Joel and Petra have been the backbone of kiteboarding at South Padre Island for the 8 years that I have known them. Their skill, experience, and strong character ensures both effective lessons and recommendations on technique and equipment that you can trust.

Thank you both for helping me discover the fountain of youth that is kiteboarding.

Bruce Baker

Fort Collins, CO

Petra….my 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. I am so grateful to have learned so much about kiteboarding from you.

Margie Tuttle

I was a windsurfing student of Petra’s in New Jersey and later a Kiteboarding Student of Joel’s in SPI. Their teaching methods are similar in that they are able to successfully coach larger groups and yet identify the specific needs of an individual student. Time is not wasted. Instructions are clear with an emphasis on safety and most importantly fun!  If you are interested in learning a new sport or wanting to advance to the next level I highly recommend H2O Sports.

Dean Rizer

Minneapolis, MN

If you want to learn how to kiteboard, go to South Padre Island and learn from the best–Petra and Joel.  They emphasize safety, are very patient, will teach at a pace appropriate for you, and can talk the pros and cons of equipment so you can purchase what is best for you to get started.  I started my first lesson with Petra in a terrified state, and now I am kiteboarding!  South Padre Island is also the perfect location to learn, with a reasonable climate, steady wind, waist deep water, a wide open sound with no crowds on the water and plenty of lodging.  So if you want to pursue this sport, go with H2O Water Sports and SPI!

Maura, Woodinville, WA

I enthusiastically give Joel and Petra the highest possible rating for Kiteboard/Kitesurfing instruction. 1st of all, they have decades of experience Kiteboarding / Windsurfing.  When you work with them, you are working with some of the most experienced instructors around.  I have worked with ‘kids’ that call themselves instructors, and they have zero idea how to teach the sport, I always go back to Joel and Petra Through multiple lessons over the course of a season.  I have progressed from:

  • Never riding a board / flying a kite à
  • Riding upwind both directions / Transitions / Surfboard with no straps / Riding ocean side with waves / Toe-side upwind expertise / Down-winders / Back rolls / Down Loops / Little Jumps / Big Jumps that I land / etc.

They completely tailor their instruction on the level and capabilities of the student.  Beginning to advanced students will feel they are progressing as fast as they are capable. (Students will be given 100% attention.  Students will also never feel rushed or pushed too fast) Joel and Petra are also excellent at teaching the ‘correct way’ to Kiteboard.  This is critical for continuing to progress, as well as for Safety. Safety: I feel that I am in complete control of the situation at all times, no anxiety (kite setup / kite launch / self-launch / self-launch in water / landing a kite / self-rescue / emergency release / lines get wrapped / etc.)   Kiteboard Skills: I feel that my ‘form’ is excellent, especially compared to the folks that haven’t worked with Joel and Petra (riding position / weight distribution / light wind riding with a smaller kite / seamless transitions / big jumps where you land perfectly / going upwind toe-side / being equally proficient going right or left / total kite control). Another key compliment I would like to pay Joel and Petra’s is their ability to immediately see what you are doing wrong.  They also provide simple steps / visuals to help correct the issue.  I have been extremely frustrated with an area of my Kiteboarding at times. They will immediately identify the issue, explain to me with simple visuals, and have me working on exercises to correct by the end of my session! (I call them the ‘Kite Whisperers’ and they deserve it.) – Craig York, Dallas, TX

Over my kiteboarding career of now ten-plus years, I have had the pleasure of interacting with many kiteboarding outfits and instructors, but none as well run as H20 and as talented & nurturing as Petra. Having taught technically demanding water sports in the past as a springboard diving coach, I understand the importance of trust in the student-teacher relationship, and the importance of student safety while learning. I whole-heartedly recommend H20 and Petra! She has not only instructed my wife, but my two teenage daughters as well. All the lessons were efficiently taught and time-honored techniques used to advance skills in a safe and progressive way. In fact, come to think about it, I have never seen either of my daughters inadvertently depart the wind window with their kite, and their flying skills now rival (or even exceed!) some of my expert kiteboarding buddies! Obviously, Petra is fantastic with women and understands their unique perspective, but she is so personable & calm that she’d be good at instructing kiteboarding to just about anyone.

