You should be fit and comfortable in the water. If you have experieince in other board sports like wakeboarding or snowboarding it will help you learn faster.
First spend a few hours flying a trainer kite to learn kite flying. (good trainer kites cost $200). Everyone agrees that this step is worthwhile.
Take at least one 3 hour lesson on the water (cost is about $250 with all gear supplied)
Buy your equipment. A new kite, board, and harness will cost $2000, or used gear is an option. We recommend that you deal with a reputable local kiteboard store. Most kiters eventually get two or three kites, for different winds.
How long does it take to learn? It depends. If you have purchased cheap old gear and skipped the trainer kite and lesson stages, it may take you months (and you can damage your gear or yourself). If you have good gear and proper instruction you should be having fun the first day and riding up on the board in the first few days. Staying upwind (being able to kite back to the beach where you started) takes a bit longer.
Enjoy yourself at every stage and have fun out there.
Where do I kiteboard?
The Local Map on the menu shows the various local beaches with the best wind direction. Note that Jericho/Spanish Banks beach is closed to kiters during the summer.
Where to kite depends on wind direction and tide. In this area the most frequented spots are:
In SSE to ESE winds 3rd Ave (just west of Centenial Beach, Tsawassen) is the popular spot . You can ride in a S wind but it gets turbulent, or an E wind, but it is directly on shore, so in these conditions you better have some skills. 3rd Ave is the best place for those starting out in my opinion. If you go to 3rd when the tide is between 8 ft and 11 ft (for tides, click on Weather in the menu above) you can stand in ankle to waist high water and walk to shore or back up wind if things don't go well. If you can ride and stay stay up wind and body drag back to your board then 3rd Ave is good in any tide (a bit of a walk to the water if tide is under 8 feet)
In a W or NW wind, Spanish Banks is the place to be (BUT it's closed during the summer to kiters). Same tide heights apply as at 3rd if you want to be able to touch bottom. The summer spot for the W or NW wind would be the Ferry Terminal. Some of us go to other spots with a W or NW wind but you need a higher skill level at these places.
In a SW wind (not seen very often) Crescent Beach is the place to be. Below about 4 feet you are walking out over the sand bars to the water.
On summer days, almost any day (but check forecasts first), the best wind is at Squamish. You should be able to stay upwind if you ride there, so it's not for ideal beginners, unless you are going with an instructor, who will have a boat ready to assist.
So do what all of us do. Check the weather every hour or so, every day of the week, with gear packed in the truck. When you see its going to happen, check the forum to see if anyone has posted (they might not since they will be in a rush to get to the beach) then drive like hell to the spot, pump quickly and get rigged. Make sure to say hello to other kiters, ask for info, ask for help. Kiters are friendly and will get you introduced to an area.