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Kiteboarding 101: Everything You Need to Know

A step-by-step guide to Silicon Valley's most popular extreme sport.

The Board

"The board that you strap to your feet is just as important as the kite you are flying over your head," says Ben Meyer, founder of the kiteboard manufacturing company Axon. "When buying your first board, get one that is easy to use but one that will be able to grow with you as your skills improve." Boards with a large surface area will be easier to get a good foothold for balance on but will also be harder to maneuver with on the water because of the extra bulk. "The best all-around boards are going to be in the 'Freeride' category," says Meyers. "Buy a board that has a fairly square outline, a moderate rocker, and a medium flex."

Karmen Brown of Cabrinha Kites suggests taking your height and weight into consideration when choosing your first board. Go for a size that will proportionately suit your body, but also think about a few other key features of the board and how they will translate for you: "bottom shapes, outlines, flex, and rocker," says Brown. "Each perform a unique function, fine-tuning how the board rides through the water according to its width from tip to tail, fin setup, rocker, and outline." Brown recommends testing out a few boards before you get one of your own. See what works for you and talk with your local kiteboarding shop about these points.

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