As you may well know by now, especially if you’ve been reading us for a while, kitesurfing is considered one of the most extreme of the extreme sports, and being such an exhilarating sport it is constantly evolving as kitesurfers keep searching for the ultimate thrill, the addictive adrenaline rush, the pure freedom of the sport.
Kitesurfing has developed many forms from big air to low freestyle technical tricks. From wakestyle to waves. And now there is a new kid on the block – Kite Racing. This may well be the style that becomes the biggest and most influential in terms of kite and board development (ExtremeElementsTV).
It’s been around for a while, but is now gaining rapidly in popularity. In 2005 a sailing club and a kite surfing organization got together and experimented with sending kite surfers around a course. The experiment was a great success and top riders around the world, in search of new direction from freestyle kitesurfing, started experimenting with course racing and discovered that Kite Racing is not dissimilar to yacht racing and greater speeds can be achieved in light and medium winds.
By 2007 the level of involvement and enthusiasm resulted in a national competition being organized in the USA.
By this time manufacturers were pricking up their ears. Equipment was just as important as technique and several factors had been noted such as boards with a hydrofoil underneath were very quick upwind, but proved slow in other directions. Directional board designs proved to be much more competitive than other types. Boards with too many fins were slower, etc.
The race was on… in more ways than one!
The interesting thing about Kite Racing is that equipment has to be designed to allow you to travel at speed in winds of 6 mph. 6 mph is not much of a breeze, but with the new equipment racers can speed around with ease.
The United States have taken to this sport like ducks to water. Every weekend there is a competition somewhere, everyone eager to challenge the other. IKA and ISAF are involved and it is suspected that this could shortly become the newest Olympic Sport.
Besides all this, kite racing makes for a spectacular spectator sport. Run close to shore and over relatively short courses the scene boggles the eye – the colourful kites jostling for position, the wake stream behind the boards as they slice through the water, the speed and dexterity that the riders use to manoeuvre around the buoys.
Is this the sport for you?
The advantage of kite racing, and this will be of particular importance to all avid kitesurfers, is that you are able to kitesurf in less than favourable winds. How many times have you raced off to the beach dreaming of a halcyon day slicing through the water only to find the wind is insufficient … well, with Kite Racing equipment, even the lightest breeze is enough.