Extreme sports like kiteboarding are a great way to get the adrenaline pumping during a vacation. The risk that goes along with extreme sports have given many the excitement that goes along with close calls in dangerous, life threatening situations, but with all the safety gear and precautions to make sure the risk of an actual, fatal accident is all but nonexistent. Other extreme sports are also becoming rapidly recognized as having valid athletic merits.
Similar to wakeboarding in that the person on the board is pulled by a stronger force, kitesurfing has the power of nature propelling you on the water, eliminating the need for a big, gas guzzling boat in order to give thrills and excitement to the rider. Kitesurf riding is also enjoyed around the world in beaches in every corner of the globe, from the Carribean to the Bahamas to the warm and sandy Dominican Republic.
What Is Kiteboarding?
Kitesurfing is similar to wakeboarding in that the rider is pulled by a stronger force in order to move across a large body of water. Many have likened it to skateboarding or snowboarding but on water, but both sports do not require a force to pull the rider like wakeboarding does. The large, gas guzzling boat common in wakeboarding does not exist for kiteboarding, where the rider is propelled by a large parachute, pulling the rider around with the natural force of the wind.
A rider is not required to hang on to a bar or rope for the entire duration that he is kiteboarding, as a special harness is fastened to the rider’s center mass before starting. This means that people with weaker arm and upper body strength can also enjoy the sport, as the harness attached to the rider’s center of gravity is enough to power the kite and rider into performing aerial feats once only thought possible with wakeboarding.
The special harness also serves as a safety device of sorts, with a special kill switch integrated into the harness which stops the powering of the kite incase of an emergency situation. This lowers the risk of accidents and injuries significantly, unlike in wakeboarding where a rider is left shouting and flailing as he releases the bar and falls into the water at high speeds. In kite surfing, the rider is free to follow the direction of the kite, also allowing for a more free and unpredictable water skimming experience.
Kiteboarding Gear Explained
Kite surfing features gear which shares some common traits with extreme watersports such as wakeboarding, as well as safety harnesses and parachutes which can almost liken the sport to skydiving.
Part of the sport’s namesake, the kiteboard rider is propelled across the water with the power of a kite. Traditionally, kitesurf experts choose a C-kite, a kite which has a distinct C-shape in order to scoop up wind to propel a rider. These special kites have specific characteristics that professional kiteboarders prefer in a kite, but may not be advisable for the beginning kitesurfer.
Kites utilizing advanced technology such as the SLE and hybrid kites are advisable for beginners, as they contain comprehensive safety systems and easy relaunch features after bails, making it easy for a learner to bounce back from an accident or fall in the water while kiting.
Kite surfing would be nothing at all without the board under the rider. These kiteboards also come in many varieties, but larger sizes are great for beginners because they are easy to remount and bounce back onto, while smaller ones are great for advanced riders. The size of the board may also depend on the rider’s abilities, weight and windspeed.
The safety harness which allows even the handicapped rider to enjoy kiteboarding is integral to the kitesurf experience, and even features a safety kill switch for the rider to engage if something goes wrong. These harnesses also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as the bottom supporting seat harness, to the wrap around waist harness. Other harnesses for kiteboarding exist too, such as the vest like impact harness, as well as the boardshorts harness, which is like a harness integrated into a pair of board shorts.
Safety gear is also present to make thing safer for everyone in the sport. Beginner riders can opt to wear helmets, personal floatation devices as well as special footwear to protect all the body parts.
Where to Kiteboard
Kiteboarding is an extreme sport that can be enjoyed in any body of water with winds that are strong enough to propel a rider across the water adequately. This extreme sport has grown in popularity in many beach getaways around the world, from Hawaii to Africa and the Middle East.
Many kite surf schools have also been established across many parts of the world in order to help people interested in the sport learn fast enough to keep up with the pros. These kiteboarding schools also have comprehensive programs and gear rentals for students to be able to get the most out of their learning experience, making kiteboarding accessible for everybody.
Kiteboarding is also enjoyed by experienced individuals who also own their own gear alongside the learners at kite surf schools, or at beaches with winds strong enough to propel them to perform wild aerial feats that rival those seen in wakeboarding. Whether at your favorite beach getaway or at a private lake with friends, kiteboarding is enjoyed as an extreme sport throughout the world over.