Kitesurfing

Kitesurfers will tell you that theirs is the fastest growing water sport and it certainly does seem to be. In this hobby you surf on top of, or through, the water on a specially made kitesurfing board whilst being bridled in to your kite. As the kite catches the wind it propels you along. It is not an ordinary kite but has a spine down one side that you have to inflate each time. This gives you the extra lift to get you soaring through the water.

Kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, is fast with adrenalin and thrills. There are skills to develop that will keep you interested and learning. You?re outdoors and playing with elements and it keeps you very fit. It's the kind of sport that gets you hooked and you'll want to keep doing it. It's the ideal sport if you live by the coast.

Kitesurfing is not cheap to get started as the equipment can cost a bit, even second hand. You will need:

* Wetsuit if it is cold
* Good-fitting bridle. It is worth choosing a good one that does not dig into your ribs. Ask your shop or teacher for advice when you buy it.
* Kite-board. For a beginner a bigger board is good to give you more stability. When you?ve learnt more you can get a smaller one that is easier to manoeuvre and do tricks.
* Kite-surfing kite
* Air-pump for your kite if it isn't self-inflating.
* Bag or ruck-sack to put all this gear in comes in handy. Often your equipment will come with a specially made bag which makes it easier to get it all in. These bags often have an option for a quick get-away if it is raining or if you are cold and wet; so that you can quickly put your kite in lengthways without folding it all down. Then you can dry it out and pack it properly at home.
* Other items to consider are a safety helmet, and impact vest.

However, the most important thing is you need to have one or two or more lessons before attempting anything on your own - preferably training with a qualified, experienced instructor rather than a kitesurfing mate or boy or girlfriend. Don't think that just watching other kitesurfers and reading instructions is going to be enough. For a small extra fee many teachers have spare equipment that you can use so that you can see if you like this sport first before spending lots of money on buying your own gear. Proper training helps keep you, and others around you safe which is why you'll find that other kitesurfers on the beach will be happy (and more relaxed!) to know that you have trained. Training can also save you money so that you don't immediately damage your kite from inexperience and have to pay to get it repaired. It's a good idea to first practice what you've learnt with the bridle and kite on the beach before attempting to try it all together with the kiteboard in the water.

Keep safe and enjoy those big airs!

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