Learn Kitesurfing in 4 days
With the current great summer weather on the Baltic Sea, our travel blogger Anja knew only one goal: Get out to the water and learn to kite. An experience report about a kite course in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern between success and belly landing, hoping for wind and playing castle mistress.
“Why do surfers always have long blonde hair?” Is there a connection between coolness, talent and salty sea air? I developed my theory a long time ago to classify these casual people, because it is well known that drawers provide security. Nevertheless, I was surprised when someone asked this question during my kitesurfing course at the Saaler Bodden with the guys from the Supreme Surfbus. And he got an amazingly simple answer:
“The long hair helps us to assess the wind direction correctly,” laughed mischievously at Andy, who looked like the prototype of a surfer with his blond, wavy hair and tanned face; and was my surf instructor.
That sounded obvious and I let my dark mane fly in the wind – after all I had a lot on my mind: Within the next four days I should become a real kiter.
The Saaler Bay is something like the holy grail of kiters, windsurfers and especially those who want to become one. Together with Ribnitz Lake on 80.5 km², the Bodden forms the largest water surface of the Fischland-Darß-Zingster Bay chain and is not even four meters deep at its deepest point. In most places, however, I was only hip-deep in the water, which was the ideal condition for learning windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Where exactly is the Surfbus?
Between Ribnitz-Damgarten and Barth, near the village Saal, surf lovers will find the bright red double-decker bus from Supremesurf since 2009. Every year during the entire water sports season from April to October, the bus is THE starting point in the region for beginners and advanced surfers, as the spot can be surfed in almost any wind direction.
Spacious assembly areas, brand new rental material and toilets, electricity, water and a jacuzzi invite you to chill out. Long after the course was over, I enjoyed the silence, absorbed the fresh air and saw myself full of the juicy rape fields. Claas, the operator of the surf bus, looked from time to time after the right and emanated a feeling of peace and satisfaction, which made me almost a little melancholy. He told me that a few years ago he had no longer wanted the confinement of a dark office job and decided to turn his hobby into his profession.I secretly admired his decision and decided to listen better to my wishes in the future.
The kitesurfing beginner camp – 5 days of intensive training
But before the project change of life is imminent, the guys from Supremesurf wanted to make me a kitesurfer. The surf bus offers courses for beginners, advanced and experts, and I decided on the four-day kitesurfing beginner camp. Actually Supremesurf offers five-day courses for 299,- €, in which a maximum of four participants per teacher learn to drive the first meters in 15 hours. I only had four days, 12 hours, but that should be enough to learn kite control, water start and body drag – as Andy assured me optimistically.
Day 1 – Dry run on land
The first day was completely dedicated to safety. Andy explained us the Safety First Training, the technical terms as well as wind science and trained us on the trainer kite, a so-called steering mat. This small practice kite provides for an optimal learning success on land, without me being dragged along by the taiga for meters, because the kite has less power than a real kite.
Next was the kite construction and the kite control and completely overwhelmed by the many new terms, I permanently tangled the lines or accidentally stepped on things that are super sensitive. I enviously looked at the other participants in the course flying their kite as if they had done nothing else since childhood. But Andy reassured me that I shouldn’t put myself under pressure and should always steer slowly and patiently.
„Kitesurfing is a sport of patience.“
Day 2 – Out on the water
On the second day I stood at the surf bus full of anticipation and could hardly wait to finally get into the water – even if the 10 degrees water temperature put me off. I desperately tried on several wetsuits on top of each other, and to be absolutely sure, I put on a thick neoprene coat. I walked clumsy towards the water and felt like a penguin on land. Two students shared one kite and as we were beginners we launched the kite in the water. Therefore we hiked with kite, handlebar and buoy a few hundred meters out on the Bodden.
The bar in my hand I waded the others and the big kite behind me in the Saaler Bodden, felt the weight of the 3 wetsuits and pulled an entire tank through the sandy ground in the water. Despite small attacks of weakness, I enjoyed feeling the wind in my hair and listening to the gentle sounds of rippling water. I was still a long way from being a real kiter, but I already felt like a part of the community.
In the water we pulled the kite into the air, manoeuvred it from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock in the air and back again. As these steps sat, the first water start attempts and the bodydrag – a manoeuvre in which the surfer is pulled through the water by the kite, steering the kite to the left and right. I was flying around in the water like I was in a horse-drawn carriage. I found this quite amusing and went trough half of the Saaler Bodden laughing. Less amusing was the tedious running back.
Day 3 – Waterstart Training
Waterstart training, board control and first meters were the learning goal on the third day. However, I was lame from the day before and had trouble slipping into my many layers of wetsuit. I felt muscles that I didn’t even know I had and the stiff neos tied me up so tight that I could hardly bend down. On that day Andy had his day off and Tino jumped in, a cheeky North German boy with an incomprehensible patience of angels. He advised me to go out in only one neoprene suit for an hour rather than drifting like a buoy in the water with all these layers and to be hardly mobile. And he was right.
By nature suspicious and an absolute frostbite I decided against the advice of the professionals and for my three Neos. I held the kite in the air at 12 o’clock, as Tino would have liked, but I could neither grab the board nor bring it under my feet at the same time. Unable to move I drifted on the water and tried and tried and tried the water start. Tino didn’t get tired of explaining what I had to do and held the board for me, but it just didn’t work out.
“That’s because of the many Neos,” Toni was sure that on the last day I would see with just one Neoprene suit how easy it would be to get it right. Embarrassed by so much positive optimism in my abilities I decided for the following day to finally grit my teeth and endure a few frostbite – like everyone else.
Day 4 – no wind, what now?
Kitesurfing is a sport that depends on many factors. If the wind blows from the wrong direction or it is not strong enough, then you have to turn your thumbs. There is absolutely no point in going out and trying to launch the kite out of the water for hours.
On the fourth day, the sun was shining brightly on the Saaler Bodden, but the flags on the surf bus hung down sadly on the mast. There was no wind at all.
So my plan to finally stand on the board seemed to be a long way off and I was a bit disappointed sitting around the surf bus.
To avoid disappointment, Supremesurf offers a wide range of water sports with windsurf boards and Stand Up Paddle Boards as an alternative program. The nearby water ski cableway in Körkwitz can also be tried out free of charge on windless days for kitesurf camp participants.
But I decided to end the day at one of the many beautiful beaches of the Baltic Sea in order to recover my tired muscles properly in the sun and in my mind to go through all the moves again.
I didn’t become a full-blooded kitesurfer within 4 days, but I was fond of sport, lifestyle and the community. I keep it rolling… or kiting.
Surfers stay overnight in the castle
Kitesurfers can stay overnight in Schloss Wiepkenhagen 15 minutes away. The castle is a summer castle and is only open from May to September because there is no heating. At the beginning of May I was a first-time occupant in 2016 and, so to speak, the sole owner of the castle for three nights.
What sounded exciting and glamorous at the beginning, first frightened me when I became aware of the extent of my decision to spend the night alone in a huge, old castle with creaking doors. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to watch six episodes of American Horror Story in a row the week before, went through my mind when I checked in.
But after a day full of movement, lots of fresh air and even more action I slept like a baby at Schloss Wiepkenhagen.
Surfbus Supremesurf Saaler Bodden
Telefon: 0381 46077071
Schloß Wiepkenhagen (Surfhostel)
You can find more information about Kitesurfing and Kiteschools in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at the Baltic Coast here: Kitesurfing now!
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