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The History of Kitesurfing
by: Ispas Marin

Although kitesurfing seems like a recent craze in extreme sports, it actually dates back to the 13th century, with the earliest record being made in the 12th century. It was used as a simple mode of transportation and it was called kitesailing. The idea was to use a kite to enchance speed and gravity.

The Beginning of Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing has it's root in the early 1980's, when kite skiing and flysurfing first appeared. The first Kiteski system was developed using a rigid framed kite with a reel-bar and water skis by Cory Roseler from Oregon. He was launching the kite from hand and to begin riding he lets out line from the reel. If the kite crashed, the lines would need to be reeled in by the pilot to re launch. Approximately at the same time, inflatable kites where researched in France by the Legaignoux brothers. They were tested on water skis and other watercrafts. They called the sport Flysurfing. The inflatable kites of the Legaignoux brothers has been the basis for the first Wipika kitesurfing system.

The Beginning of Kitesurfing Equipment

The two original marine traction systems were the Wipika and Kitesky systems. The first commercial available product was, around 1986, the Kitesky system and was awarded patents for the unique design. It took around 15 years of development to the Legaignoux inflatable kite before commercial availability as the Wipika kite, the release took place around 1997. Wipika kites became the most popular systems and where an instant success. Wipika kites came with fixed length lines but sometimes reel-bar systems were used. The Legaignoux brothers received patents for the spherical kite and now the majority of kite are produced under license, deriving from the original Legaignoux concept.

In early years, kitesurfing popularity has exploded and the equipment is more sophisticated then ever. Kitesurfing equipment is also widely available now. There are now organized events like the kitesurfing World titles and the World Cup of Kitesurfing. There are also instructors available that will teach you how to kitesurf. You can find a lot of magazines about kitesurfing and many instructional videos are available.


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