Starting to become popular in the 1990s, kitesurfing (sometimes known as kiteboarding), fits firmly into the category of extreme sports. Commonly described as a cross between windsurfing, wakeboarding and paragliding, kitesurfing requires great physical strength and stamina. The equipment is often sold in sailing or windsurfing shops, although most items for kitesurfing are completely different to these other sports.
Power kites usually come in either leading edge inflatables or a standard foil version. Itís important to choose the right size to match the userís weight, and kitesurfing shops usually have very experienced staff on hand for advice. Similar to wakeboards, the kiteboards can be purchased with or without feet straps, although itís hard to perform aerial jumps with the latter. Flying lines, control bars and harnesses are vital pieces of equipment, as well as impact vests or life jackets. Most kitesurfing shops will also recommend that users carry a safety hook knife for cutting tangled lines.
There are hundreds of UK shops selling kitesurfing equipment, and an increasing number of manufacturers are ramping up production to take advantage of this sports growing popularity. Whilst kitesurfing is normally restricted to very large areas of open water like the sea, certain inland clubs exist on lakes or other large waterways. Online kitesurfing shops can also offer advice by telephone and email, as well as delivering equipment straight to your home.