What do you call the sport of boarding the water while being pulled by a kite? Are you a kiteboarder or kitesurfer? What is the official name of action sport?
It is one of the youngest board sports in the world, and it was born in the early 1980s in France and Hawaii.
Generally speaking, kitesurfing and kitesurfing are different names for the same water sport.
The majority of people use them interchangeably in conversations, although purists say they don’t represent the same thing.
So why do we have two titles for one outdoor activity?
One of the reasons kite enthusiasts use two terms for the same sport is that there has always been a dispute as to whether it should be considered a sailing or surfing hobby.
Some claim that a kite is a sail, or wing, that uses the power of the wind to propel the participant across the water.
For them, kitesurfing is a sport of sailing or wind, similar to windsurfing.
If we look at the technical aspects of kite riding, we find several characteristics specific to sailing: in the wind and downwind navigation, tack and jibe, port and starboard, gait, and wind window.
Others will point out that the main engine is the board and that surfers use directional surfboards (as opposed to double-tipped boards) which can be used in surfing; thus, it should be named kitesurfing.
Historically speaking, the sport began with its inspiration from sailboats and only hit the waves later, in the early 1990s.
Sailing or Surfing?
This subtle semantic divergence has had several implications for the bureaucratic categorization of sport.
Should kitesurfing be governed by World Sailing (WS) or should kitesurfing be under the umbrella of the International Surfing Association (ISA)?
The truth is that kitesurfing / kitesurfing ended up falling under the governance of World Sailing.
But there are more and more disgruntled voices suggesting a third way – to create a globally recognized kite sports association, which could meet the specific needs of all aquatic and land disciplines.
In fact, the sport of kite flying involves many diverse disciplines, and it does not help the cause to come up with an official name for the hobby.
While the disciplines of racing, slalom and speed support the foundation of kitesurfing, waves, big air and freestyle are closer to kitesurfing enthusiasts.
From a purely statistical point of view, the term kitesurfing is more popular in the United States, Canada, Argentina, France and the Czech Republic, while kitesurfing remains the preferred designation in Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, India and Oceania. .
One thing is for sure: the sport itself combines elements of sailing, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and even paragliding, so there shouldn’t be just one name.
Whether you call it kitesurfing or kitesurfing, it will always be a colorful, exhilarating, highly versatile and challenging sport that will appeal to wave surfing and wind speed fanatics.
Learn more about the sport of kitesurfing / kitesurfing.