Kite surfing

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kitesurfers in the Columbia River Gorge
Kitesurfer in El Médano , Tenerife
Short film about kitesurfing on the beach in Katwijk , the Netherlands

Kitesurfing , also known as kiteboarding , is a water sport that originated from kite sailing . When kitesurfing, the athlete stands on a board that is similar to a small surfboard or wakeboard . He is pulled by a stunt kite (English "kite"). Waves and the pull of the kite can be used as support for jumps.


The “Charvolant”, a kite-drawn carriage, designed by Pocock

Origins of the sport

In the 1820s, the English teacher George Pocock experimented with large stunt kites to propel carriages and small boats. To steer he used a 4-line system, which was very similar to the one used in kitesurfing today. Both the carriages and the ships could drive to leeward with it , and do small jumps in parallel. Pocock's intention was to establish what he called “Charvolant” as a real alternative to horses in order to avoid the “horse tax” that was common at the time. However, his concept could not prevail, so that it was almost completely forgotten by the end of the century. In 1903 the aviation pioneer Samuel Franklin Cody developed the man-lifting kite , connected it to a small sailboat and crossed the English Channel with it .

The development of aramid and high-strength polyethylene fibers in the late 1970s made the triumph of kites possible. With these materials it was possible to produce more stable, more tear-resistant and more effective sheets for the kites. With the FlexiFoil stunt kite made of aramid and polyethylene, Ian Day managed to drive his catamaran over the water at around 40 km / h .

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the German Dieter Strasilla developed a sailing system that can be used to sail on land, in water and on snow. With the “Skywing” system developed and patented together with his brother Udo, jumping and flying or gliding became possible. Strasilla and a friend of his, the Swiss Andrea Kuhn, combined the system with skis , snowboards , grass skis and self-made buggies . In one of his patents , Strasilla also briefly addresses the idea of ​​using inflatable kites for kitesurfing.

In the 1980s, attempts were made in Sweden, among other places, to propel canoes , ice-skaters , skiers , water-skiers and roller-skaters with stunt kites.

The brothers Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux developed inflatable stunt kites for kitesurfing in the early 1980s and had this idea patented in November 1984. This already looked almost exactly like today's tube kite and served as the starting model for all further developments.

In 1990, New Zealander Peter Lynn developed buggy kiting and first used it in Ashburton's Argyle Park. To do this, he combined the kite with a three-wheeled buggy, similar to a Kettcar . Buggy kiting then became the first widespread kite sport, so that by 1999 around 14,000 kite buggies had been sold worldwide.

Similar to the idea of Legaignoux brothers developed in the early 1990s the American Boeing - aerodynamics Bill Roeseler and his son Corey, the kiteski system. The idea was to pull a water ski with a two-line delta-shaped tube kite. The kite could be steered with a bar . After they patented the KiteSki, it went on the market in 1994. Thanks to its air tubes, the kite could be started again even after landing in water. At the end of the 1990s, Corey Roesler first used a board, similar to a surfboard, instead of water skis.

Laird Hamilton and Emmanuel Bertin demonstrated kitesurfing to the public on the Maui coast in Hawaii in 1996, helping to make the sport more popular.

The Legaignoux brothers also stuck to their idea, developed it further and finally brought the Wipika tube kite onto the market in 1997 . This had a bow-kite shape with wider ends than the previous kites and thus enabled an easier water start. In the same year, the French Raphaël Salles and Laurent Ness developed a special kitesurf board, which contributed to the worldwide spread of kitesurfing from 1998. The first surf schools were now teaching kitesurfing. The first competition took place in September 1998, the winner was American Flash Austin .



The equipment consists at least of a board , kite, bar with lines and the trapeze , with tube kites also an option to inflate the kite. Usually a pump is used here.

The biggest differences in equipment in terms of design and size are in the board, the bar and the kite. Here, the equipment can be adapted to the athlete's body weight and ability level as well as to different weather conditions, here mainly the wind strength.

The board

Until around 2001, directional boards, similar to windsurfing boards, were the dominant type of board in kitesurfing. From then on, twin tips similar to wakeboards became more popular.

