Ahmed was the lucky one (!) tasked with giving me my introduction session. He kitted me up with a helmet and suit in the kite station and we went to the beach which is directly in front of the kite station. The intro course is 9 hours and so far I’ve completed 6 hours of it. He patiently taught me how to control the kite out of the water, how to move the kite clockwise and how to move my body. I also practiced the body drag downwind and upwind. Most importantly we went through the safety aspects including releasing the kite when necessary. Ahmed repeated the safety aspects over and over which I really appreciated. There’s no hiding the fact that it could potentially be dangerous if you do not know how to look after yourself, and when you are out practicing later on after the time with the instructor you have to know how to react to certain situations and there is a lot to think about. Thankfully I am a good multi-tasker as there is a lot to be aware of: your body position, where the reef is, the direction of the wind and where you are travelling. Ahmed was patient and enthusiastic with a huge passion for the sport which means he loves to teach beginners. The flexibility of the course is a big attraction and there is no real fixed schedule. Of course the wind is needed but I coordinated the rest of my course around my diving activities as I didn’t want to miss out on the Wadi Lahami morning dives!
I was worried about how my body would cope with something so physically demanding as I’m not a big sports fanatic! What I found was that although you do need to be reasonably fit and healthy, you can practice the sport to your own level. Of course some people take it very far and progress to jumps, tricks and very advanced moves in different conditions, however even as a beginner you can stay within your own limitations. Some of our advanced riders go for excursions out to local reefs and islands which I cannot wait to try when I am ready. Technically it is not difficult once you know what, in theory, you are supposed to do. It just requires practice. At the end of the day I felt tired from my body moving in a new way and I discovered muscles I did not know I had before! I appreciated the opportunity to chill out at the kite station Yellow Penguin bar in the evening and talk to other kiters about the sport over a drink. They were happy to share experiences and advice and welcomed me into the kiting community.