“Kiteboarding is like waterskiing behind a silent, clean, self-controlled helicopter.” This is a blog on a kiteboarding forum from someone trying to explain what this sport is all about. Perhaps an even more heartfelt comment was ……………… “If you consider the wind as sacred, treating it with reverence while others consider your enthusiasm to be fanatical and extreme – then you’re a kiteboarder!”
Kiteboarding is a surface water sport combining aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard. Like surfing, kiteboarding is a sport primarily enjoyed by individuals who don’t usually need competition or organised events.
For them this is about self-expression on the water and the satisfaction of joining with the elements in an environmentally way. The first kite school in Thailand was established in Hua Hin back in 2001. Since then Kiteboard Asia (KBA) has opened many schools in Thailand and Vietnam. With almost 15 years’ experience, there isn’t much they haven’t learned so much about kiteboarding, teaching, and how to run the best kitesurfing services. This is by far the largest kiteboarding school and shop network in Asia. The head office remains in Hua Hin with three separate operations on controlled sections of local beaches and a shared central distribution point for all the latest equipment and clothing.
The proud boast is that kiteboarding gear is available in Hua Hin at the lowest prices worldwide. We caught up with Jerry, the local Manager of almost 4 years, who explained some of the finer points about how anyone (“7 – 70 years”) can join this colourful Hua Hin ocean scene. The age and gender of the kiteboarder is not really relevant as this is not a sport dependent on strength. The only really requirement is that kiteboarders must ‘graduate’ as someone who especially understands the safety requirements; a bit like a SCUBA diving certification. Jerry explained that local conditions couldn’t be better for beginners with lessons are the mainstay of KBA operations for newcomers progressing towards becoming a real kiteboarder year-round.
Bookings for lessons (private, 1 day discovery and 3 day) are often made online, with free local transportation available. There is also a local club with equipment storage and ‘on the beach’ assistance available. A wide sandy beach, with shallow water and reliable wind conditions provides the best conditions for learning. The best conditions are from November to May, happily coinciding with the tourism high season.
There have even been world championship kiteboarding competitions here going back to 2010. All nationalities are represented with a combination of rentals, sales and kiteboarder’s own equipment being used. There have been over 10,000 students over the years, including many who have gone on to make successful careers and continuing to embrace the sport. Internationally the future is definitely looking bright for kiteboarding.
There are pro tours, speed and course racing world championships. Kite gear is evolving at an incredible pace, with kites and bar systems becoming safer and more efficient. Kite schools with qualified instructors can be found all around the world, and more youngsters and girls are getting into kiteboarding.
Kiteboarding almost became an Olympic sport for the 2016 Olympic Games. But Hua Hin is the place to start your involvement and to experience the thrills of wind-powered locomotion and salt spray on the ocean in Hua Hin. Where? The three bases for KBA can be found at Sois 71, 75/1 and 83/1. It’s just a matter of heading down any of these Sois to make the connection. Website:www.huahinkitesurfing.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 0910093553