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RE: [ksurfschool] Re: Children kitesurfing

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  • Petri Karjalainen
    Very good question. I am also sharing this very same dilemma of when to start gettig kids involved in kitesurfing, so let me share the thoughts about this for
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 3, 2003
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      Very good question. I am also sharing this very same dilemma of when to
      start gettig kids involved in kitesurfing, so let me share the thoughts
      about this for you others comments too.

      Personally I foresee three aspects in deciding about the right time:
      1) Physical abilities
      2) Mental abililties
      3) Equipment fit

      Physical abilities should be considered from muscle co-ordination and
      muscle strenght point of view. Both of them being fairly easy to assess,
      but when considering the strenght, the sheer power could be enough to
      fly the kite, but it is also the duration and strain that is put into
      joints and muscles that can affect the way how the child is developing
      in the future. The strenght needed in self rescue situations is much
      more difficult to assess and often more related to mental abilities that
      develop with the age.

      Mental abilities are much more difficult to assess. Generally it is easy
      to see when a child is able to fly a kite reflecting hand / eye
      co-ordination. This unfortunately has very little to do with the mental
      abilities which are more related to anticipating dangers and acting
      under extreme stress to save oneself and possibly minimising harm to
      bystanders. Generally I would consider that 12-14 is an age where the
      child starts to consider how to protect not only himself but also the
      bystanders. Below that age in between 10-12 it is possible to have a
      certain (over)learned self rescue ability, but not really much below

      Equipment fit is not only choosing the right kite or consideration of
      having right wetsuit to protect the skin, but also helmet, floatition
      vest, harness and board fit. Poorly fitting equipment can turn the child
      away from the sport very easily and become a safety risk. In no case a
      child should be using wake style bindings, as controlling the board
      while dragging under water requires skills beyond capabilities of many

      Thanks for raising this issue, because when writing this email I came to
      the following conclusion: I have a 12 years old who is old enough to
      learn waterskills - bearing in mind that she does horseriding and enjoys
      occational scubadiving too... where as I consider the 10 years old being
      too young to perform a self rescue - even though he is a keen kiteflyer
      and rollerboarder and hence could stay on the kiteboard sooner than the
      12 years old, but he would not yet be ready to perform self rescue under

      That’s my eurocents worth...

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: stuartdbenson [mailto:stuart.benson@...]
      > Sent: 3. kesäkuuta 2003 13:41
      > To: ksurfschool@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [ksurfschool] Re: Children kitesurfing
      > Thanks for the replies to this post (and the similar one on the main
      > kitesurf site). To clarify, my kid is 6, first got dragged by a foil
      > stunt kite (which I'd set up on a kitesurf bar) at 3, gave it up for
      > two years, but has now picked it up incredibly quickly to the extent
      > he does his own tricks on the beach. Ke can keep it in the air
      > indefinitely even in 15 mph winds - better than many adults. He
      > wants to kitesurf (like his daddy!) but I am nervous about it. I
      > wondered whether anyone else had relevant experience, assuming this
      > would be enough to deter him. I think the answer is yes, I have got
      > enough ammo to deter him for a while. To me the big issue is being
      > able to swim comfortably out of danger, and being old and wise
      > enough to know what danger is.
      > I think the general consensus is right; six is too young. What the
      > actual youngest reasonable age is I don't yet know and anyway it
      > will vary from child to child. Frankly my experience of the beach is
      > that there are still many "adults" to young to be doing this
      > dangerous sport!
      > To those who have suggested windsurfing, yes but even the kid rigs I
      > have tried are too heavy for him at the moment. Some people have
      > suggested wakeboarding; does anyone know how/where to get a
      > wakeboard small and light enough?
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