What exactly is kitesurfing? Well, kitesurfing is a sport or hobby that combines the ballet of kite-flying with the poetry of surfing. In many ways, kitesurfing is more than that. Kitesurfing is actually a specific style of kiteboarding, which is a surface water sport that brings together the elements of snowboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, skateboarding, and gymnastics. The kiteboard used is similar in size to a wakeboard, and the kiteboarder is strapped to it with bindings. Acting as some sort of wind-manipulating superhero, the kiteboarder utilizes the energy of the wind by moving his power kite in different directions. Kitesurfing, however, is slightly different from kiteboarding since it uses a standard surfboard, which more often than not, has no bindings attached. Kitesurfers choose to focus more on riding of waves than hitting the big air and even bigger tricks that feature in the world of freestyle kiteboarding. Kitesurfing requires a location with wave breaks, while kiteboarding can happen anywhere in the water and be anything you want it to be. Often times, both kiteboarding and kitesurfing are confused, and that is fine. Not many people know the differences between the two.
Who invented kitesurfing?
Depending on how far you search back, the sport of kitesurfing can be traced to a variety of innovators in the 20th century. In 1903, a man named Samuel Cody worked on a “man-lifting kite” and succeeded in crossing the English Channel in a lightweight canvas boat powered only by a wind-harnessing kite. Fast forward a whole 75 years, and Ian Day’s wind-utilizing kite-catamaran exceeded speeds of 40km/hour in 1978. Even so, it wasn’t until the previous year in 1977, when the sport of kitesurfing as we know it today, was born. Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise, from the Netherlands, secured a patent for a water sport using a surfboard which could be moved by a wind-catching parachute device tied to a trapeze-type belt. The patent itself did not actually result in any commercial interest of the sport, but its existence does mean that Panhuise should be considered the official inventor of kitesurfing.
What types of people kitesurf?
People who take on this kind of hobby are usually a pretty chill bunch. They are usually the type of people who like a challenge. More often than not, it’s the outdoorsy types who enjoy the beach, surfing, and being out on the water, that tend to do well with kitesurfing. Personally, I’ve never been much of an outdoorsman. Give me an interesting book, a good series, and let me spin the reels a few times, and I’m good to go! I’d much rather spend my time figuring out how to beat the slot machines than trying to ride waves, but to each its own. There are plenty of people who enjoy this sport and it is extremely popular in warmer areas of the world. Which goes without saying that another interesting aspect of those who like to kitesurf would be the fact that they are avid travelers. Since most of the time, you have to travel to find the best locations to kitesurf, having a love for traveling to new and exciting destinations definitely helps.
Where can you kitesurf?
If you are dying to try out kitesurfing, then the best thing to do is to look up some of the world’s best kitesurfing destinations. Of course, if you are a beginner, it is highly recommended that you take kitesurfing lessons before you hop on out on the water. Some of the basic things you’re looking for when it comes to the perfect destination for kitesurfing is a location with steady onshore winds of somewhere between 10 and 40 knots. You’re also looking for large expanses of water and uncluttered launch areas. The majority of kitesurfing takes place along ocean shores, usually near a beach. However, kitesurfing can be done on large lakes, inlets, and even rivers.
If you’re looking for good places to kitesurf in the UK, there are several nice destinations that deserve some attention. Poole, Dorset just so happens to be the capital of UK kitesurfing. Other great UK kitesurfing destinations include Shoreham in West Sussex, Gwithian Beach in Cornwall, Rhosneigr in Anglesey, the Island of Tiree in Hebrides, and Brandon Bay in County Kerry. If you are looking to go international, Vietnam is thought by many to be the world’s ultimate kitesurfing destination. There’s great wind, warm weather, cheap booze, and gorgeous beaches. Among other cool destinations to kitesurf all over the world include Florida in the USA, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. If you’re dead set on finding one of the best places to kitesurf, any of these options would be your best bet. Before you go out, make sure you’ve had plenty of practice, know what you’re doing, and be safe.