Pools are terrific, but let’s talk about speed on the high seas. Everyone grab your boards and hitch up those sails. Today, it is time to discuss basic windsurfing and kitesurfing safety.
What is the Difference Between Windsurfing and Kitesurfing?
This blog has focused on surfing safety in the past
, but what makes surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing different from each other? To start with similarities, all three of these sports involve standing on a board and riding across the top of the water.
That’s where things diverge, because windsurfing and kitesurfing involve a lot more equipment than surfing. So what exactly are windsurfing and kitesurfing?
In a nutshell, windsurfing is a water sport that allows a person to speed across the waves on a surfboard with a sail attached to it. This sail can be turned and twisted in the wind to help push the rider. The sail is controlled with the rider’s arms and body weight. It can be quite an intense workout!
Next, kitesurfing is another water sport for which the board essentially attaches to a large kite that resembles a parachute. The kite is attached to the surfer with a harness; the surfboard is attached to their feet. Powerful winds pick up the kite and propel the rider across the water. It can even lift the surfer out of the water.
Are These Sports Dangerous?
Both windsurfing and kitesurfing are often referred to as “extreme sports.” Each sport has its individual merits and drawbacks. Fans, as one can imagine, are quite passionate about which one is better. We’ll leave that up to you, but here are some safety tips to consider:
Now, a question that is often asked is whether these sports are safe for the participants. To start, remember that if water is involved, there is always a risk of drowning danger. When you add in choppy waves and wind, well, many people get a bit more nervous.
When properly trained about safety procedures, these recreational sports can be enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. That said, the risks of both should not be ignored.
As for which one is more dangerous, the answers vary. One hospital ran a two-year-long study
comparing the injuries between both sports in 2016. The study found that kitesurfing resulted in a significantly higher injury rate than windsurfing did in the same environmental conditions. That said, the severity of the injuries did not differ.
Be a Strong Swimmer and Plan Ahead
While there are some key differences between these sports, there are some constants that should be considered. The absolute first thing that should be done before setting foot in any body of water is to take swimming lessons. Being a properly trained swimmer is invaluable in both sports.
Next, never neglect the weather reports. When wind and waves are at play, a surfer will want as much information as possible. Knowing about a storm before you head to the water could save a life.
Additionally, always let someone know that you will be surfing. They should know where and when to expect your return. Finally, only swim or surf in designated areas with a lifeguard present. Having an attentive professional on hand could prevent possible tragedies.
Be sure to pay attention to posted warnings. Never windsurf or kitesurf at a marina or boatyard
. There are simply too many obstacles and hazards at hand.
Training and Gear Matter
Obviously, both windsurfing and kitesurfing rely on some fairly unique gear. These can be tricky to control, so it will always pay to know how to act during an emergency. Before you even think about setting out on the waves, we recommend finding proper training.
When purchasing a rig for either sport, be sure to ask for as much advice from experts as possible. This includes the people at the surf shop, lifeguards, and even fellow enthusiasts. Knowing potential pitfalls before they happen is half the battle.
Finally, make sure you are sailing rig or harness are sturdy and firmly attached. Wear a lifejacket at all times and never set off without double-checking your gear. Training and attention to detail can prevent dangerous situations.