A distinction is made between different types of boards: Currently mainly twin tips (TT; more rarely bidirectionals , or bidies for short) and directional boards and foil boards. In contrast to surfboards, all board variants have less buoyancy when surfing. This is only created hydrodynamically by driving over the water. This also explains the smaller dimensions of the boards, which vary between 120 and 165 cm in length and about 26 to 52 cm in width depending on skill level, wind strength, body weight and kite size. There have been great leaps in development since kitesurfing began. Twin tips are now common on the market and are used by many kitesurfers and most kitesurf schools.

With Twin Tips, the power transmission of the steering movement of the feet to the board is normally via foot straps. But firm bonds are also used. Other boards such as directional boards are also used without ties or loops.

Other features can also be distinguished such as rockers similar to rocker skis and the so-called underwater ship with different shapes, which mean different behavior in choppy water .


Kiter jumping with directional board

The directional or directional board, also called surfboard or wave board by some manufacturers, was adopted from surfing . In contrast to the other board types, the construction of the directionals is a little higher and the buoyancy a little greater. Due to the lack of fins on the bow and the tapering shape, it can only be driven in one direction, so that if you change direction you also have to change feet.

Due to its special driving experience, both when driving in larger waves and in relatively calm seas, it is above all a fun alternative to the twin tip. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced users.

Twin tip

Small twin tip board

The twin tip, also known as twintip (from twin tip bi-directional), was originally adapted from wakeboarding and can therefore be driven bidirectionally in both directions. In contrast to surfboards, some manufacturers sell these as kiteboards. Due to its flatter design, it has sharper edges in contrast to a surfboard. The symmetry in terms of “outline”, “shape” and arrangement of the foot straps is characteristic. There is no change of foot on this board.

The boards can be further differentiated using the outline. Most twin tips are made convex on both long sides . Some large twin tips have a concave shape here, whereby the boundaries are fluid.

The twin tips are suitable for beginners as well as for experienced athletes, whereby the board size usually decreases with advanced skill level, as larger boards are usually used at the beginning due to the easier planing.

Mutant board

The Mutants are a mixture of a twin tip and a directional board. The shape is similar to that of a directional with a clear distinction between bow and stern. Basically designed for driving in one direction, but due to the fins on the bow it can be driven more easily bidirectionally. As with a twin tip, there are usually two foot straps.


Raceboards are characterized both by their larger volume and by longer fins. Due to their construction, they are more suitable for very fast driving on smooth water.

Foil board

A foil board (also called hydrofoil) is a board with a sword-like extension attached to its underside . This is usually referred to as a mast. In turn, wings similar to hydrofoils are attached to it. At a certain speed, the wings lift the board out of the water with dynamic buoyancy .

For spectators, a foil board gives the impression that the surfer is floating above the water. Because of their low water resistance in this driving mode, foil boards are particularly suitable for light winds or for races.

Bar, steering and safety lines

5-line bar with clamcleat adjuster

The “kite bar” or simply “bar” connects the athlete with the kite via 20–30 m long control and safety lines and enables it to be controlled in terms of direction and strength development. In the meantime almost all models have several safety mechanisms for partial or complete separation from the glider in the event of danger and / or loss of control of the glider. Most of these safety releases are a "quick release" on the "chicken loop" (a quickly separable connection on the loop on which the harness is attached) and a so-called "safety leash". When the quick release is triggered, the kite falls onto the water and is usually depressurized, but remains connected to the harness with a line so that the kite is not lost, while when the safety leash is released the athlete is completely separated from the kite.

