Kiteboarding is one of the fastest-growing adventure sports in the TCI. And it’s easy to see why. The sport is thrilling and exhilarating, and even makes for great viewing, too. Plus the flat waters and steady winds of the Turks and Caicos make the location perfect. Who invented this thrill-a-minute sport, however? Today the Big Blue Collective takes a quick look at the history of kiteboarding.
Where did kiteboarding come from?
As with many sports, ask this question of three different people, and you will get at least two different answers! The truth is, man has always been fascinated with flight. So we’ve been tinkering with kites and kite-like sails for millennia. The Chinese were trying to send people ‘flying’ with kites in the 13th century. The 1800s saw a guy called George Pocock propel carts on land with little kites. Samuel Cody, best known for their aviation contributions, crossed the English Channel with a kite-boat in 1903. So that’s a lot of kites that sound a lot like surfing kites!
But the sport itself is the brainchild of brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux from Breton, France. They gave us the inflatable kite prototype in 1985. However, across the ocean in Oregon, USA, Cory Roeseler was also making his prototype Kiteski alongside his father, Bill Roeseler. Did we mention Dad was a Boeing aerodynamicist? That’s some mad street cred right there. The Kiteski was launched in 1994, and you’ll recognize an upwind system and the water re-launch system from it. Between Corey’s Kiteski and the Legaignoux Brothers’ inflatable kite, a sport was born. But it took many courageous athletes to make it the iconic water sport it is today.
Kiteboarding becomes a sport
So, we have arrived in 1998, and frosted tips were the coolest thing for our avid new kiteboarders. The Legaignoux brothers, alongside Neil Pryde, are inventing nifty new kite designs many still use today. Don Montague and Robby Naish will take over licensing some of those designs, and create an amazing piece of software which will let them redesign kites in a fraction of the time, making mainstream kitesurfing possible.
Joe Keuhl will also organize the first kiteboarding event on Maui in Hawaii this year, and a sport is officially is born. They called it the kitesurfing world championships, meaning the term ironically, and everyone who knew anything at all about the new sport was there- a whole 25 people. No instructors, no launch experience, just pioneers of a dangerous new sport. Flash Austin won the day, but we all won more.
This concurrent development is one of the defining things about early kiteboarding. Lots of people seem to have had a similar idea at the same time, and amazing styles and gear were born. Today, we’ve got qualified instructors, and we’ve learned how to kitesurf safely, making for a globally popular sport almost everyone can access easily. It’s thrilling, it’s compelling, and it’s like nothing else you’ll ever experience. Kitesurfing fits the TCI like it was made for us. There’s little wonder surfing in the islands has become a bucket list item for everyone in the sport!
Where to from here?
Nor is the evolution of kiteboarding dead. We see not one, but two thriving pro tours annually. The PKRA covers freestyle kitesurfing and the KSP is geared towards wave riding. Newer and better gear is released almost annually, and it’s one of the safest water adventure sports there is. We’re seeing a huge boom in female and young riders, too. Hey, there’s even a chance the sport will be in the Olympics sooner rather than later! And we’re absolutely certain that the Turks and Caicos is a name that will become synonymous with further fun developments in the sport, too.
The Big Blue Collective is thrilled to be part of this new adventure. That’s why we love itching from our sheltered Long Bay premises, helping generations of new sportspeople enjoy the wind and the surf in the best way possible. It’s also a remarkable eco-friendly sport, which leaves little impact on the environment and encourages participants to see themselves as a holistic whole, part of the world around them, not merely someone framed by nature.
We teach our kiteboarding course, which focuses on both safety and skill, in no more than pairs. This ensures you always have an eagle eye on you as you take your first ‘steps’ in the sport. You’ll learn everything from the basics upwards, leaving you free to learn and play on the water in utmost security. For established kitesurfers, we also have more challenging runs. Our experts are always happy to share the beauties of the TCI with eager kiteboarders, so expect to come along on the adventure of a lifetime!
Keen to get started on your kitesurfing journey today? Who knows, this could ignite the spark of passion you need to become part of the new history of kitesurfing! The Big Blue Collective are always on-hand to help you make the most of your holiday experience in the Turks and Caicos, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. We’ll help your heart-stopping wind adventure dreams become a solid and safe reality!