What is Kite Surfing

Paraglider take-off in Brazil
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Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is one of the most exciting water sports, as it incorporates aspects from other sports, such as windsurfing, wakeboarding, paragliding, and power kite flying. In kite surfing, large kites pull a rider on a board across the water’s surface. Many participants of this sport prefer flat water over riding waves. Because you can enjoy kite surfing in a number of different settings, like light to strong winds or high waves, there is something for every participant.

This sport started when power kite flyers wanted to test their skills on the water with wind surfers. There were no specific boards for kite surfing, so riders improvised, using surfboards and wakeboard. Kite surfing has evolved since then, and there are now specific boards and kites that are manufactured.

Kites now have inflatable sections that function to hold its shape as well as float. Since these kites have no rigid structure, they can be packed up to be very small. Kites as large as 16meters or more can fit into a rucksack. These kites differ from power kites as they have one canopy skin, and the inflatable tubes have the shape of the aerofoil similar to the aeroplane wing.

These kites are steered by a bar that can also alter the power. It is attached to the kites using 4 or 5 lines made of dyneema, and a breaking strain of over 500 kg. Two of these lines are attached to the ends of the bar, while the others run through the center to a harness worn by the rider. Moving the bar along these lines, the angle and the power of the kite can be changed. The larger the angle, the more surface area of the canopy is exposed to the wind, giving the kite more power. In the opposite fashion, the smaller the angle, the less power the kite has. Also, when you pull in the bar, its power increases, and the opposite happens when you push it out. These adjustments did not exist at the beginning of the sport, and only adds to the amount of skill you will need to acquire.

Kite design has been changing since 2006, and kites now are much safer than their earlier counterparts. The ability to alter the power of the kites by pulling or pushing the bar helps control the speed to something manageable. Also, re-launching a kite once the bar has been released is a much easier task than before. Kite surfing, while still challenging, has over come technical obstacles, making it safer and easier to participate and learn the sport, therefore increasing the sport’s popularity.

Organizations dedicated to kite surfing have grown in many countries, and often assist with the club, competition, training, and kite surf schools network.

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