There are three bar systems with different numbers of lines:

Two lines are responsible for the transmission of the tensile forces. They are brought together in the middle to form a depower line and attached to the harness hook via a central lead-through and a loop at the end (chicken loop). The other two lines (steering lines or brake lines) are attached to the left and right at the ends of the bar. They enable further aerodynamic manipulations such as steering, changing the angle of attack or braking.
The fifth line is attached centrally or as a “Y” to the leading edge of the front tube of the kite. The kite can blow without pressure by pulling on this line, which means a gain in safety. When taking off from the water, it also helps to bring the kite into a convenient starting position by folding it down. A trimmable fifth line serves to stabilize the kite profile and thus expands the usable wind range.
A two-line only allows a limited depower of the wing. By letting go of the bar, the umbrella can immediately blow on one of the lines in an emergency situation. It then only hangs on the safety line, which was often attached to the trapeze, previously on the wrist. Occasionally this system is used in beginner training. It is used to get to know the glider and to get a feel for it.

The kite

Illustration of three kites. Softkite (back), C-Kite (right) and Bow-Kite (left)

Kites, also known as paragliders or kites, are available in different designs, which u. a. differentiate in attack surface and angle of the wind. The stunt kite can be steered by means of a leash so that the forces exerted on the athlete vary in direction and strength. The size of the umbrella that you use is mainly chosen depending on the wind strength. Stronger winds require smaller umbrellas to avoid overloading. Beginners in particular should be careful not to use a kite that is too large. It should be noted here that doubling the wind speed results in a quadrupling of the forces in the kite, whereby incorrect steering movements can have dramatic consequences. A 9 m² kite is able to pull two grown men out of the water with 6 wind forces without any problems.

In order to reduce the forces which occur, the kites with a so-called "depower" option (engl. For example, are invalidating ) equipped. Using "Depower" reduces the angle of the leading edge of the kite to the wind and changes the profile of the kite so that less wind is caught in the wing and the drag of the kite is reduced.

A main distinction is made between soft kites and tube kites:

Soft kites

Soft kite

The soft kites or ram air kites or mats look like paragliders and are especially suitable for use on land, for example when snowboarding or all-terrain boarding. But there are also soft kites with closed cells that can be used for surfing on the water. They get their stability from the fact that the air can penetrate through air inlet valves at the leading edge, where it remains “stored” between two layers of cloth and can no longer escape. Softkites with open cells, on the other hand, would fill with water if they fell in the water and would therefore be difficult to fly. The term ram air refers to the ram air between the upper and lower sail, which gives the wing its shape. The flight stability is basically created by bridle lines. Soft kites sometimes get by with 3 lines. With this system, the three bridle lines merge into a center line (front line) and two steering lines (back lines). On the other hand, some mats have attachment points such as tube kites (4-line).

Tube kites

A C-kite; The angular shape is easy to see at both ends

In contrast to soft kites, tube kites have several inflated air hoses (tubes): a front hose (front tube) that gives the wing its shape, and several cross hoses (struts) that are connected to the front tube at about a 90 ° angle and the " Sail area "give stability. These air chambers are inflated to around 6-8 psi (about 0.4-0.6 bar) prior to takeoff . They prevent the parachute from sinking after a water landing and thus facilitate the water start. A distinction is made between 4 subspecies within tube kites:


The C-Kite got its name thanks to its C-shaped, i.e. more curved, umbrella shape. This leads to a smaller surface that can "catch" less wind. It is one of the tube kites and its front tube is angular at both ends. The C-Kite is the oldest form of the LEI kites (leading-edge-inflated kites) and is attached to four lines, with the option of a fifth line. The four lines are attached to the corners of the two ends of the umbrella. The main difference between the C-kite and other tube kites is the lack of bridles at the leading edge, which leads to a very low depower and a stronger pulling force on the bar. These great forces on the bar give the kiter a very direct driving experience. In addition, without a bridle it is more difficult to restart the kite after a fall (relaunch). With the already mentioned fifth line as an option, starting is very reliable. The correct technique must be used to depower the C-Kite. It must be steered into the correct wind window in order to achieve the desired forces. The C-Kite is mainly used by good wakestyle and freestyle riders and is less suitable for beginners due to its low depower possibility and the difficult water start.

