BEST makes a 1.5 Meter and a 2.5 Meter Trainer Kite. I opted for the 2.5 Meter Kite as it has a safety 3rd line. This allows the user to easily collapse and fully de-power the kite by simply releasing the bar. It also makes relaunching very simple.
So after 3 weeks of planning between travel schedule and their rigorous activity schedule we met up in Concord Mass for our first lesson, the conditions were not optimal with the temperature hovering right around 15 Degrees at 10 AM and the wind blowing from the North West between 4 MPH and 16 MPH. But it didn't matter as the kite was quick to rig and launch and the boys were excited and well dressed.
After a quick safety briefing and rigging lesson we launched the kite and I quickly handed it over to 10 year old Miles. He was quick to change his arm movements from the incorrect "steering wheel" motions to the more correct push and pull of the bar. Within 10 minutes he relaxed more in his movements and you could see the kite begin to fly in a more controlled manner. Then as the wind increased you could see his shoulders get pulled forward over his hips and on just before he was about to get tossed he released the bar, the safety line deployed and the kite collapsed. It was great to see everything work as planned and you could see his confidence grow. He now knew he was safe and from there his skills skyrocketed! Below are two videos of Miles after only 20 minutes of flying a kite. That's right it took he and his brother only 20 minutes to figure out what takes most adults an entire morning. Both boys quickly began to understand the power stroke of kite and when to lean back into it. Z my older nephew even began to down loop the kite which gave him great joy as it produced more power and gave him a little more thrill. He was also quick to learn the relaunch technique.
So what are the keys to teaching kids about Kites and Kiteboarding?
1. Kites are powerful! Respect the power.
2. Learn the Safety System and use it.
3. Proper equipment. Give kids new equipment with new technologies.
4. Proper Location. Put them in a place with steady winds and plenty of room to make mistakes.
5. Let them fly the kite, don't "show them how to do it"
Huge Thank You to my Nephews Miles and Zander for coming out and braving the cold. It was an amazing experience for me. Who knows maybe by the time ISAF and the Olympic Committee get their act together these guys or someone like them will be ready.