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Petra Kanz Instructor Profile


Originally from Salzburg, Austria, Petra gave up a career in Music and Art to teach watersports. Having done so for the last 19 years (including working for ABK Board Sports and a number of shops on the East Coast) she is still focusing on getting women involved and into the liquid element. Having added Stand Up Paddle boarding and Yoga to her repertoire has helped with that goal.

Testimonials for Petra Kanz - Kiteboard Instructor first instructor and I sincerely appreciated your thoroughness, knowledge of equipment and safety, ability to teach and connect with various personality types and your professionalism. Since taking lessons from you, I’ve had two other instructors and although I made progress and eventually became IKO certified, they were not half as qualified or knowledgeable as you. I’ve actually needed to use some of the self-rescue techniques you taught during our windless days in 2012 and had I not learned from you, who knows where I’d be today. Since so many students are so anxious to get up and ride and instructors are so motivated by cranking out students, self-rescue techniques are explained, but not practiced in lessons; let’s face it – they’re not fun. Thank you for teaching your students all skills necessary to be safe, aware and confident kiters. You are an OUTSTANDING instructor, Petra and am so grateful to have learned so much about kiteboarding from you.

- Margie Tuttle

When I made the decision to learn to kiteboard (also called kitesurf), I quickly realized that I needed to seek out an expert, and not some novice who was just a step or two ahead of me. I wanted someone who'd been kiting for years and had the type of experience that made it likely they could kitesurf as easily as most of us drive a car. I found such a person in Texas named Petra (Petra, if you're reading this, thank you!). I still have a lot to learn, but thanks to my expert instructor, I'm well on my way. Not only did I learn what to do, but I learned a lot about what not to do!

- B Waliszewski

Traveled from Minnesota to South Padre Island for kiteboarding lessons and had an excellent experience at Air Padre.  They have a very knowledgable and friendly staff..and Petra was an awesome instructor.  With my safety as her primary concern she patiently worked me through each step of instruction. You could tell that Petra knew her stuff but the trick for any instructor is to be able pass that on to the student. Petra did that with a combination of demonstration, repetition, honest feedback and honest encouragement ...oh and did I mention patience. She goes at your speed and makes sure you have it right before moving on. When you go to Air Padre ask for Petra. I am heading back there next month for more lessons.

- T Reid

Our greatest concern with learning to kite board was safety and control. Petra took us through a progression of instruction that included kite rigging, trainer maneuvers, launching and kite control which was excellent. Her instruction always explained what to do and what not to do to ensure we knew what to do to keep safe, control the kite, and why the action controlled the kite. Her final lesson to us both was on launching and landing the kite for each other so we can now practice the skills we learned at our local area. We have both had lessons in many activities ranging from rock climbing to windsurfing, and Petra was by the far the best instructor we have ever had! She was patient and knew when to push us beyond our comfort level, and when to repeat drills which we had not yet mastered. We look forward to returning to Padre to continue our kiteboarding progression of skills in further lessons with Petra.

- Ken Waesche

I had the pleasure to take kite lessons from Petra - a very experienced instructor with a real focus on security, while making you actually feel safe, not scared, of kite surfing. She went out of her way to make sure I got as much kiting hours as possible despite the bad wind, jumping out of her personal duties to accomodate my schedule and the weather, with the most positive attitude. The place is great to learn to kite, because you have flat waters and (often) good wind.

- Jopicq
Rio de Janeiro

My wife and I have windsurfed for over 25 years and have hesitated to try kiteboarding because of the stories of accidents we have heard. Tired of light wind sailing we signed up for lessons with Petra at Air Padre on South Padre Island. We made it very clear that safety was our first priority, and that if we did not get up on the board that was fine with us. Petra took us through a steady progression of instruction on kiteboarding which always challenged us and increased our self confidence as our skills advanced. Starting with basic theory on the wind envelope we progressed through kite set up, launching, landing, kite control, two handed steering, upwind body drags (with and without board) and self rescue. She provided instruction to us on assisting each other during launching and landing. After 8 hours of instruction we can rig, launch, ride upwind and return to shore. Absolutely the most patient, skilled and thorough instructor we have ever had in any sport!

We worked with Joel in the shop and he was great in providing us with advice and options on the purchase of kiting gear to further pursue the sport. We were tending to move too quickly on some gear, and both he and Petra advised us not to over reach and buy more until we had progressed further. Very honest and professional people! We highly recommend Air Padre and Petra / Joel if you are considering learning this sport, safely. Do NOT be seduced by promises from others that you will "be up on the board" in 4 hours or any given time! Everyone learns at their own pace and a good instructor will match your ability with a safe pace of instruction. Last thing you want is to be trolling like bait behind a kite on a downwind reach with no clue on how to get out of it, much less why it is happening. You want to be able to rig safely, launch from land and return near where you started. If (when) things go wrong, knowledge of self rescue techniques is a must! Take it slow, be thorough with Petra's progression and you will advance further, safely!!

- Ken W.
Sedalia, Colorado

My wife Charlene and I just got back from a week on the island. We each had a lesson and I was expertly guided into buying a 12m Airush lithium; the best kite I have ever ridden.

After a week popping in and out of the shop and seeing Joel and Petra almost daily both in the store and on the North North flats, it felt like we were being helped by two experienced instructors. Both were always willing to share their experience in the shop and on the water; the lessons we had were the most comprehensive we have ever had. The remote-mike coaching by Petra finally got me staying upwind; I’m forever grateful as are the various drivers who have had to come get me downwind in the past.

For us, Airpadre is synonymous with the enjoyment of our stay at South Padre and a HUGE part of the fantastic memories we have.

Anyone looking to get started or get better at kite boarding owes it to themselves to start at Airpadre with Joel and Petra.

- John and Charlene

I've had the privilege of taking kiteboarding lessons with Petra over the past several years. Initial lessons focused on basic kiting skills and developing the ability to stay upwind. After having a very serious accident while kiteboarding in Alabama (completely my stupid fault), I was spooked and left the sport for a period of almost 2 years.

I eventually made the decision to try the sport again, but was very nervous after my accident. I knew I wanted Petra again as my instructor, and she was extremely understanding, patient, and encouraging. She got me up on the board within an hour, and it was one of the best days I've ever had on the water. No doubt...she's the absolute best instructor I've ever had.

- WesLSU
Saint Louis, Missouri

I came to airpadre as a total beginner to kiting. They worked with my schedule, and Petra showed tremendous patience and skill to introduce the sport. Petra made the complex process seem easy, and fun. I can't wait to call airpadre the next time I am going to Texas! Professor, Drury University

- Sean Terry, PhD
Professor, Drury University

Petra was great in communicating with us about the wind and adjusting the appointment accordingly. At the training site we really appreciated her friendly demeanor and thoroughness. Petra was great at covering every detail in wind theory, equipment, rigging, safety, and procedures, yet has the ability to sense the student ability and adapt the lesson accordingly.

Previous to the lesson, Isaac's only experience was one day with me and a trainer kite. In only the span of an afternoon, Isaac was able to experience his first kite launch with a board. I really appreciate how Petra put so many small details together to make the sport safe and enjoyable.

- Mark Simpson
Wichita, Kansas


----- IKO and PASA Certified Instructors -----
5709 A Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, Texas 78597  |  956-299-9463  |  9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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