Playa Azul Tulum Hotel and Morph Kiteboarding are opening a new Kiteboarding school in the Playa Azul Tulum Hotel, with IKO certified teachers and new equipment that’s safe to use. November 1, 2009 will be the grand opening – everyone is welcome to come try out this new sport!
Kitesurfing is an extreme sport, with a growing number of followers. The sport is a pretty new thing. It’s thought that it first burst onto the scene in the 80s, but not too many people were into it at first. Since then, as more people have known about it, many surfers started kiteboarding. Since 2000, the amount of kiteboarders has surpassed all expectations.
To get started kitesurfing, you would need a kite – the size varies according to the amount of drag you want to have. You attach the kite to a belt, for more control, that’s attached to a harness. Then you need a kind of small surfboard. It’s much easier to get used to, and you have a much bigger range of motion.
Once you have your equipment, you need a place to practice that has recurring winds. Then you can surf with the wind at high speeds! But for beginners, we recommend that you start to learn with an instructor at a certified school. If you don’t, it can get dangerous!
Kitesurfing has also given rise to other types of sport, based on the kite equipment. You can see this with some types of snowboarding. Lots of snowboarders have incorporated the use of a kite, to get even higher speeds over the snow and that way they can do some pretty extreme acrobatics. The same thing happens with those you use mountain boards. They use these in the mountains in the summer. It uses a board a little bit bigger than a skateboard, with rubber wheels, to speed along the rocky paths of the hills. Kites give them much more speed, and more fun!
To begin this sport, the experts recommend that one takes a beginner’s course, where you learn about the equipment and how to handle a high risk sport. It’s necessary to observe some basic principles of safety, and rescue procedures, so that you can handle yourself should a situation arise, like the equipment breaking, the kite falling, etc. This sport, in inexperienced hands, can be dangerous, but if you put some time into practicing, it’s a really exciting sport that gives you a huge adrenaline rush.
In a beginner’s course, normally there’s a section about safely, how the wind works, etc., and the other part is hands-on practice. That starts in the sand with a trainer kite, where you first come into contact with the power of the kite and the different ways the wind hits you, and how to handle the wind speed. Your instructor will show you how to get the kite up in the air, get it down, and release it. Then you get into the water and practice the “bodydrag,” getting used to the feel of being in the water without the board first, and this will help you to get on the board should you lose it in the water. Then you can start practicing a “waterstart” and getting out of the water with the board.
We don’t recommend practicing kiteboarding with off-shore wind (the wind that moves you away from the beach). The basic equipment has different safety features. The kite-bar has a lot of these features. If there’s too strong of a gust of wind, to the point where you can’t control the kite and it drags you, the part of the harness called the “chickenloop” has a safely ring that releases the kite from your body. This lets the leash, or security rope, go, so that you wouldn’t release and lose your kite.
There are lines that pass through the bar, giving you some leeway, so that the bar either stays close to your body or farther away, which gives you a light touch with the kite, according to how the wind is blowing (capturing more or less of the wind), which is of course a measure of safety. You have to be able to regulate the kite when big gusts of wind come up. Kites with two lines don’t have this system, which is really essential (which is why they’re not used anymore).
And last, there’s how the kite is made, which varies among brands and models, and its design can bring with it many different safety elements.
In this sport, there are always new safety inventions, designs, and performance features, and every year new things are introduced.
Even though the practice of this sport is rather recent, it has been known for a long time in China and Indonesia, where they used kites to pull along small boats. Even knowing that, it wasn’t until 1977 that Gijsbertus Adrianus Panhuise patented a navigation system on a surfboard, for a type of parasailing, becoming the father of kitesurfing. In Indonesia it’s part of the culture, and an art, the designs are many and varied, and in these places you can find the kiteboarding industry. It’s also a great place to train, and develop better equipment. It’s history, together with low overhead and the reputation of the area as the place where kiteboarding was pioneered, has contributed greatly to the great sport of kiteboarding.