The International Kiteboarding Organization (I.K.O.)
Kiteboarder Skill Levels
The International Kiteboarding Organization (I.K.O.) is the world’s largest kiteboarding community, with a worldwide organization of kiteboarding schools, instructors, and kiteboarders. The IKO provides support for Instructors, Students and kiteboarding communities. The IKO Kiteboarding programs are designed to help you learn in a safe way while your IKO Instructor respects your rhythm and takes you through all the Kiteboarder Skill Levels so that you can reach your goals. The IKO Certification standards and training are recognized in over 40 countries worldwide. There is a worldwide network of affiliated schools and instructors. Each one has made a commitment to quality and safety. Every IKO School and Instructor became certified through hard work, dedication, training courses, qualification criteria and safety standards. You can recognize IKO Schools and instructors and products from their distinctive logos and trademarks. IKO schools, only use Current IKO Certified Instructors, and teach according to the safety standards. IKO Schools display certificates, flags, and issue IKO Kiteboarder Cards to every student. Only schools that meet the high standards can become IKO Affiliated Kiteboarding Schools.
SCHOOLS: Learning how to kiteboard in an IKO Affiliated Center assures safe and fast learning using quality tested methods that maneuver you safely off the beach and into the water! IKO affiliated centers all have liability insurance coverage.
INSTRUCTORS: Instructors are competent kiteboarders who have undergone Instructor Training Courses (ITC) and have learned the IKO teaching methodology. Kiteboard Instructor Training is intense, and includes communication, safety, lesson planning, rescues, and people skills. An IKO Instructor also commits to undergo ongoing training to stay current. There are different levels of instructor from Assistant, Level 1, Level, 2, Level 2 Senior, etc.
STUDENTS: Students learn using the latest proven teaching techniques. the Student progresses through the IKO learning levels from Discovery, Intermediate until they “graduate” as Independent level kiteboarders. Students receive a structured lesson plan, that is easy to follow and can be tailored to the individual. Students can switch between instructors and schools with the standardized teaching system.
MEMBERS: Students can become an IKO member and get access to the IKO community website, news, get discounts on gear, and automatically receive other member benefits, like free online education courses and free access to training videos. Membership is open to all kiteboarding students with their IKO Kiteboarder Certification Card.
LEVELS: Listed below are the IKO Kiteboarder Skill Levels. These Kiteboarder Skill Levels are a series of skills and tasks in the ideal sequence. The Skills chart allows students to gauge their progress and plan their training. They also help identify a student’s skill level, when transferring between schools, or when proving their level of competency. Every IKO Instructor gives the student a level at the end of every session. Every Student should receive their level listed on their Kiteboarder Card at the end of their training. The Skill Chart is also available on the IKO’s website, and in the IKO Kiteboarder Handbook, and Workbooks.
EDUCATION: IKO has an Online Education System that offers many courses to improve your knowledge in kiteboarding. Some courses are free to IKO members, and some courses can be taken for a fee. There are two Online education areas, one for the kiteboarding members, and one for the Pro-members (instructors). All levels of kiteboarder are encouraged to improve their knowledge, and continue their learning with the IKO’s Kiteboarder Online Education system.
PRODUCTS: IKO has a range of products to help kiteboarders, Instructional DVD’s and Kiteboarder Handbooks, and Manuals. The Progressions DVD Series is highly recommended. there are four levels; Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Professional.
IKO KITEBOARDER SKILL LEVELS
The following tables are a detailed explanation of the different skill levels that you can achieve.
The Kiteboarder Skill Levels – certification standards have been designed to: – validate your levels, from your first body drag to your first jump, – allow instructors to know exactly what you have learned and from what point to take up your training, – allow kiteboarding centers to know exactly what kind of equipment you are capable of renting. The Kiteboarder Card also allows you to get membership benefits. Every instructor must give his student his card!
Kiteboarder Skill Levels
Discovery Kiteboarder Program
Carry and set up the lines and kite
Determine the wind direction and upwind and downwind (windward, leeward).
Fly a small kite (inflatable, stunt kite, foil…) on the wind window edge and maintain it close to the ground.
Know how to stop the kite power in case of problem by releasing the bar. Be aware that the kite leash must be worn at all times, before kite launching and until landing.
Be aware of the area where the kite can fall down wind to the pilot.
Recover the kite on land.
Position the kite on request from 9 to 3 o’clock on the wind window edge.
Launch a kite with an assistant and choose the right angle to the wind.
Fly the kite in the power area without crashing it.
Twist and untwist the lines while the kite flies.
Recover a kite and secure it on land.
Land a kite with the help of an assistant.
Fly a kite hooked to the harness.
Pilot hooked to the harness with one hand.
Activate the harness release system or quick release located on a leader line.
Perform a downwind course by body dragging and using the power of the kite.
Relaunch a kite from the water.
Wind the lines in the water and recover the kite.
Perform a self-rescue in deep water.
Launch a kite alone on land.
Identify potential wind obstacles creating lift or down draft and be able to define the wind direction. Understand that practice with onshore wind is dangerous.
Kiteboarder level 1
Intermediate Kiteboarder Program
Define if the practice area is safe for practice.
Set up and check the equipment alone (kite, line, control bar).
Go away from the shore (with side-shore and side-on-shore wind) while body dragging, go down wind and come back to the shore.
In the water, pilot a kite with power from one side of the wind window to the other, passing by the power area. The pilot must be able to perform while piloting the kite at different heights from the water.
Perform the previously mentioned exercise while piloting with one hand.
Know the water start theory: board and body positioning, kite piloting.
Recover the board in deep water and position the feet in the foot-straps and keep the position while flying the kite.
Stand up on the board and ride while moving the kite up and down.
Set up a 4 line kite alone and check that it is properly done. Obligatory at this point if it hasn’t been done before.
Fly 4 line kite.
Activate the safety systems of a 4 line bar (power loop, kite leash).
Adjust a four line kite while using the power loop.
Adjust the trim system of a 4 line kite to avoid it to fly backward or to adjust the power.
Kiteboarder level 2
Independent Kiteboarder Program
Know the right of way rules.
Ride away from the shore and come back to the shore.
Edge on the heel and toe side to change the course.
Accelerate by edging down and moving the kite.
Stop by edging.
Be able to keep an edge.
Ride away from the shore and come back at starting point. Ride upwind.
Constantly ride upwind.
Recover the board without the leash, by body dragging upwind.
Ride a twin tip. Optional if it has been done before.
Switch of direction.
Know the theoretical approach to jumps.
Perform a small jump and land it.
Kiteboarder level 3
Beware of Imitations: It is easy to confirm the authenticity of Schools and Instructors. Affiliated IKO Schools are listed on the Official IKO Schools List. IKO Instructors are listed by country. If you cannot find your instructor on the IKO Instructor lists he may not be current or is probably uncertified. You can check an IKO School or Instructor’s standings by going to the official IKO Schools List, or the IKO Instructors List.
Get Certified with the IKO Kiteboarder card. Then you are eligible to become a member of the IKO worldwide organization. Membership includes many benefits including Kiteboarder Insurance.