Quick Facts on Kite Surfing
Kite surfing combines surfing, kite flying and wakeboarding. Find out what you need to get started in this high-flying water sport.
What is Kite Surfing?
Kite surfing, also known as kite boarding, is a sport, which combines surfing, kite flying and wakeboarding. A kite surfer is pulled across the water by a big kite while standing on a kite board (a small surfboard with straps). With a good wind, kite surfers can move across the water at more than 40 miles (64 kms) per hour and launch off jumps more than 30 feet (10 m) in the air. This is a sport that requires great skill and courage - so nerds who hate water and heights should stay home and dream about being in a boy band.
What Do You Need to Take Flight on a Kite Board?
The main pieces of equipment in kite surfing are the kite and the board. The kite is like the chute used in paragliding. It has flying lines and a control bar for steering. There is also a safety release which attaches to your wrist in case you let go of the control bar or the kite gets going too fast. This is especially important in high winds. The board is like a wakeboard with bindings that strap on your feet.
What Are the Dangers of Kite Surfing?
There is a lot that can go wrong when you're kite surfing. Make sure you've had proper training and are with someone else who knows what they're doing. Tangled lines are the cause of most accidents - especially when you're starting out. The lines can be up to 100 feet (30 m) long and are razor sharp. High winds can take you far away from where you started - leaving you stranded in rough waters, on a rocky beach or in a beach house with Jessica Simpson (this usually only happens in a kite surfer's dreams). Kite surfers have also been injured by crashing into trees, being attacked by sharks or being electrocuted by overhead power lines.
How Can I Start Kite Surfing?
Kite surfing is still a pretty new sport but many beach resorts in Hawaii, Florida and California have kite surfing schools. You can usually be on the water and riding waves after a few hours of training. At most places, you have to be 13 or older to kite surf.