Kite marked

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 July, 2012, 12:00am


Kiteboarding has enjoyed a meteoric rise in profile from an underground recreational sport to a mainstream Olympic sailing event in less than 20 years.

In 1995, when the pioneers of modern kiteboarding, French brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux, introduced their kite to the market, there were probably less than 1,000 participants in the world. Now it is estimated there are more than 200,000.

Why has it become so successful?

Nick Pardoe, a windsurfing instructor who also runs a kiteboarding school in England, points out that the kit is cheaper and more compact than that required for windsurfing, but this is not the key to its popularity.

'It probably takes a year of instruction to be planing in a harness on a windsurfer but I can usually have someone up and running on a kiteboard in two days,' says Pardoe.

'It's the fast food of water sports.'