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Sailing into the South African summer might make you want to engage in some sailing yourself. Why not do it with a surf board and kite?
Kitesurfing is becoming more and more popular as the country grows into a destination of choice for both local and international surfing enthusiasts.
This is largely thanks to strong and steady coastal winds creating perfect conditions to take to the waves with your feet on the board and a kite to pull you along. Find the right winds and you’ll be able to experience an adrenalin-filled ride hundreds of meters long, possibly doing a few jumps and tricks along the way. Initially an extreme sport, kitesurfing has become a sport for the masses. Fancy learning a few things before giving it a try?
The History of Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing is a very unique sport featuring aspects of wake- and- snowboarding, windsurfing, paragliding and gymnastics – all combined into one exceptional experience. While the first kitesurfing-related patent was issued in 1977, the basic mechanism actually dates all the way back to the 1800s. That’s when George Pocock used kites and a four-line control system to power carts and boats as an alternative to horsepower. During the late 1970s and early 80s, brothers Legaignoux developed kites for kitesurfing and patented a design which was then used by various companies for creating their own products. Developments have continued to see kitesurfing become a mainstream sport from the beginning of the 21st century and almost completely replacing windsurfing at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The record for the highest kite jump is one of Nick Jacobsen who managed to leap more than 20m into the air in Cape Town earlier this year.
Where are some of the South African Kitesurfing Hotspots?
Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the top kitesurfing venues , with thousands of enthusiasts from Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and many other countries packing their boards for a visit to the Mother City each summer. On one side you’ve got Bloubergstrand Cape Town’s most popular kiting spot, and on the other Muizenberg, both appreciated by those looking to harness the power of the wind. The city also plays host to The Red Bull "King of the Air" annual competition visited by the world’s top kite surfers.
The wind at Langebaan’s scenic lagoon (another renowned boardsailing destination located up the Cape West Coast), usually picks around noon to create ideal kitesurfing conditions. One can alternatively choose among a number of famous kitesurfing spots along the Garden Route and enjoy waves furthering out to sea at Witsand. Having tackled massive swells along the Myoli Beach in Sedgefield, surfers can replenish their gear at a popular local kite shop while downing a cold beer and snacking on a pizza.
Moving east, you’ll find destinations with warm waters and great winds such as Jeffrey’s Bay, St Francis Bay and the Gamtoos Beach. Dubbed the “windy city”, Port Elizabeth is home to King’s Beach and somewhat wild Sardinia Bay, both offering a long stretch of beach and excellent waves.
If you’ve yet to learn, consider signing up at one of the schools in Cape Town, Durban, Knysna, Langebaan or Witsand. You’ll benefit from the expertise of experienced personal instructors and get equipped with all the gear needed to master this exciting water sport. They say that, no matter how unbelievable it looks, kitesurfing is relatively easy to learn. It usually takes about a week to conquer the basics and ride your first wave- meters, getting an instant reward for the tough work you’ll have done - sun on your skin, wind blowing into your face, and beautiful views whichever way you turn.
Whether a beginner or a seasoned kite surfer, you’ll find South Africa to be a perfect destination for anybody looking to experience an exhilarating ride and get the adrenalin pumping. Make the most of this summer and give it a go.
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