Doug, Lindsay, Piper (& wife Wendy)

Bend, OR

Joel and Petra gave me lessons at South Padre Island. They got me going and were a joy to work with. They proved that even an 85 year old can learn to Kite. And so when my Grandson came to visit naturally I signed up Joel to teach him to Kite. After two weekends my Grandson was making his transitions and even jumping. He had never kited at before. Best of all he had so much fun that he can’t wait to go to SPI again and kite with is Grandpa.

Thank you Joel and Petra,

Woody Spurgeon, CT

I can’t help but think that Joel is the absolute best kite-boarding instructor anywhere.  He was my instructor when I began the sport and has remained a resource for me over the years.   Not only is he extremely experienced and skilled in his techniques for teaching, but he is also patient, kind, and supportive which makes his students feel relaxed and enables them to focus on learning.  He is a professional, and I cannot recommend him enough. If you want the best……….connect with Joel!

Donna Suggs

Durango, CO

I’m very appreciative of Joel and Petra’s SAFETY-FIRST approach to kiteboarding instruction. As a professional FAA certificated flight instructor I also have an appreciation for practical teaching skills. Joel is a talented teacher who took me from zero experience to controlling the kite and popping up on my board in just a couple lessons. And their kiteboarding beach is a perfect setting for learning.  –

Bryan Nelson, WI

After bit of miss-adventure trying to learn kites on my own, decided to seek a pros instructor at the best venue I could find.  Watching folks walk up the beach hundreds of times, I knew there had to be a better way.  Fast forward 5 years, I now wave ride strapless surf style at Santa Cruz, and frequent Maui or Mexico winter time.  My son, Sean, is now an amazingly strong wave rider – Joel also got him going.

How to get started?  I took lessons from both Joel & Petra, enough to get myself over the hump to ‘safe place’ and start riding at our home beach in Santa Cruz.  Both are friendly, patient, very professional, and safety conscious.  When it was time for my son to learn, we could have gone anywhere.  We flew down to Padre for Joel to do a boat follow with radio helmet – he simply knows what to say, and when, not too much or too little.  In a few days, Sean was getting water starts, up, and tracking across Laguna Madre.  Not everyone picks it up that fast, but it’s possible.

After several Maui trips, my wife’s got the Kite bug as well – yep, we’re returning to Padre for lessons.  All in all, the family has done lessons in Maui, SF Bay at Alameda, checked out Corpus (eh), and other SF Bay boat venues (way cold).  The food is good in S. Padre, drinks are cheap, and hotels far more affordable than Maui.  Santa Cruz has sharks, bobbing about learning is not a good plan.  Maui coral, waves, small beach launch, & rock jetties are not as beginner friendly.

Joel & Petra are top shelf, highly recommended, and the Laguna Madre is an ideal intro venue – that combo is simply the best, by far.

John H, Santa Cruz, CA

“It is easy to write a testimonial when you have received exemplary service, or in my case…..training.  I decided to give kite boarding a try after over 28 years of hard core windsurfing.  I’m very selective when it comes to a teacher and I spend the necessary time interviewing.  Petra was kind enough to allow me the time to discuss her techniques, style, equipment etc.  She made no bones about it, SAFETY was priority one!  Admittedly, there were moments on the water when I was a bit nervous but there NEVER was a time when I didn’t feel safe.  Her attention to detail was….outstanding.  Her communication of these details was….outstanding.  Let me not forget that we also had….fun!  Petra was awesome!”

Doug Moll, CO

I have been windsurfing for over 30 years and switched to kite boarding. I was recently introduced to kiteboarding by Joel and Petra from H2O sports in South Padre Island, Texas.  I have taken lessons from them and I am very impressed with their teaching method.  They are very safety conscious, very professional, knowledgeable and fun. I highly recommend them!  Joel and Petra are great instructors.

I look forward to returning to South Padre soon and taking more lessons.

Mike Avila, AZ

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 accommodate 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.


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.  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 were tending to move too quickly on some gear, Petra advised us not to over reach and buy more until we had progressed further. Very honest and professional people! We highly recommend 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, CO

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, MO

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, KS

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