Bow kites
Bow kite

The bow kites are very similar to the C kites in construction, but the profile is much flatter and the front tube is not linear, but is curved around the two ends, which led to the name. The arched umbrella also has “scales cords” with several points of attachment to the kite. Thanks to this optimized shape and "suspension", the kite's angle of attack to the wind can be adjusted by pushing the bar away over a relatively larger range of up to almost 100% depower, which means that normally the kite no longer pulls the surfer to leeward suddenly (see Dangers ). This makes the kite very suitable for beginners and is mostly used for courses. The disadvantage of bow kites is the often indirect feeling of flight, which is a real disadvantage compared to C-kites, especially in the advanced freestyle area.

Hybrid kites
Hybrid kite

Hybrid kites are a mixture of C-kites and bow-kites. Like bow kites, they are mostly SLE (Supported Leading Edge) kites in which the front tube is stabilized by bridle lines at several connection points. This results in a high depower potential, similar to bow kites. Similar to C-kites, the steering lines are mostly tied directly to the kite. This results in a more direct flight and steering feel as well as lower forces at the bar. These features are particularly required by advanced drivers. For beginners, hybrid kites are not as forgiving as bow or delta kites.

Delta kites

Delta-shape kites are a further development of the bow kites. They were launched on the market in 2007 by the French kitesurfing brand F-one Kites and were quickly copied by other brands. They are flown with 4–5 lines. Like the bow kites, they offer almost 100% depower and help make the sport safer. Delta kites also have bridles on the front tube, which make it possible to set the kite at a steeper angle of attack to the wind, making them easier and safer for beginners to fly. The kites have a delta shape and are similar to bow kites. Delta kites are currently the kites with the best water launch properties. As soon as they are on the water or snow, they drift to the edge of the wind window and can be launched out of the water by pulling the respective control line. There are also smaller umbrellas up to 6 square meters.


The angle of attack of the kite is controlled via the trapezoid in connection with the bar. The safety leash is also attached here.

A board leash

More equipment

  • A pump for inflating a tube kite.
  • From some kiters one is Boardleash used to prevent the board expels after a fall. The disadvantage of a board leash is the higher risk of injury. If a board leash is used, for safety reasons it should only be used in combination with a helmet and impact protection vest. The majority of kiters do without the leash because a lost board can also be reached with the body drag .
  • Helmet : To reduce the risk of injury in the event of a fall, a helmet that is adapted for kitesurfing is usually recommended.
  • Impact protection vest : An impact protection vest fulfills two functions. With the ability to jump and reach high speeds while kitesurfing, there is a high risk of injury if you hit the water. Therefore it is worn even by experienced athletes to reduce the risk, for example when practicing new tricks. Due to its high buoyancy, which is almost the same as that of a life jacket , it also facilitates longer swimming insoles, which are often necessary in the event of a fall. They also protect the thorax and spine with their padding and inserts. However, it should be noted that an impact protection vest is not a life jacket and therefore cannot guarantee the same safety features, such as survival in the event of unconsciousness.
  • Shoes : They protect the kiter from cuts in shallow areas and keep feet warm on longer trips, especially in cold temperatures.
  • Sports sunglasses : When observing the kite is more commonly seen in the sky as in other sports. This can be uncomfortable if the sun is in this direction. In addition, it prevents “flashing” that can arise from the reflective surface of the water.



Kitesurfer at the carved jibe

The kite surfer regulates his course and his speed by controlling the screen and the board. The courses to the wind can be chosen similar to a sailor or windsurfer, that is, you cannot drive directly into the wind, but only cross , this is also known as climbing.

There are differences compared to other sailing athletes, among other things, due to the speed and altitude of the kite. The latter is a maximum of 30 meters depending on the length of the line. At this altitude the wind is usually stronger, more constant and free of turbulence .

The bar enables the kite surfer to control the umbrella in the wind window via the lines and thus determine his course to the wind. To change direction, the side of the bar you want to drive into is carefully pulled towards your body and the kite is moved into it.

At the beginning you learn to drive back and forth on half wind courses. At first you drift slightly leeward until you can maintain altitude. What is meant here is the 'height' compared to the wind. To change direction, the kite is slowly moved to the zenith and finally to the other part of the wind window. In principle, you stop and continue in the other direction. When climbing uphill, steering the board by shifting your weight plays a major role.

