Kite sports explained
Pembrokeshire has some of the best beaches in the UK for all kite sports, Oli Tuggey from Big Blue gives the low down on what's involved.
Pembrokeshire has some of the best beaches in the UK for all kite sports. The stunning backdrop of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the buffeting winds from the Atlantic provide perfect conditions for all disciplines, ages and abilities.
What’s it all about?
Kite sports are a range of wind powered activities of which kitesurfing is the pinnacle. Each discipline within kite sports varies in their difficulty and cost of equipment.
Where to start?
Power Kiting is the starting point for all kite sports offering a cheap, fun for all activity. Basically it involves the static flying of a power kite on a field, park, beach or other large open area. Power kites come in different styles and sizes. The size is chosen to provide power suitable for the flyer. Smaller kites are used in stronger winds and larger kites in lighter winds; the size is determined based on the strength of the wind, the weight and experience of the flyer. Power Kiting allows the flyer to develop experience and kite handling skills which are then applied to other kite sports.
Kiteboarding and Kitebuggying is the next progression in kite sports. Off road skateboards or mountain boards and three wheel seated buggies are used in conjunction with the kite to create traction. The rider can use the kite to travel across the wind and upwind. As experience and skills develop the rider can also use the kite to perform jumps and rotations and compete in national and international racing and freestyle competitions.
From land to sea.
Kitesurfing is based on the same principles as the other kite sports. The kites are more technical than landbased kites in that they allow for more control of the increased power required to pull the rider across the sea. They are also inflatable allowing them to be re-launched from the water. The board used depends on the style of kitesurfing. A board similar to a wakeboard is used in the learning stages and also for free riding and freestyle. Surfboards are used for wave-riding and course boards are used for racing. All kite sports are based on 80% kite skills and 20% board skills….so time spent flying kites is invaluable to the progression. There is nothing better than the sensation of silently speeding over the land or sea powered by the wind. (Or even being pulled uphill on the snow!)
Get on a course!
Kite sports like any adventure sport has a potential risk involved. This risk has been reduced significantly over the sports short development with the technological advances in the equipment. It is essential to learn through a recognised school as there is a lot to learn in order to make your progression in kite sports faster and safer. On a typical course not only will you learn how to do the sports but you will also learn invaluable information about interpreting the conditions and site assessment of the area to avoid any potential problems and to keep you and other people safe.
Read more about adventure activities in Pembrokeshire or search for a kitesurfing provider.