Windsurfing v kitesurfing

Adrenaline rush

W: Can be a thrilling ride, especially once you've learned to "plane" on top of the water - the sport holds the record for fastest sailing craft at 53.88mph. Learning to perform jumps will get your heart racing.

K: One big attraction is "hangtime": experienced riders can jump and stay in the air for five to 10 seconds (the record is 13) and can jump as high as 10m. Speeds often reach 30mph, and the record is 48mph.

Body strength

W: Your legs are often in a half-squat position, strengthening your quadriceps and buttock muscles. You use your arm and upper-back muscles to hold the sail in position and adjust its angle.

K: Doesn't target quite as many areas as windsurfing, although you do use all your leg and core-stability muscles to control the speed and direction of the board.

Risk of injury

W: Cuts and bruises can occur from contact with your board and rig. One of the most common injuries is muscle strain, especially in the lower back, according to a recent study.

K: With the kite around 25m in the air, there is a risk of winds pulling you into an uncontrolled landing or obstacle. Safety precautions such as release systems (plus instruction) will help prevent this.


W: Frequent tacking and jibing (turning up- and downwind) makes your heart work hard, as does windsurfing in high wind and choppy water. However, it's not so intense when wind is low. Using your bodyweight to transfer the power from the kite down into the board boosts stamina.

K: How hard your heart works depends on weather conditions and frequency of tricks and turns.

Good for beginners

W: The basic skills can be learned in a few hours, but this depends on sufficient wind. More advanced techniques, such as planing and jumping, can take a long time to master.

K: You have to learn how to control a power-kite before you're allowed into the water, but once you've mastered the basics, you'll progress faster than in windsurfing and you need less wind to be able to go out.

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