Kiteboarding is a watersport that combines kiting and wakeboarding. In this sport, the power to propel the wakeboard and the person riding it comes from the kite. Many people are finding this sport an exciting opportunity to enjoy time on the water, especially where there are wind and waves readily available.
Kiteboarding requires certain equipment, such as the kite, control bars with lines, a wakeboard, a harness, a wetsuit and a helmet. Like many other sports, it is better to be safe than sorry, so wear your helmet.
There are two types of kits, traction kites and ram-air kites. These kites range in price from $500 to $1700. Traction kites are available with 2 flying lines or with 4 flying lines. These kites are equipped with pre-inflated “bladders”, are water re-launchable and will float, but are less efficient aerodynamically. Ram-air kites, on the other hand, require a higher skill level, but offer better performance at the same time. Ram-air kites are more efficient, will travel upwind easier, move faster on the water and will fly well in any wind condition. Ram-air kites are not considered re-launchable. As with the different type kites, different size kites allow kiteboarding in different wind conditions. The bigger the kite, the less wind the kite should be flown in.
Control bars or booms are another piece of necessary equipment when kiteboarding. These are used with either 2 or 4 line kites. All control bars will need a tether to aid in controlling the kite. 4 line kites sometimes will have control handles which can make them more maneuverable than the 2 line kites. As the kiteboarder gains experience, they will decide which is right for them.
Kiteboarding also requires kite-flying experience, proper safety precautions and lessons from a kiteboarding instructor. Lessons are highly recommended for anyone wishing to participate in kiteboarding, for the safety of the participant and any bystanders. Kiteboarding lessons teach participants the basics of kite boarding, gives the participant a head start on mastering the skills needed to successfully kiteboard and helps the participant get on the water sooner and safer. Kite boarding lessons also cover techniques needed to successfully kiteboard. These techniques include how to launch and land the kite, self-rescue, setting up and attaching lines and re-launching the kite. Other techniques taught are wakeboard control, starting on the water, body dragging and understanding how the kite flies, all while being safe.
Kiteboarding can be a fun water sport if the participant stays alert, has the correct equipment and has gained the necessary equipment and skills. However, if any of these factors are missing, it can be less fun and more dangerous for everyone, not just the participant.
If the kiteboarder has all the necessary equipment they need as well as the necessary instructions for using the equipment, a day spent kiteboarding can be very enjoyable. But, the kiteboarder should always keep the safety of themselves and ones around them in mind to keep anything dangerous from taking place and ruining the fun they are having.