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What is Kitesurfing

Last update: 2013/02/03

Kitesurfing - fascination on water

Kitesurfing is THE new water sports, which unites many kinds of sports on board in itself. On a small board (similarly a wakeboard, snowboard, surfboard, typically between 120 - 170 cm length) the kiteboarder can be pulled over the water with a stunt kite. Due to the lift of the kite extreme jumps - partly already flights - can be achieved. Since kitesurfing became popular on Hawaii in 1996, there has been a steadily growing number of fans of this fazcinating sport also in Germany. Meanwhile three new German-language print magazines dedicate themselves to the sports of kitesurfing. Water sports fairs have shown that nearly the entire windsurf industry pushes now also into the kite sector. One of the most well-known promoters of kitesurfing is Robby Naish - a name that has dominated the surf sector since decades. The public effectiveness of kitesurfing is enormous. Extreme action with jumps up to 10 meters high and 40 meters far and unknown dynamics, already with little wind, pull each spectator into its spell. Additionally stunt kites - up to 20 square meters large - offer a fascinating sight in the sky. What is kitesurfing, an introduction video!

Where does Kitesurfing come from?

Kitesurfing began in the 80's. Back than Cory Roeseler from Oregon began to develop his kite ski system (a rigid framed kite), which he used predominantly with water skis. At the same time the Legaignoux brothers  worked on their Flysurf system in France, the today's WIPIKA kite. (Wipika stands for WI.nd P.owered I.nflatable K.ite A.ircraft.) This Wipika kite was a so-called tubekite – to be recognized by its round form. The name is due to the blown up inner tubes, which give the kite its stability and which make it possible to start on water. In the 90's a further system for kitesurfing was discovered and further developed, the so-called ram-air kites. Here in Germany companies like Flysurfer.de and Advance in particular made themselves a name with these kind of kites. In the late 90's kitesurfing became more and more popular. Not least because many teething troubles of the sytems were eliminated and because some pioneers on Hawaii and France have made kitesurfing popular. Meanwhile some well-known names are among kiteboarders like Robby Naish, Flash Austin, Martin Vari, Henning Nockel and many others. Since 1998 kitesurfing has also become an issue in Germany and has enthralled more and more people.

What is to be said about the Equipment?

About the Kite The kitesurf kites differ fundamentally in how the kite is built. The kite ski system uses a rigid framed kite, which is started out of the hand. If it falls into the water, you can pull it back with a hoist and restart it. But the kite ski system has not asserted itself and is actually of no importance any longer. The tube kite system (Wipika, Naish, North among others) on the other hand is equipped with inflated tubes. These tubes provide stability for the kite with the characteristic round shape and make it possible to start from the water.With the ram-air kites the profile is produced by the stagnation pressure of the wind. By openings at the front edge, air can flow into the kite and is held there. Well thought-out valve solutions prevent water from penetrating into the kite, and therefore also these systems usually allow a controlled starting from the water. For beginners the starting on the water is usually even simpler with a good ram-air kite (e.g. Flysurfer Maniac) than with a tubekite.The beginner or normal kitesurfer gets along very well without a high speed kite. With a high speed kite you would make yourself life unnecessarily difficult. These kites are characterised by a high acpect-ratio-relationship (ACRE) and are thus very stretched kites. Intermediate kites with more compact outlines stand usually more stable in the sky and can be started more easily from the water.Moreover one differentiates between 2-line-systems and 4-line-systems. With the 4-line-system the blade angle of the kites can be changed. One can therefore power a kite so that it gets more wind or depower a kite  and take the pressure from it similar a sail on a sailing boat. 2-lines are often used in training courses (there are fewer problems with less lines, learning the bases) and with good reason by people with a  special style of driving (e.g. wakestyle). The first kite, people buy themselves, is mostly a 4-line-kite or a 2-line-kite with the option of change to a 4-line-system.Each good kite offers a functioning safety system. You are connected by a safety line with the kite and when releasing the steering bar the kite goes “pressure-free” to the water. The safety line however is still connecting us with the kite, so that he cannot fly away unintentionally. Usually there is still another emergency separation, so that you can separate in emergency completely from the kite. About Boards Boards for kitesurfing resemble a wakeboard, a snowboard respectively a surfboard. They are usually  between 140 and 200 cm long.  Under normal conditions the lift is so small that you cannot stand without driving on the boards.In the year 2002 the trend is tending strongly to the so-called twin tips. Those are symmetrical boards, which drive forward as backwards. That has the big advantage that you do not have to make a foot change after a direction change (jibe). This foot change on small wobbly boards has made life difficult for many beginners. Boards for beginners are approximately 180cm long, advanced riders transfer fast to boards with approximately 150cm length. Small boards can be driven also with firm connection, exactly the same as wakeboarders have.Directionals are those boards, which resemble surfboards. They have a stern and a bow. The driving direction is thereby fixed. After a direction change you must change the feet over.Mutanten are a blend of directionals and twin tips. 

How can I learn Kitesurfing?

You should learn kitesurfing in any case in a certified kitesurfschool. A beginner can make many different mistakes which may have really bad consequences. In a good kiteschool,  you will learn kitesurfing fast and safe. By sparing your own equipment you can save probably even money.Ideally the training course should offer a ground with much place in the water and at the beach. In addition not too many pupils should be under the instruction of one teacher.
You can't start early enough with practicing ....and it is never too late to start learning this fascinating sport!

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