On the half wind course , the surfer drives roughly at right angles to the wind direction. By less supine position, he moves from a half-wind course on a downwind course and steers to leeward. With a stronger supine position and pressure on the edge , he drives on an upwind course . The downwind and upwind course allows you to steer to leeward and windward or "into" the wind window and "out" of the wind window.

Instead of stopping and getting back into the water, the kiter `` stands '' at the tram `` neck '' (Basic Jibe) before continuing in the other direction. Strictly speaking, this is not a jibe , as the bow does not go through the wind.

Alternatively, this change of direction can also take place with a jibe and its variants. With a carved jibe, the kiter drives a semicircle to leeward and then continues in the other direction instead of stopping. Similar to skiing, carving refers to driving harder on the edge.

A kiter on an upwind course, strong supine position and edge loading

In contrast to the twin tip, the directional can also be used to turn . Sometimes stopping and continuing in the other direction is called turning.

Start of the kite

Launching a Delta-Shape kite with a launch helper in Exmouth , England

The procedure for starting the screen depends on the system used. A start helper is useful for tube kiting. He holds the screen at the edge of the wind window, where the screen does not develop as much tension, so that the athlete can safely fly the screen to the zenith. Without a starter, the umbrella can be held on the ground by a folded corner with sand or sandbags. At the start, the sandbags are thrown off by pulling on the relevant lines and the umbrella rises to the sky.

Certain Ram Air umbrellas can also be started without an assistant. If possible, these kites should not be launched in the direct power zone - unless the wind is below 3  bft . For safety reasons, however, it is advisable to have a helper with these umbrellas, who will protect the athlete from being pulled forward unintentionally. This also applies to the tube kite start, especially when there is a lot of wind.

Water start

Valdevaqueros, Tarifa (Spain).
Georgioupoli , Crete , Greece.
Kitesurfer at Cape Trafalgar ( Spain )

After tube umbrellas have landed in water, in which the kite is mostly upside down, i.e. with the front hose lying on the water, the kite surfer tries to put the kite on its "back" by loading and then releasing the front lines (swimming in the direction of the umbrella). , i.e. the top of the screen. By steering movements, usually on one of the steering lines, the glider is carefully moved out of the power zone to the edge of the wind window. There the glider can be started again by pulling the control line pointing upwards. Systems with a fifth line on the front hose (front, C-shaped hose) make it easier to fold the kite and thus start the water. In particular, a start in the performance zone is possible, which can otherwise be very dangerous with tube umbrellas ("Russian start") because the athlete is torn up and forward depending on the wind.

If the glider is upside down, a so-called reverse start is possible if the glider has an appropriate device. Mat umbrellas (3- / 4-line) can be launched backwards quite easily by pulling on the back lines (lines attached to the rear edge of the umbrella). The kite then rises, flying backwards and, after reaching a height of a few meters, can be brought back into the forward position by turning it 180 °. Some tube paragliders have special lines for backward take-off, which act via a deflection system or directly on the rear edge of the paraglider, which makes it possible to fly backward. Reverse start systems are particularly advantageous for use on land (on snow).

The so-called bow umbrellas have the main tube curved backwards so that the umbrella no longer rests with the entire front edge on land or water. A fanned-out linkage of the front lines also lifts the ears from the ground or water. When restarting, such an umbrella can move to the wind window and rise again without lying directly on its "back". The transition from the power zone is much faster and smoother.

Delta-shape kites are currently the kites with the best water launch properties. As soon as they are on the water or snow, they drift to the edge of the wind window and can be launched out of the water by pulling the respective control line.


