Ever stop and ask yourself where it all began? Well, I’m here to tell you a quick story about a sport which we now call kite surfing…
Kite Surfing dates back to as early as the 1800’s wherein George Pocock used large kites to propel carts on land and ships on water which they used as an alternative to horsepower and mainly because they wanted to avoid horse tax. And from then on it was mainly used to move items from one place to another with improvements here and there. Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise from Netherlands was the first one to receive the first kite surfing patent in Oct. 1977 which covers a water sport using a floating board of a surf board type where a pilot standing up on it is pulled by a wind catching device of a parachute type tied to his harness on a trapeze type belt. Even though it did not result in any commercial interest, he could be considered as the founding father of kitesurfing. After that, there were occasionally successful attempts to basically combine kites with other sports. Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux came up with an inflatable kite design in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s. In the USA, Bill Roeseler and his son Cory Roeseler patented the “KiteSki” system which consists of water skis powered by a two line delta style kite controlled via a bar mounted combined winch/brake. The Roeseler’s design was commercially available in 1994. And in the late 1990’s, Cory’s design evolved into a single board similar to a skate board.
“We knew it was gonna be something amazing but we didn’t know when or how” -Flash Austin
Kite Surfing has definitely come a long way and it’s all because of the people who have contributed their time, effort and passion to the sport. When you think about it, back then they didn’t have any material to teach them how to do it, they didn’t have videos that they could watch so that they could try to do it, kite school’s didn’t exist back then and the only way they were able to learn was thru the old fashion way -trial and error. Lou Wainman was said to have invented a lot of the tricks that are the standards now.
“To me Lou (Wainman) is like one of the early most progressive pioneers of this sport and he actually did start the whole wake boarding craze” -Mike Waltze
The first kite competition in which they dubbed the ‘Kite Surfing World Championship’ as a joke because the year before that there were only about 6 people who were in it. But now there are hundreds if not thousands of competitors who join each year and the market is now worth over $250 million dollars.
“Once word went out and the sport started to blow, that’s when Red Bull approached us with doing an event, that’s where we came up with the name ‘King of the Air’ and it stuck because at that time it was all about getting big air and the wow factor” -Joe Keuhi
Because of its exponential growth, kids as young as 13yrs old are now competing in championships, something they have envisioned and wanted to happen in the beginning. It’s not all about competition though, when you meet people who have the same passion as you, it’s when you make a connection and you build friendships, and it won’t even matter if you’re continents apart. And mainly that’s what they’re trying to build and want to achieve -and they have, but it isn’t over yet! The fun’s just getting started.
It’s always good to take a step back and remember where it all began or take a minute to learn how your new favourite sport came to be just to get in it deeper and also find a community where you can share your passion for kite surfing.
Watch the video and get a chance to know who we consider the forefathers or kiting, see amazing tricks on water and know how it all started: the trials they faced, how the sport developed, find out what their kitemares are and see awesomeness in action!