In 1997 less than 10 riders went upwind.
Kitesurfing is not so new that it seems and is not a one man invention.
In the 70's, a few US people use round parachutes to pull them on waterskis
The swiss Andreas Kuhn sails in the middle of the 80's with wakeboard style boards pulled by a paraglider (around 25m≤). He is probably the first one jumping high and in light winds. Shown on the european TV's.
In 1984 the frenchies Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux, sailors, windsurfers and surfers, get a patent for the first self-relaunching marine wing. To promote it, they participate several International Speedsailing events in 1985 and 1986 with waterskis. During 10 years they improve their wing and test most power kite uses, making hundreds kites, boards, skis and boats. First wings sold in 1993.
In the late 80's, Cory Roeseler from USA prepares the Kiteski (patented and sold since1992). His technic is based on a flat kite with carbon spars associated to a control bar with brake reel which allows relaunching from water. He sails with jump skis and is the first one sailing upwind with skis. Now he also proposes a board between the waterski and the surfboard.
Untill 1992/93, a few other isolated people use power kites to propell skis and boards but they don't get media nor commercial back wash.
In 1996 kitesurfing gets a large media exposure thanks to the windsurfers Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin using 2 strap towing surf boards with soft kites then special kitesurf boards with Kiteski and Wipika wings.
In 1997 F-One is the first company producing kitesurf boards. They were developed by RaphaŽl Salles and Laurent Ness.
In 1998 kitesurfing can be considered as a real sport. Some pilots can go upwind. Several schools start teaching kitesurfing. The first competition is held on Maui in September and won by Flash Austin, a Wipika sponsored rider.
A sport is born !
1) Purchase a special KiteSurf board
Now several manufacturers propose special kitesurf boards, in France, Netherlands, USA. Just ask for your retailer.
WIPIKA will propose a "different" board in early 99. So if you can, wait a little bit !
2) Use a surfboard or small sailboard with footstraps
The main difference with the sailboards is in strap location. Put
them at least 30cm forward of a normal sailboard strap position.
3) Make your own board.
Length generally between 200 and 250cm accordingly to your weight
and wind speed.
4) Use a wakeboard or waterskis
This works too (we even sailed with 40cm long "shoes")!
Actually most boards have 3 straps but the best kitesurfers can sail
front side and back side.
Kitesurf Mailing List