A basic jump
A big air jump

A kiter jumps by moving the kite at full speed over the zenith into the other edge of the wind window and is finally lifted into the air by the buoyancy of the kite. This allows big jumps, over 10m - sometimes even flights - to be made. In order not to turn forwards and thereby face the direction of flight, the athlete should adopt the most compact posture possible and build up a high level of body tension . To land the kite is slowly steered back into the original edge of the wind window. A simple jump is called a basic jump , air or, for a particularly high and / or long jump, big air

Schematic representation of all digging tricks when kiteboarding. Green = forehand, ocher brown = backhand. The arrow indicates the wind direction.
A front roll; The safety leash and the bar are clearly visible; Columbia River , USA

As with snowboards, skateboarding and similar sports are both flip and grave tricks and beyond one-foots , board-offs , and adapted from the wakeboarding tricks like Raileys possible.

  • With the flip tricks, the kiter can simply turn horizontally to the right or left around his own axis (360 flip) or vertically forwards or backwards (front flip or back flip).
  • When it comes to grab tricks, the kiter has even more options, as the adjacent diagram shows. Flip and grab tricks can also be combined so that tricks like "360 melons" or "720 tailgrabs" are possible.
  • With one-foot tricks, the kiter steps out of the binding / loop with one foot and combines this with a grab trick (to control the board) and possibly a flip trick. A pure one-foot is rarely performed as the chances of losing the board in the air are very high.
  • During board-offs, the kiter steps out of the binding / loops with both feet. The combination with a grab trick is mandatory here, otherwise you would lose the board. The combination with a flip is also possible here.
  • The Raleys represent a special type of jump, as the kiter is only connected to the kite with the safety leash (he drives "unhooked"). Before the jump, the bar is hung on the trapeze, the kiter stretches out his arms and brings the board up to or above head level with his legs bent backwards. To land, the athlete has to pull his arms and legs back up. After landing, the bar is hooked again.

Technical terms in kitesurfing

Air time
Duration of a jump. This is usually a few seconds. In good wind conditions, the flight time can be in the double-digit seconds range.
Aspect ratio
The ratio between the width and height of the kite (varies with common kites between high-aspect-ratio of 6.0 and low-aspect-ratio of 3.0)
The inflatable plastic tube, which is located in the tubes and is inflated before the kite is launched. The pressure depends on the ambient temperature and the water temperature. In strong sunlight and high air temperatures, the bladder can burst without any external influence if it has been inflated too much beforehand. However, if you put too little pressure into the tubes, the kite will not develop a profile at all, or the air in the tubes will cool down so much on contact with the water that the kite will lose its profile and can no longer be started without outside help.
C-kite feeling
This means the advantages of the direct steering behavior and the low holding force of the C-Kite. The manufacturers are increasingly trying to transfer these positive properties to newer kite models (e.g. Delta kites), which unfortunately have lost some of the C-kite feeling due to the improvement of the depower effect and other safety aspects.
High end
Strong Wind Characteristics - The high-end characteristic of a kite includes how a kite - in relation to its size - behaves in strong winds. A kite with a good high-end offers good pulling power in a lot of wind and can still be steered in a controlled and safe manner.
Low end
Light wind property - As the expression suggests, the low-end property is the opposite of the high-end. A kite with a good low-end, develops respectable pulling forces and good steering behavior in - for its size - little wind.
Leading edge
The alternative name for the front tube.
New School
The "New School" includes the repertoire of tricks from wakeboarding in which the kite is driven unhooked. This means that the rider unhooks the chicken loop from the harness before the trick and is only connected to the kite via the hands on the bar and the safety leash. This is the basis for some jumps and tricks that would not be possible when hooked (e.g. Airpass or Handle-Pass).
old school
Driving and jumping in the “old school” manner, which has existed since the beginning of kitesurfing and where the rider is hooked.
Projected area
The area of ​​the kite cloth that is blown against by the wind and is therefore aerodynamically effective.
The stall (Engl. Stall ) occurs when flows to little wind on the profile of the kite and the power of suction that holds the kite in the air, is less than its own weight. The kite no longer develops any traction and then falls onto the surface. A special form is the so-called "backstall", which arises when the kite is very low in the wind window and the angle of attack of the kite becomes so large by pulling the bar that the wind no longer pulls the kite up, but pushes it down. the kite rolls over and ultimately crashes. This is a common beginner mistake. A "front stall" is created when the kite flies over the surfer. This happens when the kite is flown from a position deep in the wind window with a lot of momentum to the edge of the wind window (usually to the 12 o'clock position). The result is a stall and the kite falls uncontrollably onto the water.
Kite surfers “wave” driving
A discipline that combines the elements of kitesurfing with those of surfing. The surfer can be pulled out to sea with kite assistance and then rides the waves there. The kite is then brought to the edge of the wind window, where it can hardly develop any tensile forces and has the least influence on the surfer on the wave. Of course, the advantages of the kite give the surfer other possibilities such as approaching the waves and using them as ramps.
A discipline in which tricks that originally come from wakeboarding are performed while kiting. The tricks are mostly unchecked.

