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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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Six Tips to Help You Avoid Kite Surfing Accidents

Kitesurfers use power kites hooked into harnes...
Image via Wikipedia

Kite surfing provides many thrill-seekers looking for challenging ways to spend their leisure time. In this sport, a rider on a small board utilizes a kite to harness the power of the wind to move through the water. While control the power of the winds has been around for centuries, kite surfing did not develop till the 90s. By 1998, it had become a popular mainstream sport, with schools opening to teach it, with a competition held in Maui annually.

While exciting, kite surfing is also very dangerous, and requires training and supervision to ensure that it is done properly and safely in the beginning years. These kites are vulnerable to sudden gusts of wind, known as lofts that can carry a rider into the air before slamming them into the water, ground, buildings or power lines. It may also cause the rider to crash into other people, and more often than not, these accidents result in broken bones. According to KiteSurfingSchool.org, out of 105 accidents, 53% resulted in moderate to serious injury, while 13% of them were fatal. Many of these accidents are a result of inexperience and lack of training.

To minimize risk, take precaution to prevent kite surfing accidents:

- Make sure you have proper supervision and training before strapping yourself to a kite sail
- Be sure the equipment you use has a functioning safety release system that will disable the kite at any moment
- Check your safety equipment before going to the water
- Avoid kite surfing near power lines and airports, and stay out of the water when there is strong offshore wind or stormy weather
-Kite surf in waters with lots of open spaces to avoid the crowded beaches downwind — —If kite surfing through a vendor at a resort or cruise ship, be sure to read the fine print on the waiver or contract thoroughly. If you don’t, you may be releaing the vendor from their responsibility of training and supervising you

If you have been injured while kite surfing, or have been injured by a kite surfer, you may be able to file a legal claim to receive compensation. If you are involved in an accident, take detailed notes describing what happened, who was involved and the names of witnesses as well as injuries sustained. Keep as much evidence as possible, such as the equipment and any failed parts as you will need them later. Don’t forget to obtain a police report on the incident.

Be sure to consult a boating accident attorney if you are involved in an accident, as he or she can help you through the complex legal issues surrounding maritime and boating accidents and help you get the compensation you are due under law.

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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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