6 Best Power Kites | March 2017
- suitable for people aged 12 and up
- responsive even in light wind
- durable, stretch-resistant materials
- made with polyester materials
- 4.5 foot wingspan
- high visibility coloration
- packs down into small pouch
- shaped inlets prevent collapse
- pre-attached lines and tail
History Of Kitesurfing
While the modern form of kitesurfing sprouted in 1995, it wouldn't have been possible without a few notable inventions from history. In the early 1800s, George Pocock demonstrated how kites could be used to propel water going ships and land-based carts. His goal wasn't to establish a new sport, but rather to find a method of transportation capable of traveling both up and downwind, which didn't rely on horses, allowing one to avoid the much despised horse tax.
Samuel Cody developed a man-lifting kite in 1903, which he then used to power a collapsible canvas boat and cross the English Channel in 1903. Then, in the late 70s, Kevlar flying lines were created along with more controllable kites, making them efficient enough that Ian Day was able to propel a kite-powered Tornado catamaran at over 40 km/h.
The first patent for kitesurfing was issued to Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise in 1977. In his patent application he described "a water sport using a floating board of a surf board type where a pilot standing up on it is pulled by a wind catching device of a parachute type tied to his harness on a trapeze type belt." Unfortunately for him, his patent didn't generate any commercial interest at the time.
Also in the late 70s, the Legaignoux brothers developed kites designed specifically for kitesurfing and patented an inflatable kite in 1984. Around the same time, Bill and Cory Roeseler, a father and son team, were developing the KiteSki system, which they patented in 1994. It was powered by a two-line delta style kite giving it basic water launching capabilities. In the late 90s, Cory evolved the SkiKite into a single board system and he is considered the founder of modern day kitesurfing.
What To Consider When Buying A Power Kite
The most important factors that go into picking a the right power kite are wind condition, your skill level, your physical size, and what you hope to accomplish with your kite. It may sound strange to factor wind condition into your decision making process as it changes on a daily basis, but with the exception of the odd day here and there, particular regions are known for consistently having either strong or light winds. If you live in one of the best kite surfing locations with consistently heavy winds, you would be better off purchasing a smaller kite. If you live in an area with low winds a larger kite will be needed.
Your personal fitness level comes into play as well. A larger kite will take more upper body strength to control. For those with less upper body strength or stamina, a smaller kite will be easier to control. Along with your current fitness level, your size makes a difference as well. If you are large, say over 200lbs, a small kite will have difficulty pulling you, making it difficult to get up to a nice planing speed. It will also be nearly impossible to launch yourself out of the water. A kite that is too small won't be challenging enough. On the flip side, a kite that is to big might be impossible for you to control becoming a danger to yourself and others.
Those that are looking to perform aerial stunts will need a bigger and more powerful kite than a beginner who just wants to get comfortable cruising along the waves. There is no kite that will be perfect for every need. One that can launch you ten feet into the air, will be too difficult for a beginner to control. Instead of trying to get a multi-purpose kite that is a jack of all trades, but a master of none, consider buying two kites. This way you'll have a larger one that you can use on low wind days, and for aerial stunts, and a small one suitable for heavy wind days, improving your technical skills, and loaning to friends are just trying out the sport.
Getting Started Kiteboarding
The first step in kiteboarding is learning how to fly a kite. No matter how good your board skills are, if you can't fly a kite properly kitesurfing is not going to go well. The best way to do this is to rent a training kite and practice flying it for 5 to 10 hours. Once you are comfortable flying a kite, it is time to take a lesson or two from a reputable kite surfing company in your area. Just like scuba diving, kiteboarding isn't something you should jump right into with no training.
Reputable companies will teach you how to launch your kite and land it safely. They will also teach you how to relaunch your kite if it is downed in the water, self rescue, and perform a body drag. These techniques are vital if you find yourself in situation where flying your kite becomes too dangerous or it is downed in the water far from shore.
Next you will need to learn to water start, transition, and ride a board. After that it is just practice, practice, practice.