CURRENTLY BOOKING 2018 TRIPS, CONTACT US TO INQUIRE OR RESERVE DATES AND become an independent kitesurfer THIS SUMMER!

El Norte Adventures offers lessons as an adventure tour from May to September, weekends are often booked months in advance of the summer. Contact Us to inquire about availability.

Trips typically start at 9 am on the first day and end at 9 pm on the last day, however timings are flexible to accommodate your schedule. All trips include pickup and drop off on Central/Northern Vancouver Island.

Pricing

Our all-inclusive kitesurfing adventure tours are $675/day for private or $475/day for a two person trip. The adventure tour includes all of the below and offers outstanding value to travellers. Three day tours include a free XCEL wetsuit or Ocean Rodeo trainer kite . Four day tours include a $500 gear credit from any of our suppliers.

Reserve to receive your trainer kite in advance of your lesson. Once you receive your trainer kite our instructor will arrange a skype chat with you to provide practice techniques and basic safety information. We have found very consistently that those who practiced flying their trainer kites progressed much faster during all stages of kitesurfing lessons. Being able to put the control of the kite on mental "auto-pilot" is the key to unlocking the freedom of kitesurfing.

INCLUDED WITH ADVENTURE TOUR

  • All transportation including local airport/ferry pickup and dropoff
  • Three meals and dessert provided by our amazing local caterer The Guerrilla Food Company, plus nutritious snacks during the day.
  • Our luxury cabin style camping equipment or transportation to local accommodations.
  • IKO qualified instructor and guide for duration of trip
  • Zodiac support for lessons and accessing remote areas
  • All kitesurfing equipment and safety gear (helmet, PFD, and booties)
  • A variety of amazing locations and activities unique to Vancouver Island during the morning before the wind picks up
  • Everything you need to enjoy your trip worry-free, such as sunscreen, headlamps, etc., - Just bring suitable footwear and clothing!

River tubing through a cave before an afternoon of kitesurfing lessons.

EXTRAS/ADMINISTRATION

  • Camping is beautiful and peaceful during the summer months on Vancouver Island and allows us to stay directly at the site of adventures. If you would prefer other accommodations let us know in advance - we will recommend and assist in booking one of the many local accommodations for you. Examples include:
  • Bring a wetsuit or:
    • We custom order wetsuits to ensure a perfect fit. Contact us at least a week in advance and we will send you a sizing chart. Good fit is the most important factor in a wetsuit's ability to keep you warm and comfortable.
    • Rentals are $25/day and applied as a credit should you wish to purchase your wetsuit at the end of the trip. We only use top quality products from XCEL.
  • Alcohol is not provided. Guests mays bring their own or ask to stop at a local store along the way! For safety reasons our staff hold the sole right to judge a student's sobriety before kitesurfing or any other adventure activity and may refuse or delay participation. 
  • Bring personal clothing for camping, sunglasses, bathing suit, personal medications or allergy prevention (EpiPen).
  • All participants must agree to and sign a liability waiver before participating.  The waiver is available for download here, and should be reviewed by both you and your lawyer prior to attending.

If you have a longer or unique trip in mind, head to the contact page and we will do our best to make it happen, including arranging other tours to compliment your kitesurfing holiday such as white water rafting, sea kayaking, and fishing charters. 

Kitesurfing is a rewarding and diverse sport, from laid back exploring of lakes and coastlines to amazing aerial maneuvers - it is accessible to a wide range of ages, interests, and fitness levels.

Learning to kitesurf

Gaining the sensation of mastery while cruising over the water navigating through waves is an unparalleled feeling. Kitesurfing equipment has progressed exponentially in the last few years in terms of both safety and intuitiveness, leading to a significantly reduced learning curve. Have a look at our options or contact us for more information.

Regardless of where you end up taking kitesurfing lessons, ensure safety is paramount in your approach and select a qualified and professional instructor who uses the latest equipment. Your first few times kitesurfing are the most critical to your enjoyment of the sport. Learning in a progressive manner under supervised conditions builds confidence and a solid foundation of muscle memory. Muscle memory is what makes kitesurfing enjoyable - being able to put the kite on "autopilot" and cruise around on your board exploring the water is what it is all about! Additionally, the below points are critical to a smooth learning curve:

