KITESURFING CHANGES LIFE
In recent years, kitesurfing has been becoming increasingly more popular, and people with disabilities are gaining more convenient access to the sport. But with more disabled people going kitesurfing, there is a need to put in more effort, invest in specialized training and better equipment for them. Being able to go kitesurfing is rewarding for anyone who goes through a significant change in their lives. There have been surveys and interviews that have happened with kitesurfers with disabilities to find out how kitesurfing makes them feel and how they’ve been able to participate in it.
REVOLUTION FOR SITKITESURFERS
Until today kitesurfing is still seen as an extreme sport. About a decade ago this was still true to a certain degree. Especially concerning safety, the kite gear back then was not well developed. Anyhow, with its fame as extreme sport, it’s not really surprising that there hasn’t been a run on adapted kitesurfing yet. Even though there will always be the human factor, the risks as well as the difficulty of kitesurfing have decreased dramatically – thanks to constant development of the gear. Hence the door to kitesurfing for the seated ones has opened yet a little more.
THE RIGHT GEAR
Even today the gear-question is still a deal breaker. Not too many years ago kite gear for the seated kiters literally did not exist, which is why most of the riders still use their own customized gear. That a functioning sitkite board is obligatory, shouldn’t be questioned. Without a board and a seat, no kitesurfing. During the classes themselves safety has top priority. The seat should be constructed in a way that the customary safety systems of the kites are easily reach- and activatable in every situation. The students have to always be able to release the kite quickly.
SEABREEZE KITESURF SCHOOL has one of the best locations for kiteboard lessons in Australia: the Swan River at Melville Beach Road, Applecross, Perth. The Swan River is a world class location and ideal place to learn kitesurfing – with shallow, flat water, no waves, no swell and no currents it provides a significantly better learning experience than in the ocean. The flat and waist deep water are the ideal conditions for sitkiteboarders to learn fast and safe. As the spot is close to the road there is an easy access by wheelchair.
The knowledge of kitesurfing as adapted sport is yet not widely spread. In general not many kiteboarders know that it’s possible practise kitesurfing in a seated position. SEABREEZE KITESURF SCHOOL wants to support as much as they can to bring this amazing sport more accessable to as many people as possible. We are happy to see the activity and the knowledge of this sport is significantly growing on a global scale. It is these schools that – thanks to infrastructure and commitment – manage to reduce the difficulty and time of the learning process for wheelchair users.
INSTRUCTOR TRAINING IN TENERIFE
It is still difficult to find a school or trainer that offers any programs aimed at people with disabilities. You have to research and dig deep to find someone that’s highly trained enough that will teach disabled people. Andrea went to Tenerife in june 2019 to assist Nicolas Lanquetin during the IKO Instructor course to become the first sitkitesurf instructor. In the same time he developed together with IKO examiner Max Piona a program to teach people with disabilities. All together they found out more about teaching methods and difficulties for seated kiteboarders and developed a special program for them.
EXPERIENCES AT LAGO DI GARDA
Andrea went in july 2019 to the Kiteschool Altogarda Kite ASD close to his hometown at Lake Garda to practice on adapted kitesurfing lessons. It’s the only school specialist in sitkiteboarding in Italy. The idea was to keep on developing the program, find out more about the right assistance for disabled surfers and the possible risks of sitkiteboarding. Furthermore he was curious to get knowledge about how to teach surfers on a seatkiteboard with the right teaching methods. To see the happiness and enthusiasm of his students makes him go forward to realize his dream of teaching students with disability.