Lessons are encouraged, but there are circumstances that it's not available or people do self learn. If you are trying to self learn or want to be somewhat knowledgeable when going into a lesson here's the low down. You may not be up and riding in a few days. There are some great instructors out there and depending on how quickly you understand and can get it figured out, varies from each person. So maybe you will get up and ride on the first day? But if you do not have alot of hrs under your belt with a trainer kite going over all the techniques, you will take longer figuring out depower kites. There are several stages to progression of learning to kiteboard.
The 1st stage is working with a trainer kite on land which is covered in the trainer kite topic.
2nd stage is getting familiar with safetys and flying a 4line depower kite and working on the 'same' techniques you did with a trainer kite, but in the water with a stronger powerful kite.
3rd stage is body dragging stages.
4th stage is water starts and starting to ride.
5th stage is starting to learn to ride longer (both directions) and turns. That's it in a nutshell. But each stage progesses you to the next level.
2nd stage is getting into a 4line power kite. Knowing how to launch and land a kite safely. Also know how to work all your safetys and perform self rescues. Another option to practice in the water (not shown in any videos) is with the kite at zenith, float on your back, sitting slightly while holding your feet out front. With this technique, you should keep balanced on your back while floating downwind for long periods. This will prepare you for being able to hold your body position stable while getting into your board.
Normally you want to work on all these techniques (shown in the below video) with a large kite (11m+ range lighter person, 13m+ range for heavier) with LIGHT winds (less then 20mph). Reason is....with depower kites, the bigger the kite, the 'slower it will move' as compared to a smaller faster kite in higher winds will react extremely fast and you could be in serious trouble in an instant. Slow kite will help give you 'more time' to figure things out, as well as if you are in trouble, you are in 'safer' wind conditions.
The below video has some great tips. Search for more/all videos you can for as much information as possible.
After comfortable flying depowerable kites and going over all the safetys. Time to work on body dragging without and with a board, and this is the stage that you finally begin using a board with your water starts. See boards setion for recommended boards for these stages. Jumping right into a board without going over the previous stages is dangerous for yourself and others around you. See below video for further info and search/learn as much as possible.
There maybe times that no one will be around to assist in launching or landing your kite. There are a few techniques to do both. Most popular is using a rope and (big/strong) carabeaner tied to something sturdy. Put your chicken loop in the carabearner and walk your kite out to the edge of the wind window, tight your lines and check none are crossed. Sit the kite on the wing tip and while 'running' back to your bar, you should be touching your lower leading edge line to assist keeping your kite down (do not touch trailing lines), and have your other hand ready with safety leash. Hook up your safety leash first, chicken loop/donkey stick in, then remove the carabeaner off your chicken loop. Wise to practice this few times before actually having the kite ready for the launch to make sure you know what to do, and which order to be quick at it. Landing is the reverse. Drop the kite on the wing tip, hook in your carabeaner, pull out your chicken loop, then last unhook your safety leash. While touching the bottom leading edge fly line hurry back to your kite, grab kite and flip upside down as walk into the wind towards you bar. (See below video).
Note: This video instruction is with nice constant ocean wind. With our gusty wind conditions things can/will be alittle more tricky. Why rushing to/from the bar/kite is important and holding the bottom front line to keep kite on the ground or from rolling on it's back. What potentially could happen is, a gust could hit the kite and it 'will' launch up, or reverse will happen (worse) a hole (less wind) and the kite can roll over on its trailing edge (back) and when the wind (gust) comes back this will become a very dangerous situation and the kite could launch straight up (hot launch). Another situation is the kite may roll 180degrees opposite direction and launch up and straight across the wind window. Why holding onto the bottom leading edge line is important. Caution is needed with gusty conditions.
The other method is drift launching, which is not recommended for beginners. This is where you sit the kite on the water while you are hooked into your bar. Let the kite float downwind until all the lines are tight and clear of tangles, and then water launch. Many things can go wrong with this method why it's not recommended for beginners. Main reason is lines could get tangled up, or wrapped wrong around you, the bar, or the kite as it floats downwind.