What Sets IKO Centers Apart from Other Kite Schools
17 Sep 2020
There's a huge number of kite schools to choose from when picking somewhere to start or continue your kitesurfing journey. It can be difficult to pinpoint what sort of kite school to choose... The cheapest one? The biggest one? The one with the best google rating? The school posing as an IKO Center? And how do you even know who is and who isn’t an IKO Center?
Well, that's exactly what this article is for, I'm here to help you identify IKO Centers from the rest and explain some reasons why I think they should be at the top of your list.
How do you know it's an IKO Center?
Usually, IKO Centers will promote themselves as being IKO affiliated, however, there are some cases where this is not true or a school may be falsely advertising themself. The safest way to check is by visiting the IKO website and searching for the school name under the "Centers" page.
When learning at an IKO Center you can rest assured that all instructors working there will be fully qualified. All Instructors will have trained for and passed both the IKO Instructor training courses (ATC & ITC). There is a high standard for passing these exams. You will be in safe hands!
All Instructors are trained in first aid to offer on the scene medical attention should anyone need it. Fingers crossed you won't!
This course will be re-sat every three years so any medical support your instructor does provide, will be to the latest regulations.
No time wasted
IKO Centers teach all beginner lessons on short lines. Regular kitesurf lines are approximately twenty meters long, short lines can be anywhere between five meters-ten meters in length. Reducing the line length is extremely beneficial when learning as it reduces the amount of power the kite can generate. This allows us to use a regular kitesurfing kite (LEI) from the very first lesson. Starting on the equipment you will use in the water just makes sense! None of the two-line power kites.
Don't get me wrong, a two-line power kite will still be extremely beneficial to your kite handling skills, but, not as beneficial as flying an LEI on short lines from the word go!
This also ties into the safety aspect, shorter lines take up less space! Therefore making the kite zone less cluttered with beginner lessons and freeing up more space for all you advanced riders out there!
Log your progress and have a clear progression path
The progression path has been developed and refined since the IKO was founded back in 2001. Nineteen years on and the progression path is still adapting to this day.
This experience is invaluable for anyone wanting to learn to kitesurf: you can expect to learn more in a few hours at an IKO Center than you may in a whole day at a non-affiliated school. Whether that's trying to get past the initial learning stage or mastering your latest unhooked or surfing manoeuvre. We've got you covered!
Personally, I love to have a progression path, so I can track my progress. For kitesurfing, the IKO has crafted these progression paths into four evolution pathways: wave-riding, freestyle, freeride, hydrofoil. Meaning even the most experienced kitesurfers have goals to strive for during lessons.
Learn on the go
At the end of every lesson at an IKO Center, you will be issued your vCard. This is a virtual card which can be accessed via the IKO app now available on the App store & google play store. Track your progress on the go and sign up to the kiter membership to unlock unlimited video tutorials, eBooks and eCourses.
The video tutorials are especially a favourite of mine, I will often get my students to study this material in between lessons as it can drastically speed up the learning process. And of course, all these tutorials are taught to the IKO Standards!
A worldwide network of schools
Each year, I teach many students who look to go abroad to various different kite destinations during their holiday period. The IKO is the only internationally recognized kiteboarding organization offering instruction in multiple countries around the world. It enables my students to travel and feel that they will receive the same level of tuition no matter what country they choose to visit. There are over 300 IKO Centers in over 60 countries worldwide. Providing instruction on such a large scale is helping to make kitesurfing a more accessible sport to learn.
This is where your vCard will come in handy. You can show it to the IKO Center as proof of your level and ensure you'll be placed in the correct class based on your ability. Less time wasted, more money saved!
Global Insurance for Kiters
Get peace of mind while you kite with worldwide liability and accident insurance coverage. This is now included in the kiter membership along with the electronic learning materials.