How long does it take to learn Kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing Fun at The Blue Lagoon Dahab Egypt

How long does it take to learn Kitesurfing? Learning to Kitesurf can vary significantly from person to person.

It depends on several factors, including individual aptitude, previous experience with water sports, and the conditions during lessons.

For those who know nothing about the sport (Kitesurfer and Kiteboarder refer to the same sport, and the sport is referred to differently depending on what part of the world you are in)

Here’s a rough estimate based on IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) standards on how long it takes to learn Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding:

It’s essential to emphasise that the IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) certification levels are guidelines, and the time required may vary.

Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1

Explaining Kite Attachment and Safety

The Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1 is the first step in the International

Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certification program. 

It is designed to introduce newcomers to Kitesurfing and provide them with a solid foundation of basic skills and knowledge. 

Here’s more information about this introductory level:

Aim of Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1:

The primary goal of the Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1 is to familiarise students with the essential aspects of Kitesurfing and to ensure they have a safe and controlled introduction to flying a kite. 

At this level, students are not yet riding on a board but are focused on mastering kite control and understanding key safety measures.

Key Components and Learning Objectives:

Kite Setup: 

Students learn to set up and prepare their kites for flight, including inflating the kite and correctly attaching the lines.

Safety Procedures: 

Safety is emphasised from the very beginning. 

Students are taught how to use the kite’s safety systems, including the quick-release mechanisms, to ensure they can quickly and safely depower the kite if needed.

Kite Control on Land: 

Level 1 primarily takes place on land. 

Students learn to control the kite while standing on the beach or in a suitable area. 

This includes learning how to launch and land the kite safely.

Basic Kite Manoeuvres: 

Students are introduced to basic kite manoeuvres, such as flying the kite in a figure-eight pattern, flying it up and downwind, and generating power and lift with the kite.

Safety and Etiquette: 

Students are educated about general kitesurfing safety guidelines and etiquette, including avoiding obstacles, giving other riders the right of way, and following local regulations.

Typical Duration:

The Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1 course typically spans 6 to 9 hours of instruction. 

This timeframe lets students become comfortable with kite handling, safety procedures, and essential kite control. 

However, as mentioned earlier, the time required can vary depending on individual progress and factors like prior experience in related water or board sports.

Certification and Progression:

Upon completing Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1, students receive an IKO certification for this level. 

They are then prepared to move on to Level 2, where they will start transitioning into the water and continue building their kitesurfing skills.


Students at Level 1 typically use a trainer kite, a smaller, more manageable kite designed for learning purposes. 

These kites are less powerful than full-sized kites, making them ideal for beginners to practice kite control on land.

Overall, Discovery Kiteboarder Level 1 is the foundation upon which students build their kitesurfing skills. 

It provides a safe and structured introduction to the sport, ensuring participants have the knowledge and control to progress to the following levels in the IKO certification program.

Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2

Explaining Kite Control To Kitesurfing Student

Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2 

Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2 is the second stage in the International Kiteboarding Organisation (IKO) certification program. 

This level builds upon the skills and knowledge acquired in Level 1, representing a significant step toward becoming a proficient kitesurfer. 

Here’s a more detailed look at Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2:

Aim of Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2:

The primary aim of Level 2 is to transition students from essential kite control on land to becoming more comfortable and competent in the water. 

Students start practising body dragging at this stage, a crucial skill for retrieving a lost board and gaining confidence in the water.

Key Components and Learning Objectives:

Water Entry and Exit: 

Students learn how to enter and exit the water with their kites safely.

Body Dragging: 

Body dragging is a fundamental skill in Kitesurfing. 

It involves using the kite’s power to move through the water without a board. 

Students practice various body dragging techniques, including upwind and downwind body dragging.

Water Relaunch: 

Students are taught how to relaunch the kite from the water, which is essential if the kite crashes into the water during a session.

Board Recovery:

Any kitesurfer must learn to recover a lost board. 

Students practice board recovery techniques while keeping control of the kite.

Basic Board Skills: 

While not yet riding on the board at this level, students start getting comfortable with the board in the water, including how to attach it to their feet and maintain control.

Safety and Self-Rescue: 

Safety remains a key focus, and students learn self-rescue techniques to handle emergencies safely.

Typical Duration:

Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2 typically requires 6 to 9 hours of instruction beyond Level 1. 

The time needed can vary depending on individual progress, water comfort, and prior kite control experience.

Certification and Progression:

Upon completing Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2, students receive an IKO certification for this level. 

With these skills, students are prepared to move on to Level 3, where they will continue to build their board skills and work towards becoming independent riders.


During Level 2, students generally continue to use trainer kites and may begin to use small inflatable kites. 

The choice of kite depends on the student’s progress and the instructor’s assessment of their readiness for more advanced equipment.


Level 2 lessons are typically conducted in shallow water or areas with gentle currents to ensure the safety of students as they practice body dragging and other water-based skills.

Intermediate Kiteboarder Level 2 represents a crucial stage in a kitesurfer’s development, as it introduces them to the water and the beginning of board-related skills. 

