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odd kilometres
physical endurance
adventure seekers
mobility scooter
global phenomenon
living the dream
feint
regattas
The Growth In Kiteboarding
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Wow, some people really are living the dream! Kiteboarding. A cross between surfing, parasailing and hanging on to the back of a bus while riding a bike. Even if you are just down at the local beach gliding out and back a few times (like hanging on to the back of your grandmothers mobility scooter), you’re in the elements, making a wake and doing stuff.

But kiteboarding is not just a few people down at the local beach, it’s a serious global phenomenon with an estimated 200,000+ followers that not only do it with a passion, but push the limits of physical endurance and adventure risk taking to achieve some remarkable feats.

Like the two friends who kiteboarded across Bass Strait in 2009. Bass Strait, where the most hardened seamen fear to tread if the weather is looking a bit touchy. 260 odd kilometres in 12 hours, standing the whole time, hanging onto the kite, steering and cajouling. Seriously big kites aswell. That’s pushing the boundaries. A friend kayaked across Bass Strait and assures me it’s not for the feint hearted. At least in a kayak you can rest a while if you need to and take provisions like… food and water!

Kiteboarders can reach speeds of 40 knots and achieve jumps of more than 45 feet into the air. Exciting, adrenalin pumping stuff. (The current speed record is 55.65 knots). Wear a helmet or make sure your life insurance is up to date.

Then there’s the commercial circuit – the kiteboarding World Cup (by invitation), kiteboarding regattas in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, a kiteboarding cruise through the warm waters around an isolated island in Fiji, things going on in Mauritius, the Bahamas, Spain, Mexico… There will only be a few people making a living out of the sport, but plenty just living the dream and having a great life doing it.

There are also the well-off adventure seekers who are happy to pay big bucks to be taken to exotic locations, use the latest and greatest gear, and learn how to fly across the waves. There are billionaires doing this stuff. Some describe kiteboarding as the new golf (although I struggle a bit to see the connection).

From just a trickle of fans a decade ago, kiteboarding tourism has grown to be a serious global industry that has spread to all corners of the earth in the last five years.

We have kayaks at the Olympics and I’m guessing we will probably see kiteboarding at the Olympics in the not too distant future. So watch out, this sport has definitely arrived.


Street Talk

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