On the heels of our look at the emerging extreme sport of sand surfing, here’s another damn exciting discipline: sand kiting.
No, we’re not talking about middle-aged men flying kites by themselves on the beach. Instead, “sand kiting” is a variation on kiteboarding. Essentially, participants replace the body of water with an expanse of sand and they’re in business.
Imagine strapping into your board, as you adjust your feet, flex your knees and get your balance, you blink and stare at the vast expanse of sand before you. Gripping the handle of your kite, the device is whisked into the air. Catching a gust, it sails high overhead. The line tightens between you and the kite, and a second later, you’re off, being pulled along the sandy terrain like it were the slopes of a snow-covered mountain or crystal waters.
Now, this sport isn’t just the meager rations of those who aren’t fortunate to live close to a body of water. It looks like a genuine shot of adrenaline to even the most jaded extreme sports junkie’s heart. (OK, it may not be the most pulse-pounding extreme activity, but it does look like fun).
Check out sand kiting in these videos.
For added speed, it looks like some intrepid souls are replacing the standard kitesurfing board with a landboard. Something like the MBS Colt 90 Mountainboard, pictured below. Both the wheeled and non-wheeled varieties of sand kiting seem sicker than a medieval village stricken by the plague.
This looks really cool, especially on longer expanses of packed sand. Reportedly, you can hit speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour while ripping across the beach.
Apparently, wakeboarders often turn to sand kiting when the winds are too low for action on the water. Accordingly, special boards are popping up on the internet. Proponents also say the learning curve is far less steep for sand kiting as opposed to kiteboarding. It’s also cheaper…and you don’t have to get wet.
The kite enthusiasts behind my-best-kite.com put together this list of established sand kiting stunts
- ramp jumping
- rotations in the air, for example 180 or 360
- flips, both forward and backward
- grabbing the front or rear of the board while airborne
- ‘board off’ moves which involve spinning or flipping the board in the air while the rider’s feet are not touching it
- a variety of ground tricks such as sliding, doing ‘wheelies’ or riding facing away from the kite
And of course, when sand kiting, riders often wear elbow pads, knee pads, and helmets, as interaction with the ground can be less than pleasant and a tad more damaging than being dragged along the surface of the water (ala kitesurfing).
The ISAK and IKA estimated the number of kitesurfers globally at 1.5million in 2012. The global kite gear market is more than $250million. We’ll see if opening the 20 percent of the globe not covered by water to the sport coaxes those numbers upward.