Did you know that kite surfing is a Dutch invention? Read on this blog how kite surfing started.
In the beginning, there was a kite
Kitesurfing is a sport that uses a kite and a board. Well considered, it is 2 disciplines in 1. Kiting and boarding combined on the water we call kite surfing.
The first kites come from China. The first kite was spotted around 400 BC, but there are sources that say the kite was invented even earlier. We will leave the truth in the middle 😉 The fact that the first kites come from China has to do with the fact that they had silk and bamboo there, the basic components of a kite. Kites were used to measure distance to determine the distance to the army of the enemy
The kite came to Europe around the Middle Ages, Marco Polo was responsible for the introduction of the kite in the west. The kite was mainly seen as a toy, but later it was also used for meteorological observations. Around 1900 it was discovered (it took a while) that a kite is powerful enough to lift people.
The so-called “man-lifting” is used worldwide for military purposes, but this also allows recreational flying to be discovered. People simply enjoy floating through the air and a kite can take care of this. Soon the plane was invented by the Wright Brothers (1903).
Wave surfing originated in Polynesia thousands of years ago. And is probably the origin of all board sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, but also snowboarding and skateboarding find their origin here. In Polynesia, surfing was practiced as a sport, but also for religious purposes. You had shelves of 5 meters that could only be used by the chiefs. The Polynesians brought the surfboard to Hawaii. In California it was Hawaiian princes who decided to go surfing during their studies and that is how the western world came into contact with wave surfing and eventually the sport also ended up in Europe. The sport has changed a lot over the years. From solid wood planks to hollow planks to the polystyrene foam with a layer of epoxy or polyester that the boards consist of today. The size of the boards has also been greatly adjusted. There are now large boards, also called longboards, and small boards on the market that make it easier to turn and do tricks.
Kite + board = kite surfing
In 1977 the Dutchman Gijsbert Adrianus Panhuise came up with the idea to tie a parachute, which he had received, with lines to a kind of harness and then stand on his surfboard and let himself be pulled by the wind. He called this “Parasurfing“. Later, the French Legaognoux brothers came up with the idea of making an inflatable kite. This is already much more like the kites that we currently kite surf with. Cory Roeseler (Hawaii) was the first kite surfer.
With a ski and a hang glider he was able to keep up. Only the sport was not yet popular with the general public. The kite sport only developed in 1996 when the Wipika kite was designed, a kite with inflatable parts and a bridles system so that you can also restart in the water. Later the French brothers design a kind of bowkite and the first kitesurf boards are also put on the market. Kitesurfing really broke through in 1998 and competitions were organized for the first time.
The start of Kitesurfing in the Netherlands
Kitesurfing in the Netherlands developed at the turn of the century. On the Dutch coast with a south-west wind it is a perfect environment to practice the sport. At the beginning of the sport you regularly read about serious accidents of kite surfers who end up on the beach or in the dunes. The C-kite and lack of good depower systems are the main causes of this. In the course of this century, the sport is further developed and other forms of kites such as deltashape and bow kites come on the market. This in combination with well-functioning depowers ensure that sport is becoming increasingly safer.
In 2020, Kitesurfing in the Netherlands is a popular and growing extreme water sport with around 20,000 regular practitioners.
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