First of all, let’s start defining what is Windsurfing and Kiteboarding.
What is Windsurfing?
Windsurfing is a water based sport / recreational activity that has its historical origins in the Polynesian sailing boats. Fishermen and sailors from ancestral times had traditionally used small boats or any type of rudimentary floating craft, attached with a sail to navigate the Pacific Ocean waters while being in an upright position.
Windsurfing as we know it today, was developed in 1948 by a 20-year-old US born inventor by the name of Newman Darby who was the first westerner to envisage the idea of using a handheld sail-and-rig mounted on a universal joint to control a small catamaran—the first rudderless sailboard ever built that allowed a person to steer by shifting his or her weight in order to tilt the sail fore and aft. Darby filed for a first patent but subsequently lacked the funds to resubmit on a follow up, however he is widely recognized as its inventor as well as the first to conceive, design, and build a sailboard with a universal joint. In his own words, Darby experimented throughout much of the 1950s and 1960s and it wasn’t until 1963 that an improved sailboard with a conventional stayed sloop rig-sail arrangement made it more stable than the one built in 1948.
Windsurfing is combination of surfing and sailing. The windsurfer uses the wind to propel a board forward under his feet and skim across the water. Windsurfing is a recreational sport, most popular at flat water locations around the world that offers safety and accessibility for beginners and intermediate participants. The sport has two distinct interest groups, namely: Racing and Riding, with many participants embracing both.
What is Kiteboarding?
Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an extreme sport where the boarder (better known as a “kiter”, a “kiteboarder” or a “kitesurfer”) uses the power of the wind to propel a large power kite high in the air which in turn pulls forward the kitersurfer on a water, land or snow surface. Kiteboarding combines aspects of paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Kiteboarding is among the less expensive and the more convenient of the sailing sports.
After some early concepts emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, some forward designs were successfully experimented giving kiteboarding its final concept designs which soon became standard when the sport received a wider audience by the late 1990s; kiteboarding became officially a mainstream water based sport at the turn of the century.
It has freestyle, wave-riding and racing competitions. The sport held the fastest speed sailing record, reaching 55.65 kn (64 mph / 103.06 kmh) before being eclipsed by the 65.45 kn (75.31 mph / 121.21 kmh) record achieved by the Vestas Sailrocket (a sailboat). Worldwide, there are 1.5 million kiteboarders.
Kiteboarding, is a water sport that blends elements and characteristics of wakeboarding, surfing, windsurfing, snowboarding, paragliding, and skateboarding.
Levels of difficulties with Kiteboarding
- Kiteboarding is a complex sport since it combines the natural elements of wind and water—not always perfectly steady and easy to predict.
- Your progress depends on whether you have a positive learning experience. Being afraid or even if you are too hyped about it may be counterproductive, especially if you become so tense that you grip the bar with white knuckles.
- You must have a bit of stamina since at the beginning you will find yourself treading in the water and constantly maneuvering the kite back to the entry point before you learn to go upwind.
Level of difficulties with Windsurfing
- You have to learn how to rig your gear, beach start on your own, assume a correct body stance, plane on the water, as well as a whole laundry list of other skills.
- Learning how to Windsurf can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to reach the intermediate level. In order to step it up a tier and move on to the skilled level, this can take approximately 3 to 5 years.
- You really have to put in some effort to go fast on a windsurf board, especially if you do not have a harness available. This is because taming the power of the wind is no small task. Windsurfers have to manually counteract the force of the wind by pulling on the rig themselves. For those of you that don’t know, the rig is the assemblage of the mast, sail, and boom.
- The physical side of windsurfing can be difficult to manage. But it shouldn’t be enough of a hindrance to dissuade you from windsurfing altogether.
- The body of water should be spacious and relatively calm. As aforementioned, choppy waters can do a number on your knees. They also take away from the amount of control you have over the trim of the board.
Although there are certain elements of windsurfing and Kiteboarding that can be difficult at times, this shouldn’t hold you back from going out and trying the basics. If you ask me, I will always choose Kiteboarding! The first time I tried to go upwind was amazing and super fun, following every day I wanted to try new tricks and maneuvers. Almost immediately, I became a devoted wind addict and I’m positively sure that you too will become a wind addict and feel like a pro Kiteboarding rider in no time.