Kite surfing has become one of the most popular water sports worldwide thanks to the fun that comes with it and the fact that it can be easily learnt. Lately, this sport influences summer holidays all around the globe by opening kite surfing schools and by organizing camps and competitions.
This sport combines paragliding, snowboarding, sailing and surfing into one complex entity. The kite surfer harnesses the power of the wind with the kite and uses his/her legs to control the board. This sport requires a lot of physical strength and equilibrium. There are different styles of kite surfing: freestyle, wake style, course racing, downwinders, speed, jumping and kite surfing in the waves. There are many fans of this sport and there are approximate 1.5 million people worldwide that practice this sport.
The first patent for kite surfing was given in 1977 in the Netherlands. Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise used a parachute-inspired part and a simple board. The harness was used to tie him to the parachute and to the board. Even though his patent didn’t have a commercial success, he is considered the modern father of kite surfing. By the 90’s, many additions have been made and the sports companies understood the commercial potential of this sport.
The first kite surfing competition was in September 1998 in Maui and was won by Flash Austin. The sport became mainstream afterwards and the technology behind it became better and better. Manufacturers tried to make the best board, the best harness and the best kite in order to help the surfers achieve wonderful performances while being safe.
In May 2012 the course style of kite surfing was announces as a part of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, making this sport popular worldwide. Unfortunately, the commission refused to replace windsurfing with kite surfing, so the discussions are still going. Kite surfing was introduced as an official sport for 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Nick Jabobsen holds the world record for the highest jump. He achieved this on February 19th, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. His jump was 28.6 meters high with an airtime of 8.5 seconds. Rob Douglas managed to set the record for speed. The American reached the speed of 93.6 km/h in 2010. In 2017, French rider Alex Caizergues managed to beat this speed. He reached 107.36 km/h.
Louis Tapper managed to make history with kite surfing. He has the longest solo journey without a support crew. He surfed 2000 km between Salvador and Sao Luis, Brazil. The journey took him 24 days of kite surfing and used only a kite, a board and a 35-litre pack. In 2013 a team of six kite surfers managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean with a support crew. The 5600 km were divided in days and the crew reached its destination safe.
Kite surfing is a very popular and demanding sport. It is so appreciated because it is very inclusive and welcomes everybody, no matter the age, gender or race.