you, and your environment. Then practice what you learned with it on land, in light winds, (<10mph) at first, and as you get better, <15 mph … for at least  7-10 days of practice.

Take a 2nd lesson from the same instructor go to the water.    (Remember Rule #1)

Make sure the instructor teaches  you the following Water Skills:

Water Relaunch / Emergency De-power /Self Rescue / All Body dragging skills / Board handling / Water Starts / Water Exits / Right of Ways / Etiquette.

Go to the water when the winds are just > 10 mph  to practice what you learned. Avoid winds over 18mph until your skilled.


Guidelines for Safer Water Skills:

Select a safe Training Area:  Entry and Exit points,  Launch and Landing area , and Stay downwind of other beach and water users.

Train with side shore winds or side on shore winds. Do not train in off shore or on shore winds.

Dont go to the water is the kite is not flying well.   ( Don’t be Foolish.  If the winds are to light, water skills will not be productive)

Don’t go farther from shore than you are willing and able to swim with a kite attached to you.

Practice self rescue with your kite in shallow water close to shore before you venture out from shore.

Learn to body drag well , before trying to ride a board.

Body Dragging skills are actually 4 skills per drag:  Enter water, Drag, Return to shore, Return to starting point …. All Without Losing Control of the Kite.

Body Drag Skills you Must learn:  On Belly / UpRight / One Handed / UpWind / With Board in Hand / With Board on Feet.

Can you perform all the Body Dragging skills without losing control or letting the kite fall or crash ???


KiteBoard Riding Skills:     …….   To Be Continued:

I don’t want your ego to over ride your skill level … Go Practice the Basics First!





By johnarthur

How can you tell if you have a quality kiteboarding instructor?

It takes time to become a good kiteboarding instructor.  

I’m not talking about the years spent riding. I’m talking about the time actually spent teaching this sport.

Simple truths about good kiteboarding instructors:

  1.   The best instructors love to teach. They don’t burnout and they always want to improve.
  2.   No one is good at teaching  kite board lessons, until they’ve taught at least 100 lessons.
  3.   Kite board instructors who taught kiteboarding in strong winds, don’t instantly know how to teach in light winds, and visa versa.
  4.   A good instructor will teach their students from a beginners mindset … your instincts are wrong for kite boarding. Good instructors will train the student how to over-ride those instincts with skills training, rather than words alone.
  5.   Good kite board instructors will only teach, what Is Safe to do.  Not what they Feel is safe because they’re with you.
  6.   A good instructor exemplifies what they teach … Safe Actions, Good Manors, and Advanced riding Skills.

Warning  Signs:

  1.   Does your instructor spend more time flying the kite than you do? 
  2.   Does your instructor have trouble keeping the kite flying?
  3.   Does your instructor fail to give you a helmet and lifejacket?
  4.   Does your instructor allow you to drag/ride towards other people?
  5.   Did your instructor fail to teach you how to Kill the kite?
  6.   Does your instructor say they’re certified, but their not?
  7.   Does your instructors car look like they actually use it as a home?
  8.   Did your instructor tie a rope to the back of your harness?
  9.   Did your instructor ever get rescued by their own student?
  10.   Does your instructor have trouble riding the board ?
  11.   Does your instructor only have one size of kite for teaching lessons?
  12.   Does your instructor spend a lot of lesson time relaunching the kite?
  13.   Did your instructor tell you to wear a board leash?
  14.   Does your instructor have more students than 2 students in the water at a time?
  15.   Does your instructor get warned about safety issues, from other instructors on the beach?
  16.   Did your instructor forget to have you sign a waiver?

Good Signs:

  1.   Your instructor has a valid business license for that city.
  2.   Your instructor is listed on the IKO or PASA or BKSA  web site as an instructor , and is in good standing.
  3.   Your instructor has been teaching full time for more than 1 year in your environment.
  4.   Your instructor uses newer gear and has other sizes of kites for use in the lesson.
  5.   Your instructor makes you wear a helmet and  life jacket during the lesson.
  6.   Your instructor is currently certified and insured to teach kiteboading.
  7.   Your instructor has an informative and original looking web site.
  8.   Your instructors priority is your safety and the safety of others.
  9.   Your instructor is one of the best riders in your area and they adhere to safe practices.
  10.   Your instructor is nice and patient, but they motivate you to practice skills on your own time as well.
  11.   Your instructor returns your calls and answers your questions freely.
  12.   You are actually getting good at flying the kite and keeping it flying.
  13.   You actually understand what you are being taught and why.
  14.   You actually have confidence in yourself and the skills you’ve learned.


Good luck and be safe!



By johnarthur

What gear should you buy?

If your going to purchase kiteboarding gear, we suggest you consider the following points to help you get the right gear on the first try.

What size kite did your instructor recommend for you to ride in your area?

If your instructor rides in your area, ask him/her what size is best for you.  If your instructor doesn’t live in your area, consult with the local riders in your area.


Are you sure you want to do this sport, or are you still testing the water?

If your testing the sport … take more lessons before you buy. If you are ready buy,  purchase the smaller size kite that is still commonly used by riders of your size in your local area.


What is the most common size kite used in your area by riders your size and gender?

Talk to the local riders in your area and ask them what size kite is commonly used by someone your size and gender?


Are you going to purchase more than one kite, or are you willing to purchase more than one kite in the near future?

If you know you will purchase more than one kite, purchase the smaller size kite commonly used in your area as your first kite. Practice using it in light winds as you develop enough skill to ride safely.


What is your initial budget for a full set of kiteboarding equipment?

If you don’t have the money to buy kiteboarding equipment, you may want to hold off on lessons until you save up enough money to get lessons and gear.  New gear at the lowest available price is always the best buy for all levels of kite boarders.  Old gear is usually worn out and parts are missing.  Historically, it’s not the good deal you had hoped for.


Do you have open space for launching, landing and riding, or are you somewhat restricted?

If you find your flying area is somewhat restricted, but not unsafe.  Consider getting short lines for you kite while training.  AKA: School lines.  They’re an accessory, and they must be compatible with your control bar and kite system.  KiteBuys has access to school line sets, just email on how to purchase them.


Are you going to travel to kiteboard, or just ride locally?

Always check with the local riders or kite shop in the area you are traveling.  Get their recommendation on what kite size to bring.  If you are traveling and plan on kiteboarding … the most common size kite to travel with, is a 12m kite for riders 150 pounds or more.  A 9m kite is the most common kite used by rides 100 – 150 pounds.


Feel free to contact us or reply to this blog.

John Arthur – chief instructional advisor for,