One of the best things about kite surfing is the fact that you can choose to ride in so many different ways. Many people start out riding freestyle with a twin-tip board, and then explore other styles of riding once their skills progress.
Freestyle is an extremely popular area to the sport. It involves technically using the board and the kite to get height enabling the kiter to do big jumps, rotations, board offs etc.
There is an endless number of freestyle moves of which the most advanced are handle passes (where you unhook from your harness and rotate your body while passing the bar behind your back at the same time). A smooth landing is the key to making a freestlye move.
Andy Yates hails from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and is the 2011 Freestyle World Champion - check out his riding in this video.
WAKSA runs freestyle events most summers, so feel free to come along and watch the aerial exploits of some of WA's best riders.
Explosive, fun to do and watch, and very addictive. The waves are ridden like a surf board, but with the added versatility of the kite. Aerials and power tricks can be bust out using the power of the wave.
Easy to get into because you can practise doing sharp turns on flat water then move on to little waves and work your way up. Some people use surf boards for this but as the popularity increases in the sport more and more companies are bringing out surf board style kite boards.
Western Australia is one of the best wave kite surfing locations on the planet and it's no surprise that our local talent is amongst the best in the world. Here's a short video featuring one of WA's best wave riders, Ryland Blakeney.
WAKSA runs regular wave riding events in Western Australia so come along to experience this aspect of the sport.
Big Air or Hangtime
The most awe inspiring side of the sport to the spectators. Big air is when the kite is used to do massive jumps and remain in the air as long as possible. The current hangtime record is 13 seconds and is held by Adam Koch. Waves are often used as ramps to boost big airs from.
Kickers and Sliders
A high adrenaline new discipline to kitesurfing. Ramps and rails are built and securely placed in the water. They are used to slide up or along and can be combined with freestyle.
If they are not kitesurfed correctly you can seriously harm yourself or damage your kit, so helments must be worn and you must unhook (without a leash) as you attempt them. This side of the sport is for advanced kitesurfers and is taking the sport in the direction of skateboarding.
Any of you who have witnessed kitesurfing know that kitesurfers can go pretty fast. Speed kiting is all about going the fastest in a straight line. The current world record is above 50 knots!
Control of both the board and kite under such speed is vital and wipeouts are extremely painful. Speed kiters wear extra padding to reduce impact from the wipeouts! Obviously speed kitesurfing needs powered up conditions, so force 4 and above is good.
Special equipment is required to reach these speeds - very narrow boards have been specifically developed for this discipline.
Kite surfing course racing hasn't been around too long, but is growing in popularity very quickly. Essentially the same as sailing racing, it involves racing around a set course.
Courses range in length and are usually in relatively flat water in the ocean or on riders or bays. Most kiters into course racing use the same kite they use for other styles of riding. The board on the other hand is a completely different ball game.
Course racing boards are specifically designed for maximum speed and upwind pointing ability. They are much larger than normal freestyle or freeride twin tip boards to enable the rider to kite upwind in much lighter winds.
WAKSA runs a Course Racing Series throughout the summer, so come along to check it out!
Freeride is anything that you want it to be and the most popular aspect of the sport within the Australia. Most boards sold today are desigend for freeride. They all look pretty similar in shape, but vary dramatically in width, length and depth. This enables a kitesurfer of any ability to take kitesurfing to which ever level they feel like. It's about having fun. Australia has a great freeride scene and more then likely you can turn up to any good beach on a windy day and see another freerider out.