WHEN KITESURFING BECOMES A LIFESTYLE
Some time ago I wrote an article about the origins of kitesurfing and 'it was a much discussed topic because of the variety of wrong information that runs in the web ,
I wanted to make a bit of clarity especially because during my time in Tenerife ,
I met Joseta Ximènez, the second woman to obtain a patent as a windsurfing instructor of the Canary Islands and the first in èl Mèdano , a commercial that has now become a world reference point for the practice of water sports.
Joseta tells herself by showing me a newspaper article that jealously keeps in her local craft shop, a newspaper article consumed by salt and with a black and white photo of her at the time of the course next to some windsurfing boards.
In 1983 when she got her diploma as an instructor she had to pass several tests both theoretical and practical ,she was the only woman considered "weak sex" in a group of 10 men, says that the tests were very difficult and that among the participants only a few people among whom she managed to pass the selections.
She's very proud of its achievement and still remembers it as a step forward for the empowerment of women in water sports.
Joseta's story is not found on the web and reminds me why I also opened a community dedicated to women who practice kitesurfing , when I started in 2013 in Campania in Salerno we were very few women to practice this sport considered "extreme and only for men" and I wanted to meet other girls like me who practiced it and spread as much as possible my passion for kite in the world.
It was born "kitegirlsitalia" that after 10 years has become a community that has inspired many girls to start this sport and open other communities and now it has become so large and followed by many girls and boys who practice water sports that I felt obliged to change my name and turn it into "KITEGIRLS WORLD WIDE "- to give voice to all fans.
Sharing for me has always been a fundamental element of life and I am very happy to be able to connect many realities and create a "safe" space where everyone is free to express their creativity and to promote our lifestyle inextricably linked to the elements of nature.
But back to the origins of kitesurfing
I discovered that the origins of kitesurfing are very ancient and date back to 1200 in China, where kites were used to tow objects or people.
In the West, the first to experience the use of a kite to be towed was George Pocock, an English teacher who in 1820 was dragged by a carriage with a 4-wire kite.
INCREDIBLE ISN'T IT?
In 1901 Samuel Franklin Cowdery crossed the English Channel aboard an object halfway between a balloon and a kite.
From the beginning to today:
The first appearances of this sport date back to 1983 when, occasionally, in Australian waters, unknown individuals let themselves be towed by the wind using rudimentary kites and water skis on their feet.
Kitesurfing comes from the application of a revolutionary idea to a sport already practiced by millions of fans: windsurfing .
"Windsurfing was officially born in 1967 from an idea of a Californian aerospace engineer, James (Jim) R. Drake who, on the San Bernardino highway, near Los Angeles, thinking about a discussion he had previously had with his friend Hoyle Schweitzer, thought he could continue surfing even without the waves, using a sail connected to the board".
Around the end of the 80's the project of Bruno and Dominique Leigagnoux (those who gave the real impetus to the birth of this sport ) wanted to create inflatable kites, able to start from the water in any sea condition, easy to steer and able to create motive power to rescue the crews of the emergency lifeboats.
The two brothers were passionate about sailing (Optimist, Laser etc.) and won the French junior title in 1979.
Then they decided to sail only for passion and, in the Breton waters, they began to practice windsurfing.
Their great dream was to sail the seas of the world on a sailboat.
They did it in 1983 and during this trip the idea took more and more shape.
After hundreds of prototypes including boards and water skis of all kinds it is in the year 1989 that their wing reached efficiency requirements, stability and ability to relaunch such as to really constitute the product capable of making kiteboarding practicable by enthusiasts.
The definitive breakthrough that then brought the KITESURF to world prominence took place in 1998 when the biggest among the Windsurf Champions (Robby Naish), intrigued by some of the prototypes of Legaignoux, began to practice a completely new sport .
Everything takes shape and develops in Maui Hawaii where the pioneers of the sport begin to employ not only the first Wipika a bladders (patent Leigagnoux brothers..) but also wings with caissons not re-relaunchable such as the Flexifoil Blade.
The "kite crew" consists of windsurfers such as: Manu Bertin, Flash Austin, Eliot Leboe (former windsurfing tester of a well-known American magazine), Lou Wainman, Rush Rande, Robby Naish, Pete Cabrinha, Fadi Issa, Dylan Gramfyre, Francesco Moretti, Mauricio Abreau and many others.
From here a fast progression
In 1995 Jimmy Lewis, a famous Hawaiian shaper, began experimenting with the first two-way boards from Kitesurf, together with Lou Wainman, consecrating himself in 1999 as the first to develop in a concrete way the first two-way functional. Compared to windsurfing (technically more difficult and physically more demanding) the feature that has facilitated the expansion of kitesurfing in recent years in such a massive way is just the ease and speed with which you can learn to glide and later, to make jumps and air evolutions.
The very first kites used in kitesurfing had only two cables, no safety system and needed great strength (as well as skill) to be maneuvered.
The introduction of the first safety measures such as the addition of two lines, with the consequent modification of the shape of the sail was the first step forward , The next step was the introduction of the quick release of the wing in case of danger (before it was necessary to release manually and often proved to be an impossible action because the kite out of control exerted such traction that it was almost impossible to oppose it with the sole force of the arms).
In 2000, after serious accidents, the first kite (C-Kite) with four cables with safety systems quick release.
In 2003 a five-cable safety control system was patented, useful in order to make the kite safer, making it detachable with safety thanks to a system placed on the chicken loop that can completely cancel the power of the aquifer.
In 2004 were born the Bow Kite flat arc (Leading Edge Inflatable Kite) that had more power but also many problems than stability.
The decisive step was taken, in fact, in 2006 with the advent of the SLE Supporting Leading Edge, kites very similar to the Bow as a de-power system, but significantly easier to maneuver even in the revival from the water.
The development of kitesurfing has been rapid and constant in recent years, thanks to the spread of increasingly safe, performing and accessible equipment.
Kitesurfing can be practiced in different environments, such as the sea, lakes, rivers and lagoons, depending on wind and water conditions. Kitesurfing has also given rise to different disciplines and specialties, such as freestyle, freeride, wave, race, foil and snowkite.
Kitesurfing is a sport that requires a good physical and technical preparation, but also a knowledge of the rules of safety and coexistence in the water.
To learn how to kitesurf it is advisable to attend a course with a qualified instructor, who can teach the theoretical and practical basics, as well as provide the appropriate equipment.
Kitesurfing is a sport that offers great satisfaction and opportunities for personal growth, but also to discover wonderful places and share their experiences.
A great satisfaction for us fans is to know that the future is rosy for this increasingly growing sport and that kitesurfing will take part for the first time in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris 2024 .
Copy Writer : Floriana Rossi