Have you ever tried the extreme water sport of kitesurfing? Kitesurfing has been growing rapidly in the UK since starting in the late 1990s and now has many thousands of participants, worldwide. It’s a great recreational, outdoor pursuit that really gives you a rush and keeps you fit. Kitesurfing is a fusion of many different sports such as windsurfing, surfing and skateboarding. The equipment is essentially a customised kite, board, harness, bindings, bar and lines, which are combined to catch the wind to propel you across the water.
A kitesurfer uses a kite which normally ranges from 6m squared to 18m squared for those light wind summer days. They will also need a good 5/3mm wetsuit to insulate them from the cold sea.
Kitesurfers normally start with just one kite but as they progress, they often build up their quiver to handle an extensive range of wind conditions. Kitesurfers typically reach speeds of between 15-25mph. If conditions are favourable and with the right equipment, 40mph is achievable. Professional racers commonly attain speeds of 50mph and up to 60mph.
You can surf the waves or attempt huge jumps in flat water. Alternatively, you may prefer to just cruise around or practise the latest freestyle tricks. There are many disciplines you can take on in kitesurfing.
One operator, NEKitesurfing teaches this amazing sport in Northumberland, in the North East of England. It’s a great place for kitesurfing with regular strong winds blowing off the North Sea and stunning, sandy beaches with few people on them. Favourite spots include Beadnell Bay, Budle Bay, Druridge Bay and the stunning Bamburgh beach with Bamburgh Castle in the background.
Another option, if you prefer something a little drier is kite landboarding. The principle is the same as kitesurfing except you travel on land. A long, quiet, sandy beach makes an ideal location. Kite landboarding involves the use of a mountain board, which is like an oversized skateboard with large pneumatic wheels and foot straps. Depending on the rider’s skill level and the quality of their board, achieving speeds of over 50mph is possible, as well as tricking and manoeuvring. Although, not yet as popular as kitesurfing, it’s fast developing its appeal.