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Kitesurfing

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(Redirected from Kite surfing)
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Kiteboarders use inflatable kites tethered to harnesses to glide through water and air.

Kite surfing, also known as kitesurfing and kiteboarding, and sometimes as flysurfing in Europe, involves using a power kite to pull a small surfboard (on water), a wheeled board on land, or a snowboard over snow.

Generally, the first step of kite surfing is to fly one's power kite into neutral position, in which the kite is straight overhead, and therefore not pulling except against one's body weight.

One then lies down in the shallows, and straps one's board onto one's feet. Then, in a (hopefully) coordinated movement, the kite is flown toward the water, in the direction that the board points. If the board doesn't dig into the water or a wave, the kite pulls the surfer up into a powerful planing motion similar to water-skiing.

Kitesurfers should never venture onto the water in offshore winds, and the best direction is cross-shore. Gusty onshore winds are equally dangerous because one can be lifted and thrown into hard objects onshore. In a strong wind with flat water, it's possible to traverse at fifty km/h (30 mi/h) or more.

To get going and to be able to stay upwind you need about 8 - 10 Knots (approx. 3 Beaufort) on a big kite. (15 Square meters). In 8 - 10 knots you can have a lot of fun by doing low jumps and freestyle maneuvers. 12 - 13 knots on a 15 square meter kite will have you jumping high, while 17 - 20 knots will have you flying with the birds on a 12 square meter kite. [1] (http://forums.ikiteboarding.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1172)

A beginner can turn by going to the shallows or another stopping place, putting the kite up into neutral, and then turning the kite in the opposite direction. A quicker, more skillful turn moves the kite toward the wind, to swing the surfer's path in a half circle, centered on the kite. As the turn ends, the kite is flown over to be in front of the surfer again. Turns away from the wind steal lift.

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Kite surfing off in strong onshore winds off the north shore of O‘ahu in Hawai‘i. Note the wind-surfer catching the wave break.

An unskillful turn will fly the surfer, and is often followed by a tumble if the surfer can't put the board down at the right angle. It is important to use safety equipment where the kite lines can be detached from the surfer's harness as the kite can power up after tumbles and pull uncontrollably under water or against objects. After a tumble, untangling and reflying the kite can sometimes be difficult. Experienced kite surfers try to keep the kite in the air.

If the kite is only turned partially, or is not straightened at the right rate, a turning surfer can swing up and fly, then get hurt when he recontacts the surface. Even in water, flying a power kite can be a brutal contact sport. The kite is usually twenty meters (sixty feet) in the air, and a careless turn in high winds can easily swing one five meters (two stories) into the air and down to an uncontrolled contact.

Controlled flying is possible and one of the biggest attractions of the sport, but more difficult and potentially dangerous. Flying occurs when the momentum of the surfer pulls the kite. Before jumping, the surfer builds up as much tension as possible by accelerating and strongly edging the board. Then in controlled, straight flight, the kite is flown quickly (snapped) to an overhead position, usually just as the surfer goes over a wave. The kite must then be quickly turned to glide in the direction of motion, usually into the wind. A large variety of maneuvers can be performed while jumping such as rotations, taking the board off one's feet etc. They can also fly into a nearby building, highway, or powerlines. At least 17 people have been killed in kiteboarding-related accidents since 2000, according to a safety adviser for one of the sport's governing bodies.

Some kite flyers claim to be able to catch a "rotor," a horizontally cyclonic ridge updraft, when flying above large waves or ridges in high wind. This extremely difficult and not recommended technique occurs only in dangerous surf and wind conditions, or above land.

To fly the maximum distance, a flyer should reduce aerodynamic drag. Some people recommend laying flat in the air as long as one can't reach the surface. Others claim that attempting this maneuver adds more danger to the already dangerous maneuver of flying.

Powerkites can be dangerous. Lightweight people can easily be carried off, and dashed against water, buildings, terrain and power lines. Another, more subtle hazard is that at fifty km/h (a typical speed for a skillful kite surfer), one can easily get tired, and then get farther from shore than an easy swim. Fatalities can result from equipment failures or tangles.

External links

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Examples of kite surfing kites: leading edge inflatables (LEIs) and foil kites.

de:Kite-Surfen es:Kitesurf fr:Kitesurf it:Kitesurfing nl:Kitesurfen pt:Kitesurf tr:Uçurtma kayağı

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