Kitesurfing vs surfing: which is better? (Part 2)

Is it difficult to learn to kitesurf?

People often say kiteboarding has a steep learning curve, which actually requires learning 2 different skill sets, including flying a kite and riding a board while in surfing, surfer only need to manage the board.

Most beginners, however, went through that learning curve relatively quick with some initial lessons.  They will typically get up and ride on a twintip kiteboard after just 8 – 10 hours of proper instruction.  A few more hours of self-practice and you will easily master the skills.

Learning to kitesurf on a surfboard, kiteboard or directional board in waves will need some extra water time and practice.  Different from surfing when surfers already ride and have fun with the kite before mastering wave-riding techniques.

People trying to choose between kitesurfing and surfing often get held up by the complexity of setting up and using the kiteboarding equipment.  However, it is a critical part of the basic training and can typically be mastered in a few hours.

So overall, you may find kitesurfing significantly easier to learn than surfing despite the fact that surfing seems simpler and less intimidating at first.  Surfing actually is a very demanding sport with a more difficult learning curve and requires very strong dedication.

Are weather conditions usually more important to surfing or kitesurfing?

Obviously, you need waves for both activities – surfing and kitesurfing. You will need high-period swells with optimal orientation based on local spot’s orientation. Obviously, the biggest difference in the ideal conditions for these two sports is wind speed.

For surfing, the best conditions are no wind at all – or light offshore wind blowing towards the sea which can help the waves hold up longer.

For kitesurfing, the best conditions are a lot of wind (the very least of 12 knots, or ideally 15-25 knots). Wind direction should be either side-onshore or side-shore.
Slightly offshore wind can create better waves for surfing, but can dangerous as the wind will pull you out to sea. Therefore, only advanced kitesurfers should ride in offshore wind.