Students are encouraged to focus on safety, proper techniques, and building a solid foundation for their future kitesurfing adventures.

Independent Kiteboarder Level 3:

Learning to Loop a Kite

Independent Kiteboarder Level 3:

Independent Kiteboarder Level 3 is a significant milestone in the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certification program. 

Students are expected to have a solid foundation in kite control, water skills, and safety procedures at this stage. 

Independent Kiteboarder Level 3 represents transitioning from a beginner to a more proficient and confident kitesurfer. 

Here are the key details about this level:

Aim of Independent Kiteboarder Level 3:

The primary aim of Level 3 is to prepare students to become independent riders. 

This means they should be capable of handling various conditions and riding comfortably in the water. 

This level also places a strong emphasis on safety awareness and self-sufficiency.

Key Components and Learning Objectives:

Board Riding:

Level 3 introduces students to board riding. 

They learn to get on the board and start riding while controlling the kite. 

This includes learning to ride both heelside and toeside.

Upwind Riding: 

Riding upwind (against the wind direction) is a key skill for kitesurfers.

Students work on techniques to make progress upwind, which allows them to explore more extensive areas in the water.


Students begin practising transitions between different directions while riding.

This includes turning the board and changing directions smoothly.

Self-Launch and Self-Landing: 

Level 3 includes lessons on independently launching and landing the kite safely, essential for solo sessions.

Advanced Safety Procedures: 

Students continue to refine their understanding of safety procedures, including self-rescue techniques and how to assist other kitesurfers in distress.

Typical Duration:

Reaching Independent Kiteboarder Level 3 typically requires approximately 12 to 20 hours of instruction, including the time spent at Levels 1 and 2. 

However, the actual duration can vary based on individual progress, prior experience, and the quality of instruction.

Certification and Progression:

Upon completing Independent Kiteboarder Level 3, students receive an IKO certification for this level. 

At this point, they are considered independent riders and ready to explore kitesurfing independently. 

Many students continue their kitesurfing education by progressing to higher levels and mastering advanced tricks and manoeuvres.


During Level 3, students typically use medium-sized inflatable kites that provide more power and control. 

The kite size choice depends on the wind conditions and the student’s weight and skill level.


Level 3 lessons are conducted in various water conditions, allowing students to gain experience in different environments and adapt to changing wind and water conditions.

Independent Kiteboarder Level 3 represents a significant achievement for kitesurfers. 

It signifies the ability to ride independently, safely, and with greater confidence. 

Students are encouraged to continue their kitesurfing journey by exploring more advanced skills and progressing to higher levels in the IKO certification program if they wish to master advanced tricks and manoeuvres.

Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4:

Riding the Kiteboard at The Blue Lagoon Dahab Egypt

Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4 is a pivotal stage in the International Kiteboarding Organisation (IKO) certification program. 

Students are expected to have a strong foundation in kite control, water skills, and board riding at this level. 

The focus now shifts towards mastering advanced techniques, tricks, and manoeuvres, enabling kitesurfers to reach a high level of proficiency and style. 

Here’s an in-depth look at Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4:

Aim of Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4:

The primary aim of Level 4 is to advance students’ skills to the point where they can confidently and safely execute a range of advanced manoeuvres, jumps, and tricks. 

This level encourages creativity and style in Kitesurfing, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved on the water.

Key Components and Learning Objectives:

Advanced Tricks and Maneuvers: 

Students begin mastering advanced tricks and manoeuvres, such as kite loops, board-offs, handle passes, and unhooked tricks. 

These tricks involve getting airborne and performing acrobatic moves while riding the board.

Jumping Techniques: 

Level 4 emphasises jumping skills, including controlled take-offs, high jumps, and soft landings. 

Students learn to harness the power of the kite for impressive aerial moves.

Advanced Riding Techniques: 

Students refine their riding techniques, including carving turns, riding switch (riding with the opposite foot forward), and controlling the board precisely.

Strapless Riding: 

Some students may explore strapless riding, which involves riding without foot straps on the board. 

This adds an extra level of challenge and style to Kitesurfing.

Wave Riding: 

Level 4 may include wave-specific skills like riding waves, executing bottom turns, and staying in control in challenging surf conditions for those interested in wave kitesurfing.

Typical Duration:

Reaching Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4 typically requires 20 to 30 hours of instruction and practice. 

This duration is in addition to the time spent at Levels 1 through 3. 

The exact time needed can vary depending on the individual’s aptitude, practice frequency, and the quality of instruction.

Certification and Progression:

Upon completing Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4, students receive an IKO certification for this level. 

At this stage, they are considered proficient kitesurfers with the skills to perform advanced tricks and manoeuvres.


In Level 4, students typically use full-sized inflatable kites and boards suited to their riding style, whether freestyle, wave riding, or another discipline. 

The choice of equipment depends on the student’s preferences and local conditions.


Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4 lessons can be conducted in various conditions, including flat water, waves, or other suitable locations for practising advanced manoeuvres. 