  • to get up out of the water and riding the kiteboard, a powerful impulse from the kite is required, however progressive experience flying smaller kites in the water is critical to gaining confidence controlling a powerful kite. A common mistake is to move to a powerful kite too soon. This will get you riding the board faster but will create issues when you attempt to ride upwind and perform maneuvers which require aggressive kite control. We often see these issues in kitesurfers who have been in the sport for years whereas our students quickly progress in these areas due to their skill and confidence flying the kite aggresively.
  • A large beginner specific board is more efficient and will allow a smaller kite to work while short lines can help mitigate control issues such as oversteering. Being efficient with your board is another key aspect of kitesurfing. You will know you are riding inefficiently if you consistently feel like you are fighting the power of the kite.
  • flying the kite on land is by far the most dangerous aspect of learning. An instructor can launch your kite and pass it to you in the water once you are out a safe distance. After a couple lessons you will be comfortable enough with your kite control to launch the kite from land with an instructor or friend and just as importantly identify nearby hazards to avoid.
  • while you are learning self rescue techniques, an instructor nearby can provide pointers from a watercraft and help you troubleshoot any complications. It is critical to practice the self rescue during your lessons as you don't want to attempt to figure it out down the road when you are in a situation where you need to rely on it.

Ocean Rodeo makes a great 2m inflatable trainer kite we use when teaching to provide a safe progression to flying a full size kite. Even with this small kite, the initial flights should be conducted from knee to waist deep water and a a second person should hold on to the pilot's harness. If you are looking to minimize time spent taking lessons a quality trainer kite is a great investment, especially if split between a few interested friends!

Another often overlooked step is a 5m kite. Small kites used to be designed and built very heavy to stand up to the strongest winds and would not perform well in lighter winds due to their weight. Better materials and construction methods have allowed the new Ocean Rodeo Prodigy 5m to be light and stable enough to work great in moderate winds and is a intermediary step we use to transition each student from a trainer kite to regular sized kite.

El Norte instructs kitesurfing as an adventure tour from May to September to provide the best conditions to students. The tour construct also allows more time off the water with clients to teach topics such as identifying safe locations and weather to enable independent kitesurfing upon completion of lessons. For those traveling to BC from afar, there is no need to rent a vehicle or make camping arrangements to access unique locations on Vancouver Island rarely visited by tourists.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the tour format facilitates a great relationship and understanding of an individual's goals and learning style.

Outside of Vancouver Island's summer months, changing weather results in less consistent wind on the North Island's scenic lakes. However, strong south east winds typically initiate around this transition period and allow a variety of amazing spots to work around the Comox Valley. Check out our page on local lessons for more information.

Hourly lessons

From May - Sept lessons are conducted at Nimpkish Lake on the North Island. The Comox Valley also has lots of local kitesurfing days in the off season from Oct - Apr, however due to the less consistent wind over this season, participants in local lessons will require a somewhat flexible schedule and must be comfortable in colder water.

Lessons progress similarly to adventure tours where the below is covered in detail. The number of lessons required varies from person to person. The goal of our lessons is always to give students the confidence to safely practice and improve their kitesurfing independently, the most critical skills being identifying safe conditions, communicating with other kiters, and deep water self rescue. Kiting alone is not recommended and never a good idea for anyone who is not a very confident rider at a well-known spot. 

  • theory of kite flight and kite safety systems
  • practice identifying safe/unsafe locations and weather conditions for kitesurfing
  • fly a small inflatable trainer kite in knee to waist deep water
  • Nautical right-of-way rules and kite hand signals
  • launching and landing a kite with a partner
  • fly an under-sized kitesurfing kite on short lines with instructor attached in deep water
  • practice a full kite release and deep water pack-down with instructor and using the kite to self rescue back to shore.
  • theory of a kite power-stroke and rehearse board starts on the beach
  • conducting various body-dragging drills, such as working to stay upwind and generating power from a full-size kitesurfing kite
  • learning to get up on the board while being coached from the zodiac
  • techniques to stay upwind while riding
  • riding techniques
    • coming to a controlled stop
    • direction changes
    • toeside riding
    • sending the kite to jump!

Lessons cost $395 for a private four hour lesson or $275 per person for two person lesson. Local lessons include the use of all kitesurfing equipment and related safety gear. Head to the contact page to inquire further.

Bring your own wetsuit if you have one or we can custom order you one from XCEL to rent/purchase. Bring any personal medications or allergy prevention devices (EpiPen). All participants must agree to and sign a liability waiver before participating. The waiver is available for download here, and should be reviewed by both you and your lawyer prior to attending.