Hazard potential

Like all water and air sports, kiting involves certain risks that cannot be completely reduced. Accidents are often due to poorly trained, even reckless kite surfers and deficiencies in equipment. The kite surfer is particularly at risk over land and with solid obstacles. Since kitesurfing is still a very new sport and many young kite surfers overestimate their skills, accidents occur regularly, often with serious injuries.

Kiting is becoming safer thanks to newer kite designs and increasing awareness of dangers. There is also a risk of injury from the thin lines, which are very "sharp" under high tension. The statistical risk of accidents while kitesurfing is a controversial issue. So far there is no reliable evidence of the actual risk. Studies dealing with kitesurfing accidents deal with the causes of accidents and their possible avoidance, but not with the frequency of accidents. Other studies examined the injury frequency in the professional field.

Rapid changes in weather, especially unexpected storms, represent a particular danger.

Safety measures

In order to avoid accidents and to protect yourself and others, the following aspects should be clarified in advance. This is especially true for beginners:

Kitesurfing area
  1. The area should be at least 3 line lengths (approx. 90 m) wide to leeward, there should be a suitable emergency exit point that can also be reached with rescue vehicles. In addition, it is advisable to pay attention to the potential dangers on the shore (trees, high-voltage pylons etc.), which dangers could arise in the water ( currents , reefs, sandbanks etc.) and whether there are any obstacles on the windward side that create wind turbulence can.
Wind & weather
  1. The greater the wind force, the greater the forces acting on the kiter. Your own ability should therefore not be overestimated and a correspondingly smaller screen should be used in strong winds.
  1. For kiting, constant wind parallel to the shore ( sideshore ) and a light onshore wind ( side-onshore wind ) with around 10–35  kn (18–50 km / h, 3–8  Bft ) are best suited . With onshore wind there is a risk of being pulled onto the bank. Offshore wind is by far the least suitable. The risk of being driven too far out to sea is high and the wind is usually not laminar.
  1. You are not allowed to surf during a thunderstorm due to the risk of lightning strikes.
  1. All material should be checked for damage and signs of wear and tear before each start; so, especially with the kite, the correct setup has to be checked.
  1. There should always be a functioning emergency release system on the bar (quick release) and a safety leash.
  1. It is best to only kite with a helmet and impact protection vest, especially when using a board leash.
  1. The board and the kite should always be well secured on land (preferably with sand or bags, as these prevent abrasion of the kite, which is coated with silicone against UV radiation) and never go unobserved.
  1. Take-off and landing should always be carried out with a trained helper, as this is jointly liable under German law in the event of an accident during these two phases!
  1. Dodging and emergency situations such as separating from the glider should be well trained.
  1. Never take off, jump or ride over people who are within the flight and line radius of the kite.
  1. Every athlete should only go out as far as he can swim and never kite alone so that help can be called in an emergency.


Spot rules for kitesurfers in Laboe

The shipping traffic is regulated by international, partly also by national, regulations , as "road users" these are therefore also valid for kite surfers. On the high seas and on the waters connected to it, the international collision prevention rules apply . In addition, further regulations and / or regulations deviating from the collision prevention rules may apply in the respective territorial waters , which then have priority. The Inland Waterways Regulations apply to domestic rivers, canals and other watercourses used such as large lakes .


As with other extreme sports , kitesurfing has several records in different disciplines, mostly distinguishing between official and unofficial ones.


