I would’ve liked to be around the campfire when the idea of kite surfing was born (also known as kite boarding). Was it a bit of light hearted banter between two adrenalin junkies about combining a bizarre mix of extreme sports that ended with someone adding in gymnastics just for fun?
Regardless of how that conversation went down, the result is a combination of water-sports – from wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport that is now worth billions worldwide.
Not surprisingly, after the sport was brought to South African and in particular Cape Town, its popularity has soared to levels few could’ve guessed at. It combined our love of the outdoors and the feeling of being an extension of the land, sea and sky. Each year beaches in each corner of our coastline hosts kite-surfing lessons to increasing numbers of locals and tourists keen for the thrill of lifting off the waves at high speeds.
The great thing about it is that it’s not an exclusive sport, there is no age limit, and although you need to be steady on your feet, you don’t need exceptional athletic ability or strength. The equipment does it all for you, you just need to know what to do when it’s got you in its grip.
This is quite a pricey sport, the cost of the gear is around R20 000 or so, depending on the brand and quality you’re after. For most people its highly recommended that you do more than a few lessons to see if its worth the expense to buy the equipment, however you can pick up some really good second-hand rigs from various kiteboarding stores and online – and of course you can also just hire all the gear you need.
So if you think you would like to try your hand at some water surface aerobatics with a kite, then here’s where you can learn: