What is better windsurfing or kitesurfing? This question is repeated over the years when thousands of people want to start a new water sport to practice. In general, the main difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing is that windsurfing uses a sail anchored to the board, while kitesurfing uses a kite that works like a parachute. In both disciplines, the athlete moves thanks to the action of the wind on a surfboard. In both, the wind can lift you out of the water and several meters high, which is why these sports are classified within extreme sports.
Both kitesurfing and windsurfing involve balance, speed and adrenaline on the waves, but each discipline has its own tips and advice.
Surfing is a water sport that consists of sliding and making turns on the waves while staying on a board. Two much more complex disciplines derived from it: kitesurfing and windsurfing, both make use of a board and a sail, but each one has a unique style that makes them different from each other.
But before mentioning their differences and recommendations, we must explain what their similarities are, and the reason why the practice of these disciplines makes them so attractive to the professional or amateur athlete. First of all, they both use the wind to propel the sail that is tied to the board.
On the other hand, unlike surfing, momentum and acceleration in kitesurfing and windsurfing are generated by paddling and not by the wave itself. Although they can slide through a current or waves that originate in the water.
It can also be practised in rivers, lakes or seas alike. And they are health benefits, at the muscular and circulatory level, since it can be applied as an exercise routine.
Kitesurfing vs windsurfing
Kiteboarding vs windsurfing = what is kitesurfing?
Kitesurfing or kiteboarding, is a sport that combines surfing with paragliding. It is a sliding discipline that uses a traction kite (kite, in English), which pulls the athlete through four or five lines, by four or five lines, two fixed to the bar (steering), and the two or three remainings (power) pass through the centre of the bar and are attached to the body by a harness.
Although it is known that already in the 12th century some Chinese and Indonesian fishing communities used kites to tow their small boats, this sport officially dates from 1977, the year in which Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise patented a navigation system on a surfboard pulled by a kind of parachute.
Kiteboarding a risky sport, so certain doses of strength, endurance and coordination are necessary. This also implies that those with a severe respiratory deficit or cardiovascular problems should not do it because the adrenaline released causes a notable increase in blood pressure and heart rate. It is also not indicated for those who suffer serious or recurrent shoulder or knee injuries, suffer from diabetes or cannot swim, since any incident at sea could be doubly dangerous.
Kiteboarding vs windsurfing = what is windsurfing?
In windsurfing, you must slide over the water on a board that has a sail. In this discipline, this table is lighter and easier to handle; and depending on its type, it can perform more impressive jumps. You have to master the waves and the wind.
Wind momentum is also applied to make the board ride on water. In addition to the sail and the board, you will need the mast, the mast foot, boom, keel (or fin), luffing board, harness, tether, adapter and halyard.
Windsurfing has several styles: The different modalities are: Long distance and link; Wave, Waves; Freestyle, or freestyle and Olympic Circuit
While some people believe that kitesurfing is easier to learn than windsurfing, others believe that windsurfing is much harder to learn. This is actually a point of debate between windsurfing and kitesurfing community; which one is more difficult and harder to learn.
Many people believe that windsurfing is easier to learn than kitesurfing since it requires fewer aspects to control during its practice. In a few hours, you can be practising it in its simplest version, although this will depend on the skills and learning capacity of each person.
Kitesurfing requires a greater knowledge of the kite, which may take you several hours out of the water in the first place. After that, like surfing the water with the kite, it can take a great deal of time, provided you have adequate information.
However, while progression in kiteboarding is generally short, in windsurfing you will continue to learn for a long time afterwards.
Some people also believe that to learn to kitesurf you don’t need anything, just have the will. It is a sport more technical than physical, it does not require specific physical preparation, which is very important is relaxation to control the board as well.
On the other hand, in the case of windsurfing, you must have a minimum physical background and willpower and perseverance above the average because it is a very slow sport and very hard to learn, not so much physically as mentally. The technique is essential because you have to be a boat, sail, halyard and boom. They are similar sports, both use the wind and give similar sensations, but windsurfing requires more knowledge.
Kitesurfing is much faster to learn than windsurfing. We usually recommend taking a five-day (15-hour) course “after which 70% of people are self-sufficient to safely practice what they have learned on the beach and continue progressing little by little.”
