The very first kitesurfing lesson that I took in Barbados was over a year ago. Today, I am just learning to go upwind, as in control the direction of my ride so that I don’t drift down with the current to more southern destinations. To those who kitesurf or understand the progression of kitesurfing, I’m advancing at snail’s pace. I should have been at this stage eons ago. However, there was one little secret ingredient that I was missing during the first eight months. Aside from dedication, perseverance, and a great instructor by your side, it’s something that anyone learning to kitesurf needs to prioritize, when possible– it’s consistency.
While there are many reasons why some people will progress faster than others such as being fearless, having a natural knack for the sport, or having some previous experience with other board sports, the most critical component to getting up and riding like an expert is practice, practice, and practice regularly. Admittedly, that is something that I didn’t do. After my first lesson, a few weeks went by before I was back at it again. After that lesson, a few months dragged on. When I finally got the kite in my hands again, I needed a refresh. Every time that I allowed days, weeks or months to pass, I set myself back instead of moving forward.
Yes, I know, I live in Barbados. Surely it would easier for me than someone who lives in Canada and is dealing with nine months of snow and cooler temps. For the sunny climate and conditions, it is; but even on a Caribbean island, life can still get demanding. Between work obligations, travelling to see family, and spending time with my friends who are not kitesurfing nuts, it’s hard to find time to do it all. Couple that with no-wind days, and sometimes extended no-wind periods during the late summer months, and here I am, one year after my first lesson and learning to go upwind.
For me, progress really started picking up this past February when I took a trip to Tobago and dished out the cash for three days of back-to-back lessons. The first day was rough, because once again, I was relearning some basic skills, and getting familiar with a new environment. By day two and three, I had made some serious progress. I realized during that trip how critical consistency was going to be for me, and decided from then on, as much as possible, to commit to the sport and make the time.
Juggling priorities still isn’t easy, but today, every time I get on the water, I feel like I am one step ahead of where I once was. Any day now, I will be going upwind, and then I’ll be working on fluidly turning around, also known as transitions. If I can make one recommendation to anyone wanting to learn to kitesurf or embarking on a first lesson, it’s commit to consistency. For those of you who don’t live at the beach or live in a cooler seasonal environment, kitesurf trips are your best bet to finding that much needed regular practice.
Travel to Barbados to Kitesurf
There are plenty of beautiful places in the world to see which are also great kitesurfing spots. One of them is right here in Barbados. Take advantage of a trip and break into this amazing sport; the feeling that will overcome you when you finally get up and ride will be worth it. Best part is that once you get to that stage anyways, finding the time to get on the water won’t feel like a commitment anymore, it’ll be a visceral need.