What Is Kite Surfing?

What Is Kite Surfing?
Kite surfing, also known as kiteboarding or kiting, is an extreme surface-water sport in which riders use a kite to harness the power of the wind to propel them across the water on a kiteboard.

History

According to surfertoday.com, the origins of kite surfing date to 1984, when brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux designed the first "dual line kite propulsor." It wasn't until the 1990s, however, that kites designed for kite surfing hit the market on a bigger scale and quickly popularized the sport.

Where To Kite Surf

Combine wind, a large body of water and access to an instructor, and you've got the beginnings of a great kite-surfing location. Kitesurfingnow.com suggests Maui, Hawaii; Puerto Rico; Hua Hin, Thailand; and Cape Town, South Africa, as top-notch kite-surfing places. But a quick Internet search for windsurfing locations or kite-surfing schools near you will yield additional and perhaps more accessible kite-surfing locations.

Equipment

Basic kite-surfing equipment includes: a kite board; a kite-surfing kite; a kite-control device (a two- or four-line control bar and a set of four-line handles); and accessories (safety-release system, harness, wet suit, life jacket, helmet, etc.).

Challenges

Learning how to maneuver a kite in extreme wind conditions (less than 5 knots or more than 30 knots) can be difficult, and it takes time and dedication to learn how to perform tasks such as kite surfing upwind or relaunching a kite from the water.

Warning

Because of the variable nature of wind and the technical aspects of the sport, kite surfing is an extreme and sometimes dangerous sport, and should be approached with caution and preparation. Take lessons from a professional before kite surfing on your own.

Article Written By Susan Heller

Susan Heller is a Seattle-based freelance writer who has been writing outdoor-related articles for five years. Her work has appeared in "University Week," the "Ballard News-Tribune," and backpackgeartest.org. In 2004 she was named a Mary Gates Scholar, and in 2005 she received her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative History of Ideas and Comparative Religion from the University of Washington.

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