What Is Kite Surfing?



Kite surfing is a surface water sport, as opposed to parasailing where you are actually airborne, and sailing through the skies.  With kite surfing, you are basically surfing with the help of a kite.  The surfer stands on a small board and holds on to a harness which is attached to the kite.

It will be an exhilarating ride no matter where you do it, even on an unassuming lake.  With kite surfing, even if there are no big waves, the wind can still be strong enough to show you a good time out there.  The kite surfer skims across the surface water at high speeds, twisting, turning, and soaring through the sky.  This sport is so much fun to watch!

Location, Location, Location!

Many kite surfers stay close to the beach, partially for safety reasons or maybe just to show off. 

Other kite surfers couldn’t care less whether anyone is watching them or not.  They sometimes seek out the most dangerous waters and winds to do their sport, such as surfing with hurricane Irene at La Ventana, Mexico, or in Baja, California in the Sea of Cortez. 

Or how about, Nabq, Egypt?  This kite surfers’ paradise is located on the southeastern coast of the Sinai Peninsula between the glitzy resort hub of Sharm-el-Sheikh, and the backpacker haven of Dahab.  This desert beach town is a draw for kite boarders from around the world who want to kite surf like an Egyptian, in steady winds across the Gulf of Aqaba. 

The Strait of Gibraltar forms the perfect wind tunnel between the European and African continents.  Kitesurfer enthusiasts from around the world flock here year round.  

kitesurfing in tarifa

Tarifa, Spain, is one of the world’s meccas for kite boarders, and it is a great location to hold a kitesurfing competition.   

Margarita Island off the northern coast of mainland Venezuela, is this tropical beach destination that attracts your regular suntanning beachgoers, along with travellers and locals toting kites and kite boards.  They come to play in the sun and catch the Caribbean winds, which blow consistently year round.  

No list of the world’s top kitesurfing spots would be complete without mentioning Maui in Hawaii.  It’s the birthplace of kitesurfing back in the 90’s.  It was the stage of the first competition of the sport.  People of all levels try to harness these winds off Kanaha Beach even today.

Kite Surfing Equipment – “C” & Bow-Shaped Designs

The kites are c-shaped or bow-shaped, and their size depends on the wind, and the weight of the person riding the board.  

The c-kite is curved and looks like the letter “c”, while the newer bow-kite is flatter and resembles an archer’s bow. 

They can be any color, with or without words.  These newer kites are named due to the bridle lines, that attach to the inflatable leading edge and support its shape.

Bow and “Supported Leading Edge” kites also have swept back wing tips, which when combined with the flatter shape and bridle, give the kite massive de-powering abilities. 

It is very easy to re-launch, with overall great improvement in safety and ease of use due to these improvements with kites and bridles.  Since the bow and “Supported Leading Edge” (SLE) kites entered the scene, many aspects of their design have been added to C kites, and now hybrid kites are also on the market, which incorporate aspects of both kite designs.

Have a look at this video featuring the Ocean Rodeo Prodigy Kite.  This kite is one of the leading models on the market today, and you can see just how fun it looks.

About The Board Itself

Don’t think of the board as just a small surf board, a kite board, or a wake board.  The people who design and produce these platforms are scientists.  Some of the high performance kitesurfing companies on the market today, provide boards built with not only with the rider in mind, but the environment. 

Ocean Rodeo Sports Origin Kite Board

They strive to minimize their impact on the environment by incorporating Paulownia wood skin decks, recyclable expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) cores and entropy bio resins, that utilize renewable plant carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over conventional petroleum based epoxies.

The boards today have superior unwind capabilities, more lift, and more forward drive.  The ride is smoother, and allows the surfer a higher quality experience. 

The next time you are out on the high seas, flying along at top speed, enjoying the thrill of kite surfing, think about the board designers, who have constructed the board to have more “rail” in the water.  These designers  consider the wind powers and rider’s weights when making your board, so that you are safe and get the best possible ride.

Here’s a great video showing what it’s like to be out there in the water.  Does it look easy?

The kites come in various sizes, depending on the strength of the wind.  They have inflatable tubes used to reduce the pull from the wind. These tubes provide the kite with shape, and come in handy, if the surfer ends up falling off the board, and the kite finds itself in the water.  The tubes keep the kite afloat, so the surfer can re-launch himself without having to get to the beach.

Ocean Rodeo Razor Kitesurfing Kite

Fitness Level

This sport is difficult and requires a well tuned body.  So, if you aren’t in particularly good shape, you either need to get in decent shape to kite board properly, or you can theoretically use your kite board to help you get in shape.  Either way, it’s like many other sports – you simply can’t be doing athletic things like kitesurfing, and then, when it’s all over, light up a cigarette, and munch on Twinkies.  You don’t necessarily have to be “ripped” to be a kitesurfer, but you should be flexible and strong, especially if you want to do any stunts.


Kite Surfing Safety

Don’t underestimate the power of the ocean, and those beautiful waves. Consider what might be under the water as well.  Just be prepared!  

The rider must have great balance, and strong arms and legs for sure.  There are movement facilities cropping up in many centres around the world, that will prepare the athlete specifically for kitesurfing.  The trainers at these fitness clubs know exactly what a potential kitesurfer needs to do, to be ready for the “ride” of a lifetime.  

The most important element for a successful ride isn’t just the wind.  The waves can be giant to small, or the water might even be as calm as possible.  You can still kite surf.  This sport is never boring or repetitive, and certainly high energy, so be prepared!  Do your due diligence and play safe!


About the author: Janis is loves to study topics involving health & wellness, and is obsessed with natural supplements and learning about what goes into them and what they do, or don’t do.  She went to university for nutrition with a minor in economics. Out of the Beach Baby Squad, she is the most likely to stay home. She also does the most of the product reviews on this site.