Discover kitesurf (or kiteboarding)The first thing that should be commented on in this post is that the name of kitesurf is the spanishized term of the original kiteboarding. That is to say, the authentic name of the sport, linguistically speaking, is kiteboarding - kite and board in action - although in Spain, other areas of southern Europe and Brazil, we popularly know this sport as kitesurfing, since for the general public it consists of sliding On a surfboard with a kite. But kiteboarding or kitesurfing, as you prefer, is much more than that.
If you are an experienced person in this sport, perhaps this post will fall short, since in it we will discuss the origin of this modality, its basic notions, its variants, its current situation in our country and some other aspect. Perhaps, if you are an experienced kiter you find this publication somewhat basic, although you can always read us and some of the contents may surprise you.
The origin of the kitAlthough the sport of kitesurfing is very recent, the idea of using kites as a means of propulsion is not new. During the XII, XIII y XIV centuries, several communities of fishermen and sailors from Indonesia, Polynesia and China used the kites to drag their boats, we could consider it the primitive kite, but the version we know has its origins in the 90s of the last century. Although the first patent of a team similar to those used today in our sport dates from 1977 by Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise, who designed a system to navigate with a kind of parachute on a surfboard, using the force of the wind.
But the kitesurf boom came in the 90s. In the early years there were still many windsurf boards in the water, in the middle of the decade, in Tarifa for example, some kite began to be seen in isolation, and it was in the last part of this period when suddenly the wind sails were changed by kites, and the landscape changed completely. From that moment on, kitesurfing has evolved and developed in different modalities, incorporating technological advances in the manufacture of the material for more efficient and safe practice.
In kitesurfing there are four essential elements, even five we could say. The kite and the board are the most striking and to which the origin of the name our sport owes, but no less important are the bar to drive the kite, and the harness to distribute the effort, in addition to the fifth element, which would be the fixings, that although the trend of the strapless (navigate without fixings) is on the rise, they are essential for everyone who starts in the kite sport. In this post, we will see in a very superficial way the kite and the board, and later we will analyze these and other elements in depth.
The kiteThere are different types of kites depending on the mode of navigation that is performed. With any kite you can be pushed by the wind, but depending on the level, the wind and the type of navigation you do, there is a specific design appropriate to each circumstance. The kites can be more open or more closed, that is to say, flatter and with greater opening angle, or type C with its closest ends. In general, we can say that the shorter distance between the ends of the kite will make it more powerful because it is more closed, and will allow more radical movements, which is why it is recommended for experienced users who want to move forward in freestyle. The more open kites are more "friendly" when it comes to managing the power so they are ideal for those who start kite or people who enjoy the freeride, since the greater opening of its terminations makes the wind boost don't be so radical.
At this point let´s remember that when we refer to freestyle in kite, it is about making jumps and maneuvers that need more radical rhythm and position changes, while freeride refers to navigation with the board and the kite, sliding from one point to another and taking advantage of the waves to interact with him.
Within the kites, and beyond this broad classification that we have made, we find several specific characteristics that make a kite different from another such as the number of ribs, the greater or lesser inclination between the leading edge and the posterior, the number of lines and of course its design, having specific freestyle, freeride, hybrid or foil kites for example. In future publications we will detail each of these characteristics and their functions.
The board is undoubtedly the other highlight of our sport. The boards are easier to classify a priori, since we have two large groups, the twintip or the surfboards. The first are boards that do not have nose and tail, they are symmetrical boards that you can drive to one side or the other without changing the position of the feet, while surfboards (or directional) have the tail and nose are clearly defined, similar to a traditional surfboard, being designed to surf with the kite. The twintip is ideal in the case that you do differents maneuvering, since their shape and position of the feet are set to take off and land in the best possible way while comfortably. Of the surfboards we can add a little more unless they are designed to surf.
In both twintip and surfboards we find various constructions that will make the boards more or less heavy, as well as establish their stiffness range. For the manufacture of boards, different fibers, epoxy, wood and in the highest range, carbon fiber are used. In the twintip it is common to use straps or some type of fixation that ensures the position of the feet, and they bring fins at both ends of the board, on the contrary, the surfboards only bring fins in the tail area and the fixings are not essential.
- Bar: The bar is the element we use to drive the kite. There are bars for kites of four lines, five lines and some of four that become five by adding a kit. The bars allow easy maneuvering of the kite, prevent the lines from tangle each other and even make it possible to regulate the power of the kite, as is the case with the Click Bar of Duotone.
The Click Bar allows to increase and reduce the power in precise steps with a simple gesture. To increase the power of the kite, you only have to turn the rewind mechanism clockwise: with each half turn, the extension of the rear lines is reduced. To reduce the power, by simply pressing the button in the center of the rewind mechanism, the rear lines extend with each press and the power is lowered. Additionally, the bar's power indicator shows the power level at all times, it is also visible in the orange neon sign on the right float.
- Harness: The key point of harnesses is to offer rigidity in the center with flexible side sections, guaranteeing a perfect balance of the harness that translates into maximum comfort and versatility. It must also be a good quality product as it is one of the most punishing elements during the activity. The harnesses can be classified by the hardness range, as in the ION and Duotone range for example, and the way in which the loads are distributed thanks to the firmness of the pre-formed central section, while the flexible side sections allow move and turn freely, providing all possible comfort.
- Fixings: In fixings there are two options, the option of fixing by strap, which can be more or less wide, depending on the taste and sensation that the rider wants to have. In the Duotone range, for example, there are two strap fixings, also called bindings or straps. They are the Vario model and the Entity model. The first is a simple strap fixation with a fine padded base, and the second, the Entity, is a double strap fixation with the ergonomic pads thicker than the previous one for comfort. Each offers its advantages and disadvantages according to the type of user, so it is almost a matter of personal preference, although there are recommendations according to the use you are going to give them.
The other option in fixings is the boots type, inherited from the wake mode. This type of fixation is used when the rider wants the maximum grip, so that all the transfer of movements is immediately transferred to the board, and they are used especially for sessions where very radical movements are going to be made or directly in a wake park. Kite boots have improved greatly in recent years, and stand out for their comfort, flexibility and durability.
Kitesurf in SpainTo say kitesurf in Spain is to say Gisela Pulido. The catalan and tarifeña of adoption was like a bomb in the kitesurfing world championship when with only 10 years she won her first World Cup in 2004. With only 25 years, Gisela adds 10 world titles, the first five in a row, and has been and It is still a great reference for many kiters. Gisela is joined by many names of spanish kiters who have been or are on the top of the world scene like Abel Lago, Álex Pastor, Álvaro Onieva, Rita Arnaus, Claudia León, Gianni Aragno, Jan Marcos Riveras, Julia Castro or Noè Font to name a few, although there are many boys and girls who show that this kitesurfing or kiteboarding hits hard in our country.
Spain is one of the countries in the world with the greatest number of kilometers of coastline, a benevolent climate and areas that meet the ideal conditions to practice kite throughout the year and evolve and improve the technique. Tarifa and Fuerteventura are two of the most important spots in the practice of kite worldwide, to which the excellent conditions that we can find on the catalan coast, the east or the cantabrian coast are joined, so that the practice of kite does not It is no difficulty in most of the national territory, since we could add inland water areas. Therefore, if you have not tried the kite yet, do not think twice and go to a specialized center to receive the appropriate initial training. Soon you will be sailing the sea with your kite and your board and for sure will be DUOTONE!