If you happen to see a mysterious flying object over the sea, don’t be alarmed.
It isn’t a bird, a plane – and it’s not Superman. Chances are that figure you see bopping up and down is an avid kite surfer, chasing the waves and soaring as high as his kite will carry him.
What is kite surfing?
Kite surfing or kiteboarding began in the early 1990s, and is a unique water sport that combines elements of wakeboarding and paragliding. Controlling a large kite, a kite surfer makes use of the wind’s power to pull him through the water on a small surfboard or kiteboard, similar to that of a wakeboard.
Origins of kite surfing
Kite surfing is still a relatively new sport and credits French brothers Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux as its modern founding fathers. Avid sailors, the Legaignoux brothers’ interest in kites was first piqued in 1984, upon seeing a catamaran sailing at full speed, pulled along by a large flexifoil kite.
When further research showed that no water relaunchable kite existed, the brothers took it upon themselves to build one, creating history in the process. After 10 years of hard work, the Legaignoux brothers finally launched their inflatable kite, making kiteboarding accessible to the public.
I want to be a kite surfer
While kite surfing is still a new sport in Singapore, there are schools that offer lessons for enthusiasts or those keen on a good challenge. Remember though, to take proper lessons from a qualified kite school or instructor as kiteboarding can be a dangerous sport and you need to get the basics right in order to kite surf safely.
“The number one golden rule I have is safety,” said Nazir Alsagoff of Xtreme Board Sports, a local kite surfing school that offers lessons. “Students are taught the safety aspect of kiteboarding and I make them practice as many safety measures as possible.”
Mastering the basics takes a good six to eight hours and this involves flying the kite and getting on the board and moving forward. “During this time, the instructor should take you through all the safety aspects of kiteboard, the equipment and the surroundings, including the weather,” stressed Nazir.
What skills do I need?
As kite surfing features elements similar to wakeboarding, prior knowledge of the sport does help one get started. Complete beginners have nothing to fear though, assured Nazir, as kite surfing is an easy sport to learn if given the proper instructions and equipment.
A good kite school or instructor will also provide you with the proper equipment needed for kite surfing, so you can try the sport out without worrying about investing in any costly equipment. Once you have completed the course and are sure about continuing the sport, you may wish to look out for second-hand equipment available at local stores in Singapore.
Where do I sign up?
If you think kite surfing is up your alley, then check out the classes offered by Xtreme Board Sports. For more information, email Nazir Alsagoff at [email protected]