I am curious about the profile of the average kitesurfer using this forum.
For myself, I windsurfed for 20 years before starting to kite. For that period I lived & breathed to windsurf: watched the weather every day, adjusted my work & play schedule accordingly & traveled around the world to windsurf. Abandoning windsurfing has left a weird hole in my psyche - it was who I was for 20 years!
Kiting is of course, a natural extension of windsurfing: many of the skills & all the weather savy I learned have translated into kiting. But I wonder how many kitersurfers have come to the sport without a windsurfing background? I have occasionally met guys on the beach learning to kite who have NO understanding of the wind at all - onshore/offshore/isobars/wind strength etc. - & it amazes me.
Number one advantage of kiting: the transportability of the gear. Number two; the ability to have fun & boost in 10 to 15 knots. These two factors open up endless destinations to kiting.
However, many of the special destinations for windsurfing make less sense for kiting: eg. Maui (which is the most amazing place to windsurf - but makes less sense as a kite destination) the Gorge, even Cabarete (the reef is the big draw for windsurfing).
When you tell people you're a kitesurfer, they just look at you blankly - how can you explain it to someone who has not seen the sport?!
Kiting can't be explained, it has to be seen, then after that it has to be felt. Once you get your first ride, you're toast, you may as well burn your windsurfing gear.
Funny thing happened yesterday when it was blowing 25. Instead of rigging my windsurfing gear, I waited for the wind to die to go kite. Now that is sick!
I bought a new windsurf board and new sail this year, thinking I would kite the lite days and windsurf the epic ones. Not! For me, windsurfing has been cancelled. I'm too enamored by the kite...wearing that shit-eatin grin I used to have during the first days of windsurfing 16 years ago. And even as I get my not-so-young ass handed to me on numerous occasions, I still come back for more.
To add to your wildthang, I passed up on 3.2/3.7 conditions at the Gorge to seek out lighter wind. I never, at least in my lifetime, thought that was in my vocabulary. I have to admit I windsurf for a few days recently to see if I'm ready to sell my equipment and the bad news, or rather good news, is that I STILL very much miss the sport. Kiting is a progression from windsurfing but I hope most people don't totally kill the sport, it's still pretty cool. It's nice to have those options, especially wave sailing down the line. I am, however, getting more efficient with the kite in the wave so I'll let you know next year if I'm thinking windsurfing or not. I saw an auto sticker by Real kiteboarding saying "Windsurfing has been canceled." Now that's funny but true to some degree. You always have people from the left and from the right. Look at the snowboarders and skiers.
As for the exodus to the sport, most are hardcore surfers, wakeboarders, skydivers, snowboarders, and any other extreme sport enthusiasts. I've talked to some of these guys and the consensus seems to point to less equipment, adrenalin, high jumps and not windsurfing!
The real question is "what next ass-kicking sport follows kiteboarding?"
I started into windsports relatively recently, becoming hooked on windsurfing about nine years ago. Before that I heavily disliked any wind as it messed up all the different types of diving that I was into for a long time. There was always wind too in those days with rare periods without, unlike these years!
Today, I couldn't be bothered to drag the windsurfing gear down to the beach, except for my girlfriend. I don't think I could carry an assembled windsurfing rig 200 ft. My record for a loooong walk back after a downwinder is over 6 miles will all the kite gear! Kiteboarding after four years is very much like what windsurfing was for the first year. It keeps on coming though, what a great sport!
Same here, I chased wind for windsurfing since I was 12 making mum and dad transport me to the beach, dump me there and then come back later to pick me up just as it was getting dark... even if it wasn't windy, I'd just sit there and wait... Craazy stuff...
that was 10 years ago, Now I kite, and it has all started again... Now I live by the beach, and the missus gets up me when I want to stay at home and wait for the wind to come up...
Kitesurfing hasn't just canceled windsurfing for me, it's canceled most other facets of life as well!
I am a wind jumkie, and whatever the next wild sport is to come along in this vein I will be there... As I bet the majority of people here will be!
BTW, it's blowing 22-30 knots outside, I work 50m from an epic spot in these conditions... I have 3 new kites I'm dying to ride... I have to work... Somethings not right here... is that a headache I feel comming on..?
dido on above, the thing that hooks ya and why you don't even consider pole boarding,is that kite is so friggn big I mean the kite is out there 110 feet,you not stairn at the rig or peekn rount the mast,no you are a Big Deal yet all alone, no big ass fin no big ass pig of a board to slap down and choke speed no you are cookin with gas in big sky country wang yor flying jack thats why you dont go back you cant go back and if you get homsic by the time you blow the dust off your mast bag & check for spiders,its over and your grabing the bar and kite bag and 4 1/2 foot stick and you know your happy for yourself but sad for a great sport that ran out of time.