Just weeks ago many of us were bitterly disappointed to learn that Jarno Smeets did not, in fact, take flight with a pair of prosthetic bird wings he had created. It transpired that the birdwings video, which garnered thousands of views online, was actually a fake, produced by Jarno, or Floris Kaayk, with a production company to fool the world. It might have been disappointing to learn that man still couldn’t fly, but many of us forget there are other amazing ways which people take to the skies, just none which quite captured the public’s imagination as a man who flapped his own birdwings.
Kitesurfing, wingsuit flying, bungee jumping, tandem skydives and paragliding are just some of the best ways of “getting air”. While you might be relying on wind, a high-altitude take off spot or simply a stylish fall, it’s still possible to experience the exhileration of walking on the wind.
The Kitesurf Tour Europe (KTE) is the official European Championship Tour in freestyle kiteboarding, inviting the finest kiteboarders from around the world to participate in a professional event series as it tries to push the high-octane sport to the next level, achieving wider recognition and appreciation. In partnership with Kite Tour Asia (KTA) the KTE is encouraging other continental series championships to grow the global kitesurfing community and raise its reputation.
Offering kiteboarders the opportunity to reach larger audiences through a strong multi-platform media presence, KTE hope to offer more professional events to help promote the sport on national and international platforms. Since 2002 the German Kitesurf Trophy has offered a top class competition for kiteboarders, and now the European Championship in Kiteboarding Freestyle will host Europe’s best riders in a competition which is open to riders of all nationalities.
The tour kicks off in Austria on May 3rd in Podersdorf near Vienna. The event will run until the 6th of May, when the team will break and meet again in Hamburg in Germany on June 26th to July 1st. From there the tour will move to the Netherlands, with the activity going down at Brouwersdam near Rotterdam between the 16th and 19th of August. In September the tour moves on to La Baule in France between the 27th and 30th, finishing off in Castelldefels in Spain between November the 1st and 4th.
Kitesurfing has often been thought of as a dangerous sport, but this is changing with the development of better equipment and the provision of more sophisticated training and instruction. It’s thought that events like the Kitesurf Tour will help raise the profile of kitesurfing and encourage more people to give it a go.