Windsurfing is more demanding and requires much more time than kiteboarding. Unlike kitesurfing, windsurfing is a “long-term” sport because “it is made up of many small steps that are apprenticeships and each apprenticeship takes several years. To get an idea, “the first step is to learn to plan (to navigate so fast that it feels like going over water) and on average it takes 2 or 3 years”.
We can ultimately say that kitesurfing may be harder to learn than windsurfing in the short term while in long term windsurfing is the one that presents more difficulties.
In both cases, there is no age limitation. They are set by the demands of each sport and each person. For example, the youngest students are usually 9-10 years old and the oldest 60-65 years old. But in general, there are many young people and most are between 25 and 45 years old,” the expert highlights.
To windsurf, the minimum starting age is similar, from 9 years old you can start because the masts are made of carbon and are lighter than a few years ago when it was advisable to start from 12 years old.
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Kitesurfing equipment vs Windsurfing equipment
The main difference between kitesurfing and windsurfing is that windsurfing equipment has greater durability due to its greater resistance. Usually, a kitesurfing kite has a durability of 3 years, while a windsurfing sail can last you approximately 5 years.
Similarly, if you are in an accident, a kitesurfing kite is more fragile and possible damage is more difficult to repair.
The lifespan of both sports gear will depend primarily on how you care for and maintain it. If you are not using it, keep them away from water and sun. Before entering the water, check the integrity of each part of the equipment for safety.
Regarding transport, windsurfing equipment is usually more annoying to move, since the sail cannot be folded and it is quite heavy, while the kitesurfing kite is easier to store in a bag next to the board.
It is another of the key questions when starting into these two sports. Economically talking, it is not the same kitesurfing and windsurfing. Actually, none of them is exactly cheap. Windsurfing requires more investment. The financial outlay is decisive to choose one or the other. To kitesurf you need a certain purchasing power for classes and equipment, around 2,500 euros. On the other hand, a windsurfing bar rises to a minimum of 7,000 euros, not to mention that you need a place to store the material (boards, sails, masts, etc.) and transport it. If you decide to start windsurfing, you will need a big car and a garage to store your equipment, therefore windsurfing is ultimately more expensive than kitesurfing
Physical demand for kitesurfing vs windsurfing
As we have remarked before, windsurfing requires a physical capacity than kitesurfing. It is an ideal sport if you want to strengthen and develop your physique. This is because it involves a whole bodywork, the lower part of the body to keep you on the board, and the upper part to hold and move the sail.
Kitesurfing, although it does not require so much physical effort, also requires a good physical condition, especially in the legs and arms to maintain stability.
Which one is safer? kitesurfing or windsurfing?
We can confirm that kitesurfing is more dangerous than windsurfing since possible accidents during kitesurfing can be much more serious than windsurfing.
Some people believe that Kitesurfing is one of the most dangerous water sports because the kite depends more on the wind than on the kiter’s control.
kitesurfing accidents vs windsurfing accidents
In both sports, accidents are usually due to lack of experience. Many people consider that they have mastered the sport enough, and when unforeseen events arise they do not know how to react. The effects of this lack of experience in accidents are magnified in kitesurfing.
In addition to the consequences for oneself, kitesurfing when using a kite far from you, can cause damage to anyone who is at a distance of up to 200 meters approximately. The windsurfing accident usually does not affect anyone, apart from someone being very close to you
Independence of kitesurfing vs windsurfing
For these sports, the level of independence is quite different. Windsurfing allows you more independence than kitesurfing.
Although it is possible to kitesurf alone, it is advisable to have help to launch and land the kite. It is always advisable to have someone help you with the kites every time you go kitesurfing.
In windsurfing, they can usually do it alone since it does not require help to jump into the water.
However, in both sports, it is advisable to have the help of experts in the sport, especially during their initial learning in order to avoid picking up bad habits that may have negative consequences in the future.
The rivalry between kitesurfing and windsurfing. Is there a war between them?
The rivalry between windsurfers and kiters is nothing new. Although both sports have many things in common, it is clear that they are very different. Its practitioners take it upon themselves to make it clear on the beach every day. Everyone wants the wind for themselves without sharing it with the rest!
