K48 on KiteSurfing

Pic: Rick Leeks, Kite Beach, Maui.
It's extreme. It's the future. And it's here...

World Kitesurfing Speed Record: 33.38 knots Sept 2001
Click here for video and more info.

I first got into Kitesurfing in 1998 when I saw a friend using a kite and a longboard to play in the waves in about 3 knots of wind. It was onshore winds and I was stuck on the beach as the waves weren't worth surfing. I initially intended to kite board for the purposes of keeping fit in Europe in the light winds of the summer.... However this sport is became much much more. The jumping is the main appeal compared to windsurfing - always higher, longer and further...

(Bit of fun.. Always plan where you are going to land.....)

Kite: I prefer to use the Blade over an inflatable for almost all situations. It is the most fun kite there is. The best for jumping and upwind cruising, plus it's easy to land on your own. For an in depth discussion on "Blade versus Inflatable" click  here..

"Those rocks are in the background are mine ..
(I was the first to land there!)"

Windsurfing is awesome, especially wave riding and that thrill of smacking a throwing lip....
but using a kitesurfer to ride waves can be fun too: The challenge then was how big??

Kitesurfing Jaws.

Pic: Gary Blumenstein.)
Interview by Maui Windsurfing Online:

"On December the 4th 1999 the first real Jaws swell of the winter hit the North Shore of Maui. It was arguably the biggest swell ever ridden by windsurfers - up to quadruple mast high! The next day the swell was more "normal" by Jaws standards at about triple mast. This day, December the 5th,  I had the opportunity to windsurf it again... or attempt to kitesurf the wave at its infamous full power for the first time in history. I stress attempt as it was not known if it was even possible to drop in on Jaws with a kitesurfer at that point. The conditions were 3.3m Blade (kite) weather (4.4 windsurfing) and 15ft -20ft Hawaiian surf  (up to 40ft faces). I already had some theories on how to ride it and so I set about putting them into action. I quickly discovered, however, that it is extremely hard to catch the wave kitesurfing. (In fact some other top kitesurfers have tried with no success). It took a while to simply figure out how to drop in on the wave for a number of reasons: The wave is just so fast and big, jacking up so high so quickly that dropping down the face is in direct conflict with the kite pulling upward! Then the wind is so gusty and offshore that powering up to catch a wave is a nightmare. In fact the waves themselves would often kill the wind 40m up where my kite was. I did manage to catch a few smaller waves playing safe for a while until finally catching this est 36ft face. To go down in front of a wave like this with a kite would be unthinkable. Tow surf partner, Manny, was backing me up on the ski just in case...."


(Pic: Jono Knight.)
Full speed with a 6'4" self made board on a glassy Jaws wave - heaven? I think so.

English Channel Xing, September 17th '99.

Click to enlarge and read more.....

Kitesurfing for jumping....The Early Days...!!

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Double Loop,  137k
Homebreak: Camber Sands, UK

If a picture says a thousand words..... video says a million.....
This is a double backward loop back on the wave face...

with a 4.9 Flexifoil Blade in 15mph winds... that's
marginal 5.5 windsurfing weather! 
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Sponsors at the time: Brunotti, Daggers Sunglasses, Aerotech, Croakies, Maui Magic, Flexifoil


Copyright 2002-2010, Chris Calthrop, Last Updated - 07/30/09