Kitesurfing in Northern Ireland is the latest, most extreme water sport to hit the beaches. It looks like a cross between wake boarding and parachuting but is, in fact, Kitesurfing.
Kitesurfing is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world and adrenaline junkies all around Northern Ireland’s stunning coastline have taken up the challenge. Invented by the French but pioneered in Hawaii the rider is towed behind an over sized power kite strapped to what looks like a snow board, at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Besides generating speed, the power and lift of the kite enables the rider to perform breath taking jumps with acrobatic loops and spins 20 feet above the waves.
Since 2000 when a handful of dedicated pioneers brought kite surfing to these shores, numbers have doubled every year as the sport’s profile grows. On fine windy days it is not unusual to see 20 or thirty kites in the sky at the more popular beaches. Northern Ireland is almost a kite surfing paradise. Aside from the temperature, wind and waves are in plentiful supply and the choice of wide sandy beaches means there’s always somewhere with ideal conditions.
How to get started
Kitesurfing is an amazing spectacle and more incredible to do. But it can be a dangerous sport to do so it is very important to get a lesson from a qualified instructor.
Is it easy?
There are no age or fitness limitations on entering the sport and you don’t have to be strong to hold the kite as all the power is transferred through a harness into your body.
A two day lesson with a qualified instructor should have most people up and riding, enjoying all the thrills the sport has to offer.
Is it expensive?
Like starting any new sport for the first time there is an initial outlay. The first and most important investment is a lesson or two. This will in the long run save you a lot of money and you will get valuable information on the size of board and kite you will require.
To get started you will need a wetsuit, harness, kite and kiteboard. There is a bewildering range of equipment available both new and secondhand. It is therefore important to seek professional advice to avoid spending a lot on unsuitable gear. Most dealers offer a starter package for around £700.
Most riders when they reach a certain level of competence will require two or three kites but there are no costs beyond the initial outlay.