For jumps, the official record for height is around 25 meters (unofficially 48 meters) and a width of 250 meters. The longest jump that can be proven by video to date was 22 seconds and was carried out on July 28, 2007 by Jessie Richman in the Golden Gate Strait off San Francisco .


The official speed world record holder according to the version of the WGPSSRC is the Frenchman Sebastian Catellan with 56.87 knots (105.32 km / h) as an average speed over 10 seconds on October 28th, 2009 at the Lüderitz Speed ​​Challenge in Lüderitz in Namibia .

According to the version of the WSSRC, the official world speed record is 50.98 knots (94.41 km / h) with an average speed of over 500 m. It was also set up in Lüderitz by the Frenchman Alexandre Caizergues on November 14, 2009.

According to the Guinness Book of Records the world speed record from the American Rob Douglas is 55.65 knots (103 km / h). This record was also achieved at the Lüderitz Speed ​​Challenge on October 28, 2010.


With kiteboarding it is also possible to drive longer distances, so there are several records in this (unofficial) discipline.

  • Rimas Kinka broke the Guinness World Record in November 2011 in the field of “Longest Distance Kitesurfed”. He was kiting 313.7 miles (504.8 km) in Islamorada, Florida, USA. He was on the road for 24 hours.
  • Filippo van Hellenberg Hubar, Camilla Ringvold, Max Blom, Eric Pequeno, Dennis Gijsbers and Ike Frans took the southern route from the Canary Islands to the Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean. Each of the 6 kiters was on the road for a total of 4 hours a day and alternated with the others without interruption, day and night. The team kitted over 3,986 kilometers (3,200 nautical miles) to get to the other side of the Atlantic in 19 days. They were accompanied by a sailing boat.

Web links

Commons : Kitesurfing  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jakob Jelling: History of Kitesurfing ; ( Memento of November 29, 2006 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 26, 2019.
  2. a b c d e f Peter Lynn: Brief History of Kitesurfing ; ( Memento of August 19, 2006 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 26, 2019.
  3. ^ Samuel Franklin Cody's Man-Lifting Kite ,, accessed August 25, 2010
  4. .
  5. patent DE2933050 ,, accessed on August 25 of 2010.
  6. Mark Harris Sea kayaking and kites ( Memento of 3 July 2006 at the Internet Archive ), July of 2002.
  7. History of Legaignoux Brothers Kite Development ,, accessed August 25, 2010.
  8. Flash Austin Profile ,, accessed August 25, 2010.
  9. Injury characteristics in kitesurfing ( memento from June 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), PDF 230 kB, Dr. Christopher Zitzmann.
  10. Accident and prevention mechanisms in kitesurfing under competition and leisure conditions , PDF 3.5 MB, dissertation from 2009.
  11. Kitesurfing - sports medicine aspects, risk factors and injuries. Retrieved on August 7, 2020 (German, English).
  12. Several kite surfers crashed in a storm, July 9, 2017, accessed July 9, 2017.
  13. Jessie Richman's 22 Second Jump ,, accessed on August 24, 2010.
  14. WGPSSRC Official Record: 1 - record holder, Sebastian Cattelan , :: for kitesurfers by windsurfers.
  15. Kiteboarding Records ( Memento from November 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) - Luderitz-Speed ​​Challenge.
  16. Guinness World Records, Fastest speed kite surfing, October 28, 2010 ( Memento of the original from January 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 20, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Terry Tomalin, Tampa Bay area kiteboarders take aim at distance record ( Memento June 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), St. Petersburg Times, February 27, 2009.
  18. Kirsty Jones Kiteboards from Lanzarote to Morocco ( Memento March 7, 2010 on the Internet Archive ),, May 15, 2006.
  19. Long Distance record (English).
  20. ^ Natalie Clarke kite crosses the Bass Strait in record time ,, March 24, 2010
  21. ^ Strait Across - Nat breaks record ( Memento of March 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Outeredge, March 25, 2010.
  22. Rimas Kinka breaks the long distance kitesurfing record ,, November 15, 2011 (English).