The Outer Banks – Kiteboarding Mecca
By Chris Moore –
Kiteboarding, a synergy of wind and water forces, takes harnessing the wind to the extreme. Once you experience the rush of kiteboarding, you will never be the same! Kiteboarding can be learned by young and old and can be as aggressive or easy as you want it to be, by rigging different size kites.
The Outer Banks offers the best wind and water forces for the sport in the country making it the Mecca for this young sport. With 390 square miles of intercoastal waterway on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side, there is plenty of water, reliable winds throughout the entire year and shallow waters in the sounds.
When starting, 80% of the skill required to kiteboard is in controlling the kite. Before you can learn to ride a board successfully, learning to control the power source (the kite) is a must. Power kite packages will get you going quickly. They are also great fun to fly, provide a good workout, and are far more durable than kiteboarding kites.
Power kites are more than a training tool. Get a 3.0 square meters size or larger and you can use it to pull a kite buggy, snowboard or skiis, kite landboard, or kite skateboard.
A complete set-up will range in price from $1949 to $2499.99. Kite sizes are determined by wind conditions, expertise, the kiteboarder’s weight, and how aggressive the kiteboarder wants to kiteboard. Kites are around $100 per square meter. It will cost $1500 to $2000 for a kite and lines, and the board will run around $800.
In good conditions an advanced kiteboarder can launch 20-40 feet above the water and soar for up to seven seconds. One of the rushes of the sport is in catching the air and flying. With kiteboarding, you can glide for football field lengths in the air. However, you do not have to boost huge air to have a great time kite surfing. Many people enjoy just ripping through the water and working on more technical tricks of the sport.
The best launch spots on the Outer Banks tend to be on Hatteras Island in the Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo area; the winds are stronger, smoother, and there is more access for launching and landing on the sound side. The Kitty Hawk Kites Kiteboarding Resort in Rodanthe is one of a number of sites available, and it offers a free kiteboarding launch site with expert instructors, rental center, compressed air and hot showers.
The big kiteboarding events center around Memorial Day and Labor marking the beginning and end of the season for equipment releases. The Memorial Day annual Spring Demo Days at Kitty Hawk Kites offers an opportunity to try out the latest equipment, and the Kite Week event features special multi-day intermediate clinics.
For more information on finding a kiteboarding school, you can check out the non profit Professional Air Sports Association (PASA) website to find a PASA certified school.
For more articles and information about experiencing the active Outer Banks go to Outdoor Outer Banks Magazine.
Chris Moore is a Master Instructor, Head Examiner for PASA and the Kiteboarding Operations Manager for Kitty Hawk Kites. He has been professionally involved in kite sports for the past 23 years. Chris can be reached at 252-987-2297 ext. 103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.