Windsurfing versus Kitesurfing
It's freezing cold out here, it's snowing and I'm bored because I can't windsurf.
Let's bring up another subject.
I'm sure that many of you must have thought already about trying kitesurf. Probably many of you have already done it or are still doing it.
Some people consider kitesurfing to be the largest rival of windsurfing, especially the youth.
Me personally, I've tried it several years ago when the sport just took off.
I didn't like it too much already from the start.
For me, it was like the kite always wanted to pull me up and I lost all feeling and contact with the water surface & waves.
It's when I witnessed with my own eyes a terrible accident on the beach that I realized how dangereous and lethal it can get. I immediately stopped with it.
What are your ideas about it ?
All comments Pro or Contra are welcome.
I don’t kite but will one day. :)
I feel it is a great sport to combine with windsurfing especially in lighter winds 10 to 16 knots. The move towards wave riding with kites also interests me.
My best mate kites and I can see from him that kiting safety has improved significantly from the early days.
The ideal kit I am working to is
One kite board and kite
One Freestyle board and one freestyle sail
One wave board (single fin) and three wave sails.
That will cover me from 10 knots to 40 knots.
When it's too cold to windsurf on liquid water, and not cold enough to windsurf on snow or ice, then I windsurf in a parking lot on a landsailor (if it is not too windy for the landsailor).
Seems like lot of people that start Kitesurfing has left the sport. Seems like as it is a easy to learn sport it also is easy to left....
WS is more than a hobby or sport is more like a fight against yourself, learning is not so easy, but it also make you “live the sport”.
I´ve been windsurfing for 12 years and sailing my whole life. I never tried kiting, but I´m curious. Especially because it doesn´t need so much room to keep the equipment (I can store it in my boat).
A few things stop me though: I windsurf alone more than 50% of the time. Kiting seems too unsafe for solo sailing, especially in winter.
I really like windsurfing, and I´m not at all bored with it. I´ve taken up longboarding, and railing a 372 board with a 10 metre sail in 5-10 knots seems a lot more fun than struggling with a kite.
Anyway I will try it soon, and maybe be convinced ;-)
While I have a lot of time to hit the water, cooperating winds do limit how often I can sail. I simply don't want to split my water time between two activities.
Also, I have watched kiting quite a bit, from beginners to experts. There is a lot of time spent working upwind, just for the opportunity to get some air for a few seconds. While big air and tricks look cool and exciting, it's only a very small percentage of the time on the water.
I have also watched kites course race, and they are amazingly efficient with their specialized boards and a few can keep pace with formula boards. Beating upwind is fine, but the downwind isn't nearly as exciting or radical as formula in 25 knot winds. The kites can easily de-power their rigs downwind where the formula sailors just have to hang on. That may or may not be a good thing.
The danger/risk factor is another issue, plus having a partner to get you launched or back on shore seems to be a negative factor as well. I am sure you can do this by yourself, but the risks probably go up.
I don't see light wind being an argument for kiting. Formula is just as if not more efficient in winds under 10 knots. Neither are particularly exciting in light winds.
Kiters definitely like what they do, but it isn't for everyone. Kiting has more spectator and visual appeal and that is probably one reason that many are drawn to the sport.
Maybe I am lucky that I have talked with and watched top class kiters, one of them an ex world champion.
They obviously make it look easy and while I would never come close to their standard I believe I could still have more fun on a kite in 10 to 16 knot winds than a windsurfer.
It’s the fact that kiters can get away with very small maneuverable boards in light winds that attract me.:)
I hear a lot of things that I personally can agree upon.
If I summarize.
- not much equipment to carry, compact
- higher "show" aspect for spectators, propably because of the high air jumps
- they seem to be faster, holding the higher speed records
- Better/easier Upwind capabilities, or am I mistaking here ?
- Safer, drop the sail and all immediate danger has disappeared (drop a kite and the danger only starts, especially on a beach with a lot of obstacles)
- No need for a partner to help you with landing the kite in high winds and keep it on the ground, at least that's what my friend tells me and he is kiting for more than 7 years.
- More contact & feeling with the water surface (this could be something personal)
- Formula & Long boards plane easier in lower winds between 6 - 11 knots
I can agree with Hot Ice, kiting seems to move more and more towards wave riding. That's also what my friend tells me. He's not interested anymore (or shall I say bored) in flat water and high jumps. Wave riding is all he wants.
Again something personal, when I see a windsurfer ride a wave or attempting a high speed record on flat water, it seems so much more natural to me. I can't explain it. It's probably my love for windsurfing.
Regarding kiting safety: danger is not a reason not to pick up a sport (ask mountain climbers), but maybe a combination of industry advertisement and a learning curve that is relatively quick results in a lot of "fools" out there: many kiters seem to have no idea about the risks they put themselves and other people in.
Personal experience? One not particularly dramatic: end of the season, Crissy Field, I am in the water to my thighs, with the wind dying, considering what to do next. I decide to stop for a while, prepare to flip the sail to get off the water, and I hear a wooooosh, I stop the sail, have not even time to look around and this woman on a kite sails by between me and the beach: in at most a yard of space. I don't even swear, but I think what kind of lesson would have been learned if I had flipped the sail and got this woman square, bringing her down with kite, my sail, board attached maybe a piece of myself ... some of it dragged for a few hundred yards on the beach after a 15 miles/hour impact!
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