We generally ask students to meet at the school at either 10:00am (beginners), or 11:00am. This ensures there is time to get everyone kitted up for the day, and to run through any theory before we go out on the boats. The wind is predominately thermal here, and generally picks up at lunchtime. We will always try to ensure we leave before the wind picks up too much so that the boat ride to the spot is more comfortable.
Once we’re at the spot we will launch your kites as soon as the wind is sufficient. After that it’s up to you: you can kite until either the wind or your energy runs out!
We usually return to Gera Lario by 16:00-17:00.
The lessons offered at many well-known beach spots are quite different to what we offer, hence the difference in price:
- They charge by the hour, and much of your lesson time will be spent walking upwind with the kite. We have a vast expanse of lake for you to play around in, and if you do need to go upwind then we drive you in the boat. This means you spend far more time learning to kitesurf in water, rather than flying a kite on the land.
- Kiting on a lake involves costs that kiting from a beach does not: fuel, boats, boat insurance…
All our instructors are fully qualified with the IKO and/or VDWS. If you want to learn to kite properly they’re worth every penny.
- We have a maximum of four people in lessons per boat and per instructor at any time. For beginners kites are generally shared between two students until they have mastered control of the kite (usually no more than a couple of hours). After that each student has their own kite: no sharing one kite between 8 people!
The price per hour of actual learning time is actually very similar or cheaper here on the lake, and you’ll generally need to take far fewer lessons than from a beach.
Want to know more? Check out our “Why 414Kiting” page.
We only ask for payment in advance if you want to definitively reserve the spaces, as then we take the spaces off sale. This gives you 100% security that we have the places booked on the days you want, and also enables us to plan our groups effectively.
If you’re unsure of your travel plans & want to keep things flexible then it’s no problem to book last minute, but bear in mind that weekend spots & the high season can fill up several weeks in advance.
If you do book in advance and then have to make changes or need to cancel we still try to be fair & as flexible as possible. Any changes/cancellations less more than 14 days in advance are valid for a full refund of the prepaid amount. Any changes/cancellations after this point are not valid for a refund and we’d recommend contacting your travel insurance, but if we are able to fill the some or all of the spaces you booked then we are more than happy to refund you for these =)
- Water – it’s a long day on the lake
- Swimming clothes (to wear under your wetsuit)
- A snack – we suggest this is something high energy that you can eat on the 20min boat ride to the spot. You won’t be able to get back on the boat half way through a lesson to eat your lunch.
- Sun cream – sun burn isn’t cool
- Sunglasses – if you can get sunglasses with a sports band, do: reflected light from the water can cause damage to your eyes.
- Camera – because it’s beautiful, and if we have time we can take some photos of you learning to kite.
Generally we split groups by ability as this ensures you receive the best attention possible. If we are able to put you in the same group without detracting from yours or other people’s sessions, then of course we will. All groups kite in the same area though, so you’ll be close together whatever.
There’s no official age limit, but it is restricted by weight (around 35kg minimum), confidence to learn in deep water, and the required attention span. For most kids age 13/14 is when it becomes possible to teach them in a group-lesson environment, but there are options for younger kids in private lessons, so please send us an email if you have children under 13 who wish to learn to kite, as we can advise you on best options.
Unfortunately we generally are unable to take people on the group lesson boats unless they are taking lessons. This is due to limited space, and for safety reasons.
Our boats are also small, and they don’t have toilet facilities or shade from the sun, so they’re not a comfortable place to spend a long period of time. It’s much more comfortable to be on the land for anyone not kiting! On private boats extra passengers are welcome, though numbers limited.
WIND & WEATHER FORECASTS
We have kiteable conditions on around 95% of days in our summer season, but if we’re unlucky with the wind and there isn’t sufficient to run your lesson then, unlike a lot of other schools we’d refund you the prepaid amount for that day, as we don’t think it’s fair to charge you for something you haven’t had.
The only condition we have is that it is up to the instructors to decide what is sufficient wind: They’re fully qualified and know when it’ll work. Just because it’s not blowing 30kts doesn’t mean you can’t have fun & learn. As a rule of thumb, 12 knots is sufficient wind to start kiting well and having fun with the right equipment.
Wind forecasting websites like Windy/Windguru/Windfinder are great resources for a lot of kite spots, but they generally look at frontal systems, not thermal systems. The wind we generally kite on is a thermal wind so isn’t picked up by these sites. We use a number of different resources to get a good idea of what will happen each day (be aware that general forecasts aren’t normally very accurate more than 3-4 days ahead of time).
You can read more about the winds and forecasting conditions on Lake Como on our kitespot page, and you’re welcome to call/email/message us at any time for advice.
CANCELLATION & BOOKING CHANGES
We try to be as flexible as possible and to help us do this we ask that you give us as much notice as possible if you intend to cancel your lesson, as this allows us time to offer your space to someone else. Your pre-payment will be fully refunded unless you cancel less than 14 days before the lesson. Any cancellations less than 14 days before the lesson will be subject to a 100% charge of booked sessions unless we can fill your space with another student, in which case we’re more than happy to refund the full amount =)
OPTIONS FOR ADVANCED KITERS
Here at 414Kiting we specialise in lessons & coaching sessions for kiteboarding, kitefoiling, and wing foiling. Our boats are small and not designed to take the large number of riders that you need to be able to take to effectively run a shuttle service, and it’s not possible to mix shuttle riders with our lessons for quality & logistical reasons. If you’re an advanced rider but want to progress through coaching then take a look at our coaching & foiling pages. If you just want to ride then there are plenty of spots around the lake where you can launch from the land (you can read about them on our kitespot guide), and there are also kite shuttle services around the lake.
Coaching sessions & lessons can be tailored to what you need & want. If you don’t want a lesson but you’re not confident that you can stay upwind, or you want to be able to try new tricks without worrying what happens if you mess up then you can join one of our advanced groups. Our instructors will be there with the boat to keep an eye on you & help you if you need it, but there’s no pressure to try something new every day – just having the time to ride and cement what you already know is hugely beneficial to progress.