Kite surfing is a relatively new extreme sport. The idea of being propelled on ground or on water with a kite goes back to the 1800′s. But it wasn’t until the 70′s that people began to experiment with kite propelled sports. In the 70′s and 80′s skiing with kites was developed. Those rather big kites made it possible to take off the snow to the air. It was only in the beginning of the 90′s that kite bugging was invented. It inspired the development of the kitesurf which was first available in 1994.
In just 4-5 years kitesurfing became famous, mostly among the windsurfers and other extremers. Today kitesurfing is one of the most popular extreme water sports with millions of kitesurfers around the world.
There are many different styles of Kitesurfing: wave riding, freestyle, speed, course racing, wake style, free ride and more but the main concept is the same- stand on your board and maneuver your kite up and down the wind with the bar.
The speed of your sailing depends on the strength of the wind and the water conditions. Today the speed record stands well above 50 knots (90km/h).
Preferable wind speed for Kitesurfing is about 10-20 knots, stronger winds would be recommended for expert kitesurfers only.
To make it an extreme sport you have to reach certain level of skills. The adrenaline rush mainly comes from high jumps and tricks. Under right conditions, a good kitesurfer can jump above 50ft (15m) high. You can also combine your abilities with waves to maximize the experience.
That will open you to a whole new world of adrenaline. You can use the speed of the drop for even bigger air using the wave as a ramp.
Direct competitions between surfers are rare. Usually you perform in front of the judges or race against the clock.
Nevertheless, the variety of seas, oceans and wind conditions around the world ensure that you will never feel bored and get your adrenaline shot one way or another.
Kitesurfing can get dangerous because of a rough wind conditions and surroundings. There has been some fatalities over the years. Most of them happen when kitesurfers encounter very strong wind or gusts which lifts them up in the air and slams against a cliff or any other hard object before they had the chance to cut themselves lose from the harness. Those are extreme cases.
In most cases, injuries will be restricted to sprained ankles, generally sustained when surfing on a board with foot straps. If you know your limitations and avoid conditions which are over your head, it’ll significantly improve your chances to stay alive and whole.
There are numerous courses all over the world. You should take one, it’ll save you a lot of frustration and teach you the basics. As a rule, two or three sessions will be sufficient to get you started. Initially, you’ll need help to raise your kite, but with time you will be able to do it on your own. You learn how to go downwind…and walk back on the beach…Eventually you’ll manage to surf upwind and that’s when you’ll start really enjoy this extreme sport. You will begin to jump and to try new tricks, to surf in strong wind conditions. After you feel comfortable with your kite and board you will add some wave surfing to it.
It is rather easy extreme sport to get started and to reach a fairly good level (to go up and down the wind). From that point on, it is hard (and fun) work if you want to surf like a pro.
When it all goes wrong !