The Buddy System by David Dorn
Kiting is better with a buddy, when you share the experience it is more rewarding, and it is also safer. Your buddy can be a lifesaver, because he is watching out for you, knows when you are in trouble, and waits till you get back to shore safely. On the water your buddy can get your board back to you or give you feedback about conditions and more. Off the water you can share stories and keep each other motivated. Kiteboarding Instructor David Dorn explains some of the benefits of having your very own kite buddy.
When learning having a buddy to launch you and catch you is a huge asset. People often buddy up with another kiter and learn as a team. Then buddies can take turns doing alternating runs. This gives each one a chance to rest and recover after each attempt.
Buddies can share a single kite setup. When I learned the sport my buddy had a board and I had a kite. We shared our gear and it made the investment more affordable. Buddies of different sizes can share a quiver, because they won’t be riding the same size kite at the same time.
One way to get started in kiteboarding is in a semi-private lesson, with your buddy and you. Find somebody who you want to learn the sport with and sign up for a class together. Your instructor can help you work on being good buddies, and show you how to practice together as a team.
When you are both riding upwind you can ride together. So you will need two sets of gear. There will usually be a stronger buddy who will launch the weaker buddy first. The stronger buddy may need to learn the self-launch, so he can get off the beach later if there is no one else around.
The ride buddy should know how to help you on the water, and practice bringing your board back to you. You may want to give your ride buddy a kite knife for Christmas, because he may need to save you with it. You should also teach each other about your own kite safety systems, because your buddy may need to get you unhooked quickly in an emergency.
Advanced buddies can rescue you and tow you in to shore using their harness handle, and sometimes they can even rescue your loose kite if it gets away from you (only advanced kiters should attempt this).
Rent a buddy
When you go to a new place you may not know anyone, but you can always rent a buddy. Many people will hire a local kiteboarding instructor at a new spot to be their ride buddy. The instructor can be; a buddy, a coach, and a guide. This is probably the best way to integrate into any new spot.
The ultimate buddy is the one that you can plan kiteboarding trips with. Someone who shares your passion and makes you excited about the sport.
Don’t teach your girlfriend, but they can be your buddy later.
Always keep your eye on your buddy.
Never leave your buddy alone.
Know your buddy’s gear, and safety system.
Learn CPR/ First Aid to be a better buddy.
Learn self-rescue and board recovery techniques
Learn Rider rescues and kite recovery.
Go halves in buying a Go-pro camera.
When your buddy calls, you have to drop everything and go.
Take care of your buddy and s/he will take care of you.
David Dorn is the owner of Action Sports Maui kiteboarding School in Hawaii, and is a regular contributor to this magazine.