But although kiters and windsurfers historically have a bit of a grudge and sometimes say that they “don’t even want to see each other”, it is inevitable that they will look down on each other. Something like a sibling match. It is normal for the older one to have some envy of the little one. With the kite and the wind, something similar happens 😉
Let’s see what things one discipline looks at with some envy over the other!
What windsurfers envy about kitesurfing
Bulky boardbags vs. lightweight golfbags that fit in the trunk of your car. A windsurfer is quickly recognized when arriving at the parking lot: mainly because he has to have a large car. When travelling by plane, the kite gear can be hidden inside a golf bag so that you don’t get charged the extra sports bag fee. With windsurfing equipment, you have to be a magician …
With a windboard, you can fly high, but with a kite … you can reach the sky!
Although today prices have dropped a lot, buying good windsurfing equipment (board, boom, mast, foot and sail) is significantly more expensive than a kite.
In kitesurfing, it is much easier to progress and acquire a higher technical level in less time.
Kitesurfing is more modern and “cooler”.
It is similar to skiing and snowboarding. Kite is a different discipline for other kinds of conditions. Both sports are practiced in Nature and that is one of the most fantastic things about both sports that you are alone in the sea with an instrument and you can take it to the level you want. Depending on the wind and the force there is no limit!
The numerous falls and frictions during kite initiation often cost a wetsuit. Maybe that’s why the bañata look over the suit? 😉
To excel in windsurfing requires a lot of perseverance, perseverance and will, as well as some remarkable physical attitudes. Being a crack of the wind is really more valued in the world!
The number of kite practitioners is growing by leaps and bounds, which reduces its exclusivity. Some call it fashionable!
The kite lines can be a nuisance, which makes us always be very aware of any obstacle that may appear on the coast (trees, bridges, light poles …). If the strings are bundled (“spaghetti for dinner”), you have to find your life to get out of the water. Then it touches to be untangling for hours …
Windsurfing is the pioneer sport in sailing boardriding. It is more “authentic”, more surfer.
Kitesurfing is much more than a fad, it is a booming sport, it generates a lot of economic movement and today it has more followers than windsurfing
Tarifa is a great example of what is happening in the world of kitesurfing and windsurfing. This windy destination in Spain mainly lives off kite and windsurf. Everything is focused on these sports, but especially kitesurfing: accommodation, shops, bars, schools, etc.
80% of the people who come to Tarifa between May and September are related in some way to kitesurfing. Winsurfing has given way to kitesurfing, which today is the most popular sport
In the 80s, Tarifa was a town with no tourist projection and today it sells windsurfing, kitesurfing and lifestyle. Kitesurfing is here to stay. It can no longer be called fashion; the first four or five years yes, but not anymore. It is true that there were many windsurfers who switched to kitesurfing because it was fashionable and they wanted to try, but then they either left it and turned to windsurfing or they do both
Pros and cons windsurfing vs kitesurfing
After seeing the most essential aspects of kitesurfing and windsurfing, let´s resume what are the pros and the cons of both disciplines. The next point will help you to decide which one for you is better, kitesurfing or windsurfing:
Pros of kitesurfing
– Equipment easy to carry and to storage
– Fast progression to intermediate and advanced levels
– Possibility to jump high
– Cheaper cost of equipment compared with windsurfing
Cons of kitesurfing
– Low-durability of equipment: easy to break
– Greater risk of accident than in windsurfing
Pros of windsurfing
– More developed and durable equipment, so it is not necessary to renew it every so often
– Resistant to longer working hours
– Sails are sturdier than kites
– Greater independence
– Easier to lear than kitesurfing in the short term
– Sail grip provides increased stability and allows for greater technical skill
– Greater safety, by having control of the sail in your hand
– High cost of equipment
– Difficulty to storage and to carry
– Difficult to learn in the long term
– Difficulty to perform advanced tricks and high jumps
Windsurfing was born before kitesurfing, however, the latter has paved the way to hot on the heels of the former and the ad boom factor has greatly helped to fertilize this ground.
