What is Kitesurfing and How Does Kitesurfing Work

What is Kitesurfing and How Does Kitesurfing Work?

Kitesurfing is the dynamic water sport that seamlessly merges different types of sports like surfing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing. It is not just a sport, but an immersive experience that requires you to unfold your skills, balance, and a profound connection with all the techniques that you use. Kitesurfing is a journey and we will help you delve into the sport by covering what is kitesurfing, its terminologies, equipment used and joy of the sport in harnessing the wind to soar across the water with this article.

What is Kitesurfing?

Kitesurfing in general terms is a sport where the kite is tied to the harness that allows you to move as per the direction of the wind. It starts with riding a board that you put under your feet and slide on the water. So here, two elements are used; water and wind to unite and give you the push to kitesurf.

Generally, experienced riders use a large controllable kite to propel themselves across the water while creating a harmonious blend of power and control in the wind and water. You can picture yourself with a kite, a board, and the vast canvas of the sea! It is not only adventurous, but also is a balance and deep understanding of the wind and waves.

Wind Terms for Kitesurfing

Understanding the dynamics of the wind is the key element while you learn kitesurfing as a beginner. Experienced riders communicate with their kites with the terms like wind window, apparent wind, and true wind.

The term wind window means a three-dimensional space downwind of the kitesurfer that acts as the stage for the intricate maneuvers of the kite. The apparent wind is the wind experienced by the kitesurfer while the true wind is the actual direction of the wind. These three terms are the basics of kite boarding instructions for the beginners.

Basic Kitesurfing Terms

To clearly communicate with the fellow kitesurfers and effectively kitesurf, familiarizing yourself with the most used terms of kitesurfing, is an essential element of learning the scope.

1. Knot

As per the kiteboarding instructions, the term knot is used to measure the speed of wind. A knot is simply a nautical per hour where one knot equals 1.15 miles / 1.85 miles kilometers.

2. Offshore Wind

Offshore wind means the wind is blowing in the direction of water away from the shore. Professional kitesurfing trainers suggest not to ride the kite during the offshore wind as you may end up somewhere too distant from the land.

3. Onshore Wind

Onshore wind means the wind blows in the direction of the shore.

4. Upwind / Downwind

The upwind is riding against the direction of the wind while downwind riding is riding towards the direction where the wind is blowing.

5. Side shore

When the wind blows parallel to the shore, it is called side shore. When the wind blows parallel to the shore but more in the direction towards the shore, it is called side onshore. And when the wind blows parallel to the shore but more in the direction towards the water, it is called side offshore.

6. Chicken Loop

A loop that connects the kite rider to the hook on the bar control system of the kite is called the chicken loop.

7. Quick Release

A safety system that allows the rider to release the kite in the event where there is strong offshore wind is the quick release system.

What Equipment Do You Need to Kitesurf?

While you prep up for starting your kitesurfing adventure, understanding and acquiring the right set of equipment is crucial. Modern kitesurfing equipment are purposefully designed for better functionality and maneuverability to ensure that the kite riders of all the levels can correctly navigate through the waves with ease and comfort. A proper synergy between this equipment is vital for a seamless kitesurfing experience.

1. Kite

The most basic equipment which is the heart of kitesurfing is a kite that captures the wind’s energy and move you through and across the water. Modern kites for the kiting sport comes in various styles like inflatable, foil kites and more which are each designed to cater to different skill levels and wind conditions. Kite sizes are chosen depending on the wind speed; meaning that:

More Wind = Smaller Kite and

Less Wind = Bigger Kite

2. Control Bar

The bar is a connection to the kite is the control bar and devices that allows them to steer, adjust the angle and keep the kite in control. The bar includes the lines, safety systems, floaters and more for kitesurfers to have a complete control over the kite.

3. Kiteboard

Again, one vital piece of equipment without which you cannot kitesurf is the kiteboard. The kitesurfing board is your vehicle on the water. You can find different kinds of kiteboards like twin-tip, foil boards and directional boards.

While all the three kinds of kiteboards have their own pros and cons but the most used kiteboard by the kitesurfers of all levels are twin-tip kiteboards. Beginners can start with larger boards that are more stable and easier to handle and advanced riders can opt for smaller board design for agility and better surfing experience.

4. Harness

Worn around the waist, a harness distributes the force generated by the kite from your arms to your core. It not only enhances the comfort and control but also allows you to focus more on riding on the waves without excessive strain on your upper body. This increases your control over the kite with ease.

5. Life Jacket

A life jacket is a must-wear product while you go for kitesurfing even if you are a skilled swimmer. It serves as a safer passage for a smooth experience. You must select a life jacket that is light and fits appropriately.

6. Helmet

One more equipment to protect you for a better kitesurfing experience is the helmet. It not only protects you during falls but also protects your head from strong force of wind.

How Does Kitesurfing Work?

Many of our students had the question as to how does kitesurfing work, it is very simple. As kitesurfing’s one of the most thrilling aspects is the ability to move against the gravity and experience the sensation of jumping and flying with a kite, this aerial movement involves skilfully manipulating the kite to generate lift and drive the rider into the wind. By adjusting the kite’s angle, harnessing the wind power, and fine-tuning your body position, kitesurfers achieve controlled experience that adds an extra layer of excitement to your sport.


Kitesurfing is not just a mere sport but an experience that combines the symphony of wind, water, and human skills. Whether you are a beginner who is eager to learn the basics or an experienced kite rider, this comprehensive guide serves as a roadmap for understanding the intricacies of kitesurfing. While you embrace the wind, experience the sheer joy of kitesurfing and feeling the rush, every session becomes an impactful experience. Now that you know the basics about the sport, join the Kitesurf School Algarve and get started with it!

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