What Is Kitesurfing and How Do You Do It?
Who would have thought you could create something incredible by combining one of the coolest pastimes ever (surfing) with one of the chilliest (flying kites)? Of course, kitesurfing is a bit different than flying traditional kites. Don’t worry—we’ll get into all of that in this article! Come with us and learn what kitesurfing is and how to do it.
Kitesurfing? What’s That?
When you hear “kitesurfing,” do you picture Mister Banks from Mary Poppins taking his kids out to the park or James Bond in Die Another Day? It’s much closer to Bond, although you don’t need any bad special effects for real-life kitesurfing. Simply put, you’ll need a board attached to your feet and a kite attached to you. Then, you let the wind do most of the work and smoothly glide (well, hopefully smoothly) over the water.
Kitesurfing is one of those “easy to learn, hard to master” activities, which is why it has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few decades. Because just about anyone can pick up a kite and a board and perform reasonably well, it’s a very accessible activity. Some other watersports have a much higher skill barrier to entry.
However, don’t think that kitesurfing is easy-peasy. Just because you can hack it with a few tries doesn’t mean you’ve discovered all the intricacies of kitesurfing.
Brief History of Kitesurfing
Way back in the early 1980s, the Legaignoux brothers started the designs that would one day become essential tools for kitesurfing. It took until 1993 for them to perfect their first product: the WIPICAT. This particular device didn’t have a board, but was an inflatable craft pulled by a kite they designed. While this product didn’t succeed commercially, their next version, the WIKIPA, was far more successful.
After this success, windsurfers and other watersports enthusiasts tried out kitesurfing and helped to propel it to the heights of popularity it enjoys today. Now, you have equipment options to choose from and tons of professional instructors to help you get your kite up in the air and your board moving through the surf.
Who Is Kitesurfing For?
This is a good question—it makes sense to wonder who would most enjoy kitesurfing. We’ll give a bit of a copout answer, but it’s not because we love kitesurfing—we give this answer because it’s true. Anyone can enjoy kitesurfing. It’s a unique activity in that you can set the difficulty and thrill level based on your preferences.
If you don’t want to go super-fast or experience rough waves, that’s up to you! Don’t pull hard on your kite, and don’t go out on choppy water. Of course, this sport is also a lot of fun for the adrenaline junkies out there. You’ll need to brush up on your skills, but you can go really fast and get crazy air.
There are also a small number of people who enjoy some parts of kitesurfing but would prefer to do it in another setting. Good news! You can also try snowkiting! That said, we’re pretty sure you’ll love kitesurfing—it is the most fun watersport of all time (we may be biased).
Why You Should Try It
Aside from kitesurfing being one of those things that everyone should try at least once, what are the reasons you should give it a go? First off, kitesurfing gives you a great excuse to explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You won’t want to hang around tourist spots—kitesurfing encourages you to find unique locations untouched by man.
You’ll also meet a community of the nicest people on the planet. Watersports tend to cultivate a chill group of people who care a lot about the natural environment, and kitesurfing is no different.
Plus, if you want to build up your abdominal muscles (and let’s be real, who doesn’t?), kitesurfing is an excellent path to a six-pack.
To cap it all off, we’ll ask a question. Who’s going to turn down the opportunity to fly?
We talked earlier about how easy it is to get into kitesurfing, but what basic skills and fitness level do you need to get started?
The most important skill to have before kitesurfing is at least a basic swimming ability. Other than that, it’s okay if you come in mostly blind! You don’t even need to have flown a kite—your instructor will guide you through that process.
We’d say that you need a basic level of fitness for kitesurfing. If you can do a bit of physical activity without getting exhausted, you’ll be okay. The kite is light, so you don’t need a ton of strength to start learning.
If you ask any kitesurfer, they’ll tell you the same thing: find an instructor and learn from someone who knows the sport. This is the fastest path toward competent kitesurfing and the best way to avoid learning bad habits.
An instructor will teach you safety tips as well as general knowledge needed to kitesurf. Seriously, please don’t try kitesurfing without help from an instructor—it’s for your safety and everyone else’s.
You can start kitesurfing confidently after around three days of training, and then it’s time to practice! Don’t worry; this is the fun part. Get out on the water and work on basic skills like powering and de-powering your kite.
If you have trouble balancing on your board, consider taking a little time off the water and jumping on an old skateboard or grab a Indo Board. Practice shifting your weight left and right while maintaining your balance to help train your muscles.
Get Your Gear
You’ll need to grab some equipment before you get up in the air. This includes the kite, the bar and lines, a harness, and your board. If you’re looking for foil boards, kitesurf boards, twin tips, you’re in the right place! Adventure Sports is here to get you equipped before you fly with premium brands like Cabrinha and Duotone Kiteboarding.
Now that you know more about kitesurfing and how you do it, what are you waiting for? There’s a whole ocean out there (four of them, actually) just begging to be kitesurfed! Pick up some equipment and dive into one of the fastest-growing watersports in the world. Trust us—you won’t regret it.