How to start with kitesurf and surf

KITEBOARDING FAQ - for beginners

1. Can everybody learn kitesurfing ?
Yes, in our kite school in Tarifa we start kite surf lessons for kids from age 8. But of course it depends on every child. To ensure the full safety for children during the lesson, we recommend taking a private lesson, one to one with the instructor. In the group courses (2-4 people) the instructor has to switch between the couples and he cannot spent the whole time with the kid. Or another option is also semiprivate lesson (2 people), where one of the parents do the course as well. So he learns all about kitesurfing, safety, weather, launching and landing the kite and all important information about to start with kitesurfing.

2. Do I need any previous experience in kitesurfing for to start with the course ?
No, mostly people are complete beginners. You just need to know to swim. But during the kite lesson you use life jacket, so you don't need to be very good swimmer.

3. What do I need to bring for the kitesurfing tuition ? I don´t have any equipment or wetsuit.
Bring just something to drink, swimming costume, towel, sun glasses, sunscreen (high factor !! in summer we use 50+). The rest, as kite equipment , wetsuit, helmet, life jacket ect. provides our kite school Dragon.

4. Has to be booked the lesson before ?
Yes, Tarifa is very busy during the summer and the lesson should be book more less 1 week before. We need to plan the instructors. You can book the course per email o per phone. Our staff in the surf shop speak English.

5. Is kitesurfing safe ?
Yes, if you learn it with experienced instructor in any kitesurf school. During the lesson you learn not just to control the kite and stand up on the kite board but also the necessary information about the wind, kite spot, currents, tides...

6. Can I learn kitsurf in winter ?
Yes, our kitesurf center is open the whole year. In winter we have between 15-25 degrees. In the evening is colder. You will need warmer clothe.

7. Where is the meeting place for the kite lesson ?
We meet us in surf shop Dragon Tarifa. The address is Polígono La Vega 203, 11380 Tarifa, Cádiz. If you GPS can not find it, try street C/ Linea de la Concepcion, 10. Dragon shop is just by the 1. exit from Cadiz or 2nd exit from Malaga direction.

8. What is it easier to learn, kitesurf or windsurf ?
Definitely kitesurf. Once you learn to control the kite and stand up on the board, the progress is very fast. To learn to turn you need 1 day. People who does wakeboard or snowboard ride on 2nd day of course in both directions. 8 from 10 people learn to kite.

9. How long I need to learn to kite ?
It depends on each person and on your knowledge in another water sports as wakeboard or snowboard. The mostly people need around 3-5 days.

 10. Do I need kitesurf insurance ?
During your class you have 3rd liability insurance and basic accidant insurance in the price included. We recommend for independet kiters and for those who travels a lot, to have kitesurf insurance for the case something happen to you or you should hurt somebody else. If you contracted travel insurance during your holidays, check exact if it covers also kitesurfing. Stay safe on the water !

SURFING FAQ - Your personally surfing guide

Surf and what you need to know before you start the session.

1. What do I need to bring to start with the surf course ?
Just a sunblock, something to drink, a towel, swim wear and good mood :-) In winter bring warm cloth.
Surf boards and wetsuits are provided by our water sport centre.and are included in the prices.

2. Where is the meeting place from Dragon surf school and what a time start the training ?
We meet us in surf shop Dragon in Poligono La Vega in Tarifa, see the map. Come please 10 minutes early to fill out the booking form.
Surf sessions in the morning (spanish morning :-) start at 11:00am and afternoon sessions at 2pm. But of course, the exact hour of beginning depends on wave conditions.

3. Do I need to know to swim ?

Yes, you should be able to swim minimum 50 meters.

4. Is it safe to learn to surf ?
Yes, if you learn surfing with experienced staff. Surf instructors teach you not just how to stand up on the board and how to paddle but also all about waves, currents, tides, local spots and everything what you need to know for to surf safe.

5. How long I need to stand up on the board ?
It depends on each person, people are very different, but mostly of our students stand up on the first day surf session.

6. Is there age limit in surfing ?
Children can start from 8 years. The kid learn faster if he does another sport, like skiing, snowboarding ect. There is no upper limit, so if you are keen to learn surfing, just go on :-)

7. Is the surfing centre open also in winter ?
Yes, our water sport centre is open the whole year around.

8. Do I need to book the course in advance ?
Yes, it is better, so we can plan the instructors and surf material.

9. Can I use my own wetsuit or surf board ?
Of course. Size of your board should be corresponding to your level in surfing.

STAND UP PADDLE SURFING FAQ - How to get started with SUP, few tips

1. What is SUP ?
Called also stand up paddleboarding. It has its roots in Hawaii and was made very popular by surfer Laird Hamilton. It is kind of surfing, similar to canoeing. It is very easy to learn and can be done in lakes, rivers, ocean and in flat water or waves. 

2. Can kids do SUP ?
Yes, it is sport for all family and suitable for all ages !

3. Do I need to know to swim and be experienced ?
You need to know to swim. But don´t be worry if you are not the best swimmer, we recommend to use floating device the whole time on the water. You don´t need to have any experience, you will be fast on the board already on your first SUP lesson.

4. How to keep balance on the paddle board and how to stand up ?
It's easier to kneel on the board rather than to stand directly upright. Get onto the board into a kneeling position, in the center of the board. The nose shouldn't pop up out of the water and the tail shouldn't dig in. First stand up on the board one foot at a time. When you stand up, your feet should be parallel, about hip width, knees bent and your back straight. Balance with your hips

5. Paddleboarding stroke 
If you surf to the right, your right hand is lower and on the paddle shaft. Your left hand is on the top of the grip. Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle, using your abdominal muscles. Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand. The paddle goes by pushing the blade all the way under the surface, pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.To go in a straight line, paddle about 4 or 5 strokes on one side, then switch to the other.

6. Turns
Easy method for beginners is to paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn right ? Paddle on the left. It´s called a sidestroke.
Or paddle on your dominant side, f.e. left foot forward, paddle on your right side. Bend your knees and put more weight on your back foot. This allows the board to pivot and turn quickly. 
Another fast way to turn is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board, it´s called a backpaddle.
Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke towards the tail. This is called a sweep stroke.

7. What should I bring ?
Swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses. In Tarifa is SUP done barefoot, so you do´t need water shoes.

8. How do I transport the board on my car ? 
There are 2 kinds of board for paddle surf. Hard one or inflatable one. The inflateble one is so easy to put in the car, to carry. You just pump it on the beach. The hard surf board you transport on the roof rack. It's best to use a bar pad on the rack in order to protect the board. Be sure to stack the board on the roof with the fin up.

9. Can the fins be removed ?
Yes, for travelling or storage, but of course you won't  to paddle without them :-)

10. Do I need to wax the paddleboard ?
Our rental paddleboards have a traction pad on the top of the board, what provides reliable grip without waxing.