Experts say that learning to kitesurf is easier, faster, all you need is to be willing, it is a sport whose greatest demand is in technique and not in physical, attitude and relaxation will help you expeditiously of learning because that relaxation will help in mastering the table. On this side, windsurfing loses ground to its younger “relative”, that is because learning it can mean a greater investment of time and physical skills.
In windsurfing, if you do not have minimal physical attitudes, added to perseverance and will, you will have to give up or postpone to acquire the learning of this discipline. Greater effort is required for learning windsurfing; if you don’t have patience and if you don’t want to invest more time, you won’t want to dabble in this sport.
Kitesurfing takes less time to learn than windsurfing. With only 15 hours of kitesurfing, you achieve the required learning. Windsurfing is defined by some experts as a long-term sport, it would be talking about years of learning. Both sports have no age limitations, but would you be willing to wait years to enjoy the waves and the wind?
Another factor that can favour kitesurfing is that fashions determine the behaviours and consumption habits of humans; in this regard, the sport in fashion is kitesurfing. It is booming, numerous advertising campaigns give it a boost and make it more noticeable than windsurfing; Apparently, the gap that leaves one behind the other is immense, something difficult to overcome.
When it comes to transportation, the windsurfing equipment is denser. Many times its practitioners must carry more than one board and some candles, this is a position that makes any adept who wants to venture into a certain sport uncomfortable. On the other hand, kitesurfing uses a smaller board, so much that it can be carried under the arms, another point that favours kitesurfing; so far which one is the most attractive to you?
In deep water, windsurfing and its practice pose a certain danger, especially when it comes to speed. Kitesurfing does not have to do with water depths, the practitioner barely touches the water surface, however, the kiter can face accidents on the coast, that is, trees, among others; even so, it still has advantages over windsurfing; Either way, safety must prevail above all else, no matter which discipline you choose.
Speed is a factor that reduces the risks in practice, that is, the lower kitesurfing speed makes the routine more manageable and less risky. For its part, windsurfing has the opposite, that is, greater speed, and therefore, less ability to manoeuvre.
There are marked differences between one discipline and another, but just as there are, there are practitioners who, having first learned about windsurfing, have been able to successfully embrace kitesurfing. Learning has been easier for them; For those who dabble in disciplines, it costs less to adopt kitesurfing as theirs, this is due to the great advantages that we have pointed out.
It should be noted that all the aforementioned gives more advantages to one discipline than another, but there is a detail that, if you want, can become the most important, the main one; that is, without a good instructor, without excellent safety measures and without good use of the material or practice tool, the successful experience of both disciplines will not be possible.
The foregoing is more important than the Windsurf vs Kitesurf approach, this would be relegated to the background if the minimum safety standards, the teachings of a good instructor and the common sense that should prevail in the practitioner are not taken into account. of either of the two disciplines.
We have made an outline that indicates the advantage of one discipline over the other, which may make the reader make decisions about which sport to practice, however, the tastes of each person are what define their usage and consumption trends. Taking into account these premises, the real advantage of one discipline over the other can be determined.
A factor associated with fashion can induce the athlete to take one of the two disciplines, especially if it is taken into account that advertising has the tendency to carry the behavioural part of the public, this advertising must be accompanied by advice and recommendations so that the practice does not become a trauma.
In a few words, and to round off the ideas that arise from what has been raised so far, that is, Windsurf vs Kitesurf, and practice of physical activity is beneficial for those who exercise it, in matters of taste, there are compelling reasons that many times they do not count, only the determination of the person does.
If factors such as economy, ease, little investment of time and other factors, safety, among many others are taken into account, the trend is towards kitesurfing. However, there are athletes who pose challenges and tend to lean towards the most difficult, the most expensive in terms of physical effort, for this type of athletes it is that the practice of windsurfing can be called the intention
For two sports disciplines, it is advisable to learn about storms and seas, as well as to be careful that there is no off-shore wind (towards the sea) because there is a risk that you will not be able to return to shore. It is also not wise to be alone, in case of ignorance of how to control the wind or waves, or also when an accident occurs.
Safety never hurts, so I practice on a wide and clear beach, review the material available. In addition to always having an emergency plan.
In short, windsurfing & kitesurfing are two sports tailor-made for the same wind. Relax, grab your flip-flops, find your windy paradise and choose: sail or kite?
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