If you are a fan of water sports, then chances are that you are at least vaguely familiar with kitesurfing and windsurfing. However, most people have a hard time telling them apart. After all, they bear a lot of similarities.
Needless to say, this has sparked a debate within the community about which sport is better. Of course, both of them are incredibly popular and have their own merits. Like with everything else, it is often a matter of preference.
That is why we have come up with this handy guide to let you choose which sport fits you best. We’ll delve take a close look at each of these sports so that you can get a clear idea of how they work. So, be sure to keep reading.
What We Cover
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing – An Overview
So, before anything else, we need to take a look at what sets these watersports apart. After all, as you gain a rudimentary understanding of how they work, you will also be able to better understand which one best suits your style.
On the one hand, we have Windsurfing. Also commonly known as Sailboarding, Windsurfing is a popular extreme sports activity that entails riding a surfboard that is attached to a sail. As the rider, you will then harness the power of the wind to help you glide across the waves – adjusting the sail as you go.
On the other hand, we have Kitesurfing – also known as Kiteboarding. It is an extremely lively watersport that involves the creative use of the surfboard and a kite. The board is attached firmly to your feet while a massive kite is attached to your body through the use of a harness. As anyone who has tried this sport will tell you, the winds are powerful enough to lift you several feet into the air – an exhilarating experience to be sure.
In summary, when you are kitesurfing, you will find yourself securely fastened to both the board and the kite. However, you will find yourself in wholly different circumstances whenever you go windsurfing. The main difference is that you are only riding the board that the sail is attached to. A seemingly minor difference but is one that ultimately separates these two watersports altogether.
Windsurfing vs. Kitesurfing – Understanding the Differences
Clearly, through the descriptions presented above, the difference between these two watersports are as stark as they can be. However, if we wish to truly understand what kind of experience you can expect from these extreme water sports then we have to delve deeper.
To do exactly that, we are looking at them side-by-side in the following parameters: learning curve, physical requirements, and equipment.
This is one aspect that these extreme sports differ. To be more precise, you can get the hang of windsurfing rather quickly. As its initial stages let you learn the basics are incredibly easy to learn. In most cases, beginners should become familiar with windsurfing in flat water in a matter of about two to three hours. Then, you should have no trouble navigating waves in five
Learning to kitesurf is a different story altogether as the beginning of its learning curve is notably steeper. This is because there are several components that you need to familiarize yourself with. First, you will need to become adept at handling the kite itself. This stage alone should take a couple of hours.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the kite, you will need to start practicing having your body dragged through the water. Only then can you start thinking about getting on the board. In short, the basics of kitesurfing takes at least nine hours to learn.
It is also worth noting here that kitesurfing requires newbies to have someone with them at all times, at least until they learn the ropes. After all, you will need quite a bit of help to effectively launch and land your kite. They can also help you secure your equipment and help prevent any untoward incidents from occurring.
Once you learn the basics, however, the pace for improvement changes drastically. When it comes to kitesurfing, you should be able to perform more complex moves in a matter of hours as long as you keep at it. On the other hand, windsurfers usually encounter a more gradual improvement in the same amount of time.
Another major difference is the physical requisites and the toll that these watersports can take on your body. For instance, kitesurfing is widely considered to be a more laid back activity compared to its counterpart. This is because it does not call for much physical effort other than engaging your leg and core muscles to control the board.
Windsurfing is an altogether different story, however, as it is significantly more physically challenging than kitesurfing. Windsurfing is essentially a full-body workout as the activity not only engages your leg muscles, but also your hamstrings, upper back, lumbar, and arms as you hold and direct the angle of the sail.
Needless to say, if you are planning on windsurfing, then you should do the proper prep work to avoid straining yourself. Professional windsurfers usually follow a rigorous body-weight exercise program to ensure that they are up to the task.
As with any other sport, equipment plays a major role in windsurfing and kitesurfing. That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to closely examine the gear you’ll need. Here are some of the things that stood out.
- Portability – Of the two, kitesurfing gear is notably more portable and less cumbersome. Consisting of a single board and a kite, your kitesurfing gear can fit neatly into a bag the size of a golf club case. Meanwhile, windsurfing gear, with its two boards and three sails, is notably bulkier and heavier. It can weigh as much as thirty kilos. Needless to say, it can be quite a pain to take them from one point to another, especially on a flight.
- Costs – In terms of cost, it is surprising to find that windsurfing and kitesurfing belong to the same price range. $1,000 serves as the perfect starting price for brand new equipment though high-end gear can be bought for upwards of a hundred thousand. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option, then you can also opt to buy equipment that has been used for as low as $500.
- Longevity – Another aspect of sports equipment that demands attention is the longevity of the gear in question. Whether you are planning on going windsurfing or kitesurfing, you will want your kit to last as long as it can. After all, you are spending your precious dollars on them, so they had better be worth it. In most cases, these types of equipment are known to last as long as five years without having to repair or replace them. Constant maintenance also helps prolong your gear’s shelf life. That said, remember that their longevity is also affected by several factors including proper usage, weather conditions, and frequency of use.
Windsurfing and Kitesurfing – Weighing Pros and Cons
When looking at these two different watersports, we must also take into account the advantages and disadvantages that they have. This will help you make an informed decision as you pick which sports fit your style best.
On the one hand, we have windsurfing. With its incredibly durable sails and simple mechanics, this is something you can do by yourself. The mechanics of the sport are simple enough that you can have a great time on the water and exercise full control over your surfing experience. Most sails even come with advanced features that drastically simplify everything you need to do on the water.
Of course, just remember that windsurfing is known as an incredibly physical watersport. That said, you may have to undergo a training regimen beforehand to ensure that you don’t get exhausted on the water.
On the other hand, there is kitesurfing. While the initial learning curve may seem difficult, the watersport becomes incredibly easier once you get the hang of it. At the same time, it isn’t as physically demanding as its counterpart.
However, this does not mean that it doesn’t come with its own set of disadvantages. If you want to exercise a full sense of control then this might not be the sport for you. For instance, notice how difficult it is to start kitesurfing by yourself. This is because you will always need someone to assist you, even on the water.
At the same time, the equipment itself can be quite challenging to navigate. This is because launching and landing with the kite is ultimately more complex compared to windsurfing – something made even more difficult if you find yourself crashing into the water.
Making the Choice
This guide presented a comprehensive overview of kitesurfing and windsurfing. Despite sharing some similarities, they are undoubtedly different. The discussion presented here should answer some questions you might have had.
Ultimately, however, the choice is up to you. So, be sure to remember the different things presented here and take them into serious consideration.
To is Surf and Kite Instructor, Surfboard Shaper. He share about His life in this blog. More about Him in About page.