Andres Montero, one of the top instructors at Miami Kiteboarding, gives daily private and group lessons at the company headquarters in Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. Montero begins every lesson by meticulously unrolling the kites, then displaying a series of flips and jumps to show the proper technique.
The twists and turns look exhilarating and seemingly effortless for the participants. But don’t let the nonchalant attitude fool you, kiteboarding is an extremely difficult sport.
“It usually takes about 12 hours with us to become certified,” Montero said. “However, to really learn the sport you must put in closer to 20 hours which means a lot of that time is spent on your own.”
Kiteboarders must exert enough physical effort toward controlling their kite without taking too much energy away from their legs, all while simultaneously maintaining a keen awareness of their surroundings. The difficulty involved with kiteboarding makes it necessary for beginners to never go out on the water alone.
“If you’re good enough you can go on your own but it’s always safer with the buddy system,” Montero said. “Kiteboarding is a community sport more than an individual sport. That is why we have hand signals.”
Though it’s not the cheapest activity around, Miami Kiteboarding offers some less expensive alternatives for cash-strapped college students.
“Miami Kiteboarding offers packages of between $1,900 and $2,600 for all of the appropriate gear as well as three lessons and we also have great discounts that can be found on our website,” Montero said.
Normally, a kite surfboard might cost between $500 and $700, while the kite itself is more likely to be over $700.
Many other kiteboarding companies in the area offer competitive prices as well.
“We charge $95 for an individual lesson and that includes all gear,” said Graham Goodwin, an instructor at Fort Lauderdale Kite Surfing.
If the price tag is still too steep, the Kiteboarding Club at the UM, headed by Tom Fields and Ivan Zorn, offers lessons for students.
“If you’ve never been kiteboarding before, don’t worry,” Fields said. “Most of the club is made up of beginners who are also looking to get into the sport and the Kiteboarding Club offers that opportunity at a great price.”
Perhaps the most important question of all, yeah, kiteboarding helps you pick up chicks.If You’re InterestedThe Kite Shop (TKS) Miami
What: Sponsor of the Kiteboarding Club at the University of Miami, TKS specializes and offers lessons in kiteboarding and paddleboarding.
Where: 260 Crandon Blvd. Unit 33, Key Biscayne.
Cost: Private Intro Lesson: $150; 15 Hour Private Lesson: $1,450; Three Hour Dual Lesson: $450; Six Hour Dual Lesson: $860 (discounts for UM students with Kiteboarding Club)
What: International Kiteboarding Organization affiliated, Miami Kiteboarding is located in Crandon Park and offers private lessons and packages that include lessons and gear.
Where: Crandon Park North Beach, 4000 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne.
Cost: One Hour Strictly Private Lesson: $150; Strictly Private 15 Hour Lesson: $1,450; Two Hour Semi Private Lesson: $200; Three Hour Semi Private Lesson: $300
Fort Lauderdale Kite Surfing
What: Fort Lauderdale offers four levels of kitesurfing classes.
Where: 993 East Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.
Cost: One Hour Lesson: $95; Two Hour Lesson: $185; Three Hour Lesson: $299; Four Hour Lesson: $399
For more information on the Kiteboarding Club (UKite) at the University of Miami, contact Ivan Zorn at email@example.com. Lessons for UM students are $20 per hour through UKite.