Tag Archives: List of water sports

Kite boarding in Kailua

Image by Francisco Sánchez via Flickr

Kite boarding is a popular water surface sport that uses wind power to pull person through the water while skimming atop the surface. The term kite boarding is usually associated with freestyle or wake style variations of the sport while kite surfing is usually saved for people who are wave riding. A number of variations have come about, in board shape, kite type, and other gadgets and gizmos that make kite boarding even easier and more enjoyable. Some of the best waterfront Kailua real estate looks out upon Kailua Bay where kite boarding is quite popular.

The calm waters and relatively weak currents in the waters off Kailua are especially conducive to the water sport. On windy weekends, it’s not uncommon to see at least a dozen kite boarders in the water. Taking advantage of the nice windward trade winds, kite boarders usually enjoy full days of endless fun. However, for kite boarders more interested in wave riding, Diamond Head Beach is a more popular location on Oahu’s southern-facing shore because of its larger waves that are better for riding. Therefore, many people like to alternate between the two so that they can perfect both their freestyle and wave riding skills.

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The History of Kiteboarding

Power Kytes at Coche, Venezuela
Image via Wikipedia

Kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing, is a popular water sport that uses wind to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard or kiteboard, which is similar to a wakeboard. Although the technology and technique associated with kiteboarding has developed greatly over time, this popular pastime would not have been possible without the invention of the kite in the 13th century by the Chinese.

The history of kiteboarding didn’t truly begin until the 1800’s, when George Pocock experimented with over-sized kites that were able to propel carts on land and ships on the water using a four-line control system, which is similar to the same system used today. What made this so special was that the kites could be flown for sustained periods and were able to pull the carts and boats both downwind and upwind. In the late 1970’s, with the development of Kevlar and Spectra flying lines, kites became more controllable and had improved efficiency. Throughout the 1980’s people began to experiment using kites with canoes, ice skates, snow skis, water skis, and roller skates. In the late 1900’s, science began to improve equipment used in kiteboarding, with the invention of perfected kiteskiing systems, inflatable kites, and aerodynamic enhancements to the kite designs.

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What is Kite Surfing

Paraglider take-off in Brazil
Image via Wikipedia

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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