New Kid On The Block In Water Sports: Kiteboarding
Waterskiing and tubing have always been popular in the summertime, both in an ocean setting and at the lake. California surfing's popularity is legendary, of course, thanks to the beach movies of the 1960's and its accompanying culture that survives to this day. In recent years, extreme athletes have made riding monster waves a way to take that sport to the next level.
Sports enthusiasts are always looking for new ways to get thrills, chills, and even spills on the water: hence kiteboarding!
A kiteboarder glides across the surface of the water on a small board which resembles a wakeboard. The foot gear may or may not have bindings, depending on the skill level of the rider and the type of tricks a rider wants to perform.
The biggest difference between this sport and wakeboarding or water skiing is that the rider is completely propelled by the wind thanks to the large kite to which he is harnessed. No boat required! With today's concerns with global warming, enthusiasts can get the rush and excitement of surface water sports without the burning of fossil fuels.
The modern concept of using kite wind propulsion on the water was developed during the 1990's by the father and son team of Bill and Corey Roesler and the French Legaignoux brothers. From there, different engineers have developed and perfected the designs of both board and kite. By 1998 kiteboarding had hit the mainstream, and the first competition in the sport was held. Since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds, and about a quarter million thrillseeking athletes enjoy kiteboarding on a regular basis.
Kiteboarders will use one to three kites, depending on the amount of power and speed they wish to have, and also depending on the wind conditions. Figuring out what size board and kite to use depends greatly on trial and error and experience. Beginners should really take lessons in order to learn as quickly as possible how to ride successfully and avoid injury.
Besides the basics of kite and board, other equipment is also needed: wetsuits should be worn except on the warmest days, a life vest should be used for those with moderate swimming abilities or for anyone who plans to board in deep water areas. A safety knife is carried to cut kite lines in case of emergency, and many riders choose to wear helmets as a safeguard against blunt head trauma in the event of a fall.
Like surfing before it, kiteboarding has developed its own lingo for jumps, stunts, and its wide array of specialized techniques. Those who are interested in trying a new thrill on their next vacation to the seashore should take lessons and rent equipment from an experienced and reputable company. Then get out there and have some fun!