Wind conditions are crucial at this level, as students often rely on the kite’s power for jumps and tricks.


Safety remains a priority in Level 4, emphasising risk management during advanced manoeuvres. 

Students should use appropriate safety gear and exercise caution while attempting tricks.

Advanced Kiteboarder Level 4 represents a significant achievement for kitesurfers who are passionate about pushing the boundaries of the sport. 

At this stage, riders have developed high skill, style, and confidence on the water, making kitesurfing an exhilarating and rewarding experience. 

Many kitesurfers continue progressing and innovating in the sport by exploring new tricks and manoeuvres beyond Level 4.

Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5:

Turning on The Kiteboard at The Blue Lagoon Dahab Egypt

Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5 is among the highest in the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certification program. 

This level represents the pinnacle of kitesurfing proficiency, encompassing advanced skills, mastery of various riding styles, and the ability to handle a wide range of conditions. 

Here’s a comprehensive overview of Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5:

Aim of Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5:

The primary aim of Level 5 is to advance students to an elite level of Kitesurfing.

Riders must demonstrate high competence and creativity in their kitesurfing endeavours at this stage. 

Level 5 encourages personal evolution and innovation in the sport.

Key Components and Learning Objectives:

Advanced Freestyle Tricks: 

Level 5 emphasises mastering advanced freestyle tricks and manoeuvres. 

Students work on complex aerial moves, rotations, and combinations. This includes handle passes, kite loops, spins, and more.

Big Air and Mega Loops: 

Students learn to achieve significant airtime and perform big jumps with style and control. 

Mega loops, where the kite is looped aggressively during a jump, highlight this level.

Extreme Riding Styles: 

Riders can explore extreme kitesurfing styles, such as wake style (using bindings on the board) or strapless freestyle (riding without foot straps). 

These styles require precision and creativity.

Wave Mastery: 

For wave enthusiasts, Level 5 may involve mastering advanced wave riding techniques, including more aggressive bottom turns, vertical riding, and expert navigation in challenging surf conditions.

Competition and Performance: 

Some students at this level may enter kitesurfing competitions or participate in freestyle events to showcase their skills.

Safety and Rescue Training: 

Advanced riders refresh and enhance their safety and rescue skills, ensuring they can handle challenging situations effectively.

Typical Duration:

Reaching Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5 is highly individual and takes dedicated practice and progression beyond Level 4.

You will learn and demonstrate various tricks that include the following:

1 – Hop to toeside

2 – Hop from toeside to heelside

3 – Hop to blind

4 – Ride blind

5 – Jump transition

6 – Jump transition with grab

7 – Jump transition to toeside

8 – Backroll

9 – Backroll transition

10 – Long distance downwinder

11 – Various grabs

12 – Inverted jump

13 – Pop (no kite movement)

14 – Dark slide

15 – Downloop (no jump)

16 – Downloop jibe

17 – Kiteloop (no jump)

The time frame for achieving this is 1 hour of instruction per skill.

It also depends on the rider’s natural talent, commitment, and passion for the sport.

Certification and Progression:

Level 5 certification represents personal progression and expertise. 

Kitesurfers at this level are recognised for their exceptional Kitesurfing skills.


At Level 5, riders typically use advanced kites and boards tailored to their riding style. 

The choice of equipment depends on the rider’s preferences and the type of Kitesurfing they wish to pursue.


Advanced kitesurfers at this level are comfortable in various conditions, including strong winds, waves, and flat water. 

They have the experience and skill to adapt to different environments and make the most of the conditions.

Innovation and Creativity:

Level 5 encourages riders to innovate, create new tricks, and push the boundaries of kitesurfing. 

Many riders at this level contribute to the evolution of the sport by introducing novel techniques and manoeuvres.

Evolution Freeride Kiteboarder Level 5 represents one of the highest kitesurfing skill and achievement levels. 

Riders at this level are proficient in advanced tricks and manoeuvres and exhibit a deep passion for the sport and a dedication to pushing the limits of what is possible on the water.

It’s a stage where kitesurfers become true ambassadors of the sport and continue to inspire others through their creativity and mastery.

Factors Influencing Learning Time:

Personal Aptitude: 

Some individuals have a natural talent for Kitesurfing and may progress more quickly than others.

Frequency of Practice: 

Consistent practice and time on the water can significantly speed up the learning process.

Quality of Instruction: 

Effective, experienced instructors can accelerate learning and ensure students build a strong foundation.

Weather Conditions: 

The availability of suitable wind conditions is a crucial factor. Learning during periods of consistent wind can expedite progress.

Individual Learning Curve: 

Everyone learns at their own pace, and some students may need more time to feel comfortable and confident in the water and with kite control.


Safety should always be a priority, and students should take the time to become proficient in managing kitesurfing risks.

In conclusion, learning to kitesurf is a dynamic and personal journey. 

While the IKO certification levels provide a structured framework, the time it takes to progress through them can vary widely. 

Students must prioritise their safety, receive proper training under the guidance of a qualified instructor and remain patient while working toward their kitesurfing goals.