July 8

The History of Kitesurfing


The History of Kitesurfing

If you are reading this article, then I am sure we can all agree that kitesurfing is one of the most dynamic and action-packed sports on earth.

So how did it all begin?

The first kitesurfers got pulled in by this fascinating sport with big airs, speed, power, gymnastic like tricks and riding in monster size waves.

But have you thought about where it all started? What was the original kite like and who brought kitesurfing to what it is today?

This article is all about finding answers to the history of kites.

If you want skip all the reading about the facts, check out the video at the bottom of the page. 

The First Kites

The first kitesurfers

So Who Really Invented Kitesurfing?

The modern day kitesurfing kite as we know it, only started in 1995.

But all the way back in the 1800s, a dude called George used kites to increase speed of carts and boats out on the water. 

Funny enough he actually used a 4 line system, just like we do in modern day kitesurfing.

All this came around because of “horse taxes”. People were trying to find alternatives to using horsepower.

Important dates in the Kitesurfing

1903 Samuel Cody crossed the English Channel in a boat powered by a kite.

1970’s invention of Kelvar kite lines made kites more controllable with less kite traction.

1977 Gijsbertus Panhuiise got a patent for the sport kitesurf / kiteboard. Created concept of kiteboarding.

1980’s everyone was trying to put kites together with ice skating, skis, rollerblades and kayaks.   

1984 first patent for an inflatable kite by the Legaignoux brothers. This kite had a inflatable leading edge. 

1990 three-wheeled buggy with parafoil kite built by Peter Lynn.

1993 Cory Roeseler developed KiteSki - regarded as founder of kiting as we know it today. Simple bridle system.

1995 Roeselers KiteSki developed into a board which is similar to a surfboard.

1996 Laird Hamilton + Manu Bertin popularised the sport. Name went from flysurfing to kitesurfing.

1997 Legaaignoux brothers made Wipika Kite Design, a breakthrough for water re launching within the sport.  

1998 there was already a handful of kitesurfing stores and schools around the world.

1998 first ever kitesurfing competition in Maui.

1999 kitesurfing was becoming mainstream, big names like Naish and Neil Pryde joining the game.

2001 twin tip boards became very popular. Directional boards being used for suf conditions.

2005 Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux made the bow kite. 100% de-power now available.

2012 Kitesurfing Race Style is set to be in Olympics in Brazil 2016. But it fell through.

After 2012, there became a lot of different styles that suit different types. Everything from wakeskate to course racing. There was some cold numbers, just to give you a perspective.

The Fist Kitesurfers

Who invented this Extreme Sport

In this article of history of kites, we will figure out who invented kitesurfing. Hard to point a finger on one person, so many people had influenced, at that time, a fast growing water sport.

So was is the Chinese? They have had and used kites for centuries, from about the 1300’s.

What about the George from the 1800’s? He used kites to increase the speed of small carts and boats on the water. Samuel Cody actually crossed the English Channel to France in a little boat with a kite. He should definitely also be mentioned in crowning a inventor.

The Legaignoux brothers, would be one of my winning choices.

If you look at kitesurfing today, their inflatable kite system and the bow kite, they had a huge impact on the modern day kite.

If the Legaignoux brothers win it then, Cory Roeseler must be a close runner up. He developed the KiteSki, which resembles kitesurfing and quickly turned into a surfboard. This became wave riding.

Many people, when talking about the inventor of kiteboarding, regard him as a founder of the sport as we know it today. Here are a few videos from the pioneers of the sport.

Kitesurfing / Kiteboarding, short films.

Short Kiteboarding History by Suzi Mai and Robby Naish


The 5 main things you need to start Kitesurfing are:

- A Kite

- A Bar and Lines

- Harness

- Boards

- Harness

Looking for more information on kitesurfing brands and manufacturers? We have you covered, here is the Complete list of All Kitesurfing Brands.

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