Kiteboarding | Fly a Kite ...And Ride the Waves!

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Kiteboarding is a fast growing and exciting sport that everyone can enjoy.

Everyone can enjoy

Kiteboarding is a fast growing and exciting sport that everyone can enjoy. With a wide variety of riding styles and available locations, this really is a sport for everyone! 

What is kiteboarding?

Kiteboarding is a wind-powered sport where participants use large kites to pull themselves across the water. Participants are called “riders” or “kiters” and the sport is often referred to as “kiting”. 

Who can go kiteboarding?

Everyone! Kiteboarding is such an accessible sport. You don’t need to be especially fit or young – it really is a sport for everyone. 

What gear is involved in the sport?

Kiteboarding equipment involves a kite, board, control bar & lines and a harness. 

Different varieties of the sport

The variety of riding styles is part of what makes kiteboarding great. For each variation riders use the same kite but a different board that is designed specifically for the conditions. 

Freeride - Board used: “Twintip” - similar to a wakeboard but with pads and straps instead of boots. The most common form of kiteboarding involves riding back and forth while trying to jump as high as possible. The skills required to learn to do this are surprisingly minimal which is why freeride is so popular. The average kiteboarder in the USA rides about 8 days / year. (See image above)

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Kitesurfing / Riding in the waves - Board used: Surfboard – with or without footstraps. This is a really fast growing area of the sport for the same reasons that surfing is so popular.

Freestyle - Board used: “twintip”: Freestyle kiteboarding involves riders spinning and rotating while in the air. This area of the sport appeals in particular to younger riders and many tricks are similar to wakeboarding tricks. 

Race - Board used: Race board: This is an area of the sport that has developed in the last couple of years and has seen a lot of growth – particularly on the competitive circuits. Race gear is very specialized allowing riders to compete in as little as 10mph of wind. 

Snow - Board used: Regular snowboard or skis: A real growth area of the sport – especially in the USA where a lot of the country is covered in snow all winter. 

What conditions are usually required for kiteboarding?

Usually kiteboarding requires a minimum of around 10 – 15mph wind and a wide-open area. Kiteboarding is a wind-powered sport so a huge open area with little obstructions makes the wind smoother. If you try to kiteboard on a small lake:  houses, trees, mountains and more will negatively affect the steadiness of the wind.

In what geographic areas is kiteboarding available?

The most popular areas for kiteboarding in the USA are: 

  • West Coast: San Francisco Bay area is a hotspot - plenty of wind and a good variety of riding spots.
  • Hood River, OR: Great spot to ride in the summer – known for strong winds and beautiful scenery.
  • Great Lakes: Large kiteboarding scene spread out over both the USA and CA - plenty of wind in spring and fall. 
  • North East: Good variety of locations to ride – not as consistently windy as other spots.
  • Cape Hatteras, NC: The #1 spot in the country for consistent steady winds, variety of riding spots and warm water – often classed as the best spot in the world for beginners to learn. 
  • SC to Florida: Good variety of riding spots and warm water but the wind can be inconsistent – best in fall and winter. 
  • Texas: Warm water and consistent winds except during summer. Popular scene on South Padre Island.  
Pete Hardie

Pete Hardie has been kiteboarding for over 6 years and surfing his whole life. He is the Head of Digital Marketing at REAL Watersports based in Cape Hatteras, NC. Working at REAL and living in Cape Hatteras allows him to take sessions every day of the year. You can follow Pete on Twitter @pjhardie