Before you even thought about taking a Kite Lesson you probably asked yourself this question. Is an obvious question but one that deserves a bit of attention to answer. Kitesurfing at its most simple is the art of attaching yourself to a high power kite and using a combination of the wind in the kite and the resistance generated by the board to ride across the water. There are many different names for the same sport and it can be referred to as kitesurfing, kiteboarding, fly surfing to name just a few. There are several different styles of kitesurfing mainly freestyle, wake style, wave surfing, and speed, generally different styles require different types of kit and work your body in very different ways. Kitesurfing is presently the fastest growing water-sport in the world and because of this many of the safety aspects of the sport are becoming better and better, led by the change to de-powerable bow style kites.
The idea of using a simple kite as a means of propulsion dates back to the 12th century when the Chinese used kites to pull their canoes across the water. This kitesailing as it was known was then re discovered in the 1800’s by George Pocock who took the basic kite design and by increasing the size was able to pull carts on land and ships on the water. The kite Pocock built were designed with 4 lines and the carts and boats they were pulling could travel upwind and the kite itself could generate enough power to lift them off the ground and power them for a period of time.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s when Wipika solved the problem suffered by all these earlier kite designs…how to launch it from the water. The Leading Edge Inflatable (LEI) kite was born. Then in the 1990’s Laird Hamilton and Manu showed the possibilities of Kitesurfing to a bunch of surfers and extreme sport junkies off the coast of Maui, since then its popularity has exploded leading to it becoming the fastest growing water sport in the world. Advances in kite technology have made it safer and quicker to learn, meaning over the last 5 years it has become even more accessible, today taking a kite lesson or two you can expect to be up and riding in about a week, soon after that follow jumps, backloops.