Kitesurfing has only been a popular sport for just over 10 years, which means there are a lot of common misconceptions about how it works, what you need, how much it costs and how safe it is. When most people think of kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, they think of it as the same thing as windsurfing or wakeboarding. Actually, sport is completely different from everything else. Although it is a board sport, it basically consists of 75% kite flying and 25% boarding. This article dispels the most common myths about kitesurfing.
1. Kitesurfing is dangerous: It is not true if you take lessons and learn all the techniques to stay safe. Kitesurfing is only dangerous if you go out in unsafe conditions or try to learn on your own. The equipment is pretty secure now and uses redundant systems, so if you need to disconnect from your kite, you have several methods of doing so.
2. Kitesurfing requires a lot of muscle strength: Most people don’t realize that kitesurfing doesn’t require much arm strength. A harness is worn around the waist or hips so that the force and pull of the kite is directed to those areas rather than the arms and shoulders.
3. Kiteboarding is expensive: Actually, since the sport has only been around for a short time, there is a lot of used equipment available in the market, so you can save a lot of money. However, be careful not to buy equipment that is more than two or three years old, as significant security improvements have been made to recent equipment. You can also save money by buying a package with a kite and board together.
4. Kitesurfing is difficult to learn. Believe it or not, the team has improved so much in recent years that the sport is easier to learn than ever. Often times, people get up and navigate competently their first few times on the water. Some people even show up on the board during their first lesson, especially if they have experience with kite trainers.
5. You have to start with a kite trainer – Kite trainers are a great place to start and will allow you to learn the fundamentals of kite flying skills needed to kiteboard. They help build muscle memory which will really benefit you when you take your first lesson. While trainer kites are extremely useful and will likely save you money in the long run, experience with trainer kites is not necessary.
6. If you are a good wakeboarder, you will be a good kiteboarder. As mentioned before, the sport consists of flying kites. After all, if you can’t control the kite and keep it flying, you won’t even be able to use a board. Because wakeboarders are used to edging their board perpendicular to the boat’s pull in order to get on the board, they sometimes struggle with the concept of having to point the board at the kite to get up and ride.
7. A kitesurf kite and a paraglider are the same thing: Paragliders are a foil-style kite that uses open cells that fill with the wind to create lift. Kitesurfing kites use inflatable bladders to create structure and float if they hit the water.
8. Kiteboarding is just a water sport: While this is partially true, in fact kiteboarding is not just limited to water. Snowkiting uses the same kites to pull your snowboard or skis through the snow.
9. Kitesurfing is only for young people. Actually, kitesurfing is the fastest growing sport among retirees. Because the sport is not very physically demanding, it actually requires less effort than walking a round of golf. The sport is as extreme or as relaxing as you make it.
10. Kitesurfing is physically demanding – As mentioned in number two, the harness does most of the work for you. Therefore, you can stay in the water for several hours at a time without getting tired. Most of the time, the reason for ending your sessions is usually because the wind changes or you are thirsty or hungry.