Kite Surfing

By Adrenaline

Kite surfing is an extreme water sport that uniquely combines numerous other activities, including surfing, paragliding and even gymnastics. To put it simply, kite surfers will utilized the wind via the kite in propelling their surfboard across the surface of the water. While you can utilize a standard board for this activity, it is recommended to opt for one that includes straps or binds for your feet in order to exercise more control and be able to perform more complex moves easily and safely.

Kite surfing is not regulated by any internationally recognized organization at this point, although groups like IKA or IKO are doing their best in training extreme water sports enthusiasts on the correct ways to practice this activity in a safe manner. At the same time, IKO provides kite surfing certifications upon training.

How kite surfing works

The wind gives power to the kite propelling the wakeboard, but the rider can control the direction of his watercraft and he can even perform certain cool tricks. If you have never kite surfed before, then the easiest way to do it is by leaning and sinking with your back to the water. Afterwards, all you need to do is rotate the kite in the desired direction. However, once you have gained a bit of experience, you can perform the move referred to as heel turn jibe, which means that you slow down the board a bit, flatten it on the surface of the water and switch your rear foot with your front foot slowly, therefore reversing the direction of the kite.

In respect to the tricks, you will definitely want to try out the controlled flight and jump once you gain more experience. Prior to the jump, the idea is to increase the tension in the line by forcefully edging your wakeboard. Fly the kite rapidly in an overhead point, pretending that you are surfing and you need to get over a larger wave. As the kite gains altitude, release force on the wakeboard and you will become airborne. Be careful though, there are several risks involved in these maneuvers.

A brief history of kite surfing

Believe it or not, the concept behind modern kite surfing emerged on land, more precise in 1800s when George Pocock utilized a kite-based system to power carts. A bit later on, he applied his invention to water vessels and his maneuvering solution involved 4 lines, much like the ones of today. The Kevlar and Spectra materials were developed in the 70s and they allowed for superior efficiency and significantly more durable kites to be used. The pioneers in actual kite surfing are considered to be Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux, who also own the patent for the first inflatable kite (1984). Later on, Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin popularized kite surfing by performing impressive stunts in Maui, in 1996.

What equipment is required in kite surfing?

In addition to the kite lines and the control bar, which are self explanatory components, kite surfers will also need a kite harness, a wetsuit, a helmet, a flotation device, an impact vest, a safety knife and a signaling device. GPS units come in handy and it is advisable to have a partner ready to assist you in case of a serious emergency or when you need help with the launch.

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