Kitesurfing is a relatively new and very exciting sport. In 1998, there were only a couple dozen kitesurfers in the world but he population of kitesurfers is growing rapidly, with an estimated kiting population of between 150,000-200,000 in 2006. The concept is simple, a kiter stands on a board and uses the power of a large, controllable kite to propel themselves and the board across the water (it can also be done on snow or land). Kitesurfing can be learned quickly and easily with proper instruction. It takes less time to learn than windsurfing or traditional surfing and and is not exclusive to athletic persons as the sport is less aerobic than windsurfing or traditional surfing. The minimal amount of equipment required to kite is as follows.
- A kite ($800-1400)
- A control bar and lines ($350-$450)
- A harness ($150-$300)
Ideally, a kitesurfer would have at least 3 differently sized kites, a light wind kite, a moderate wind kite and a high wind kite. However, for the average kiter a quiver of 2 kites that meet their local conditions is sufficient. These have an inflatable leading edge and inflatable struts to give the kite a rigid crescent shape while allowing them to be deflated and stored in a backpack. The patent on leading edge inflatable (LEI) kites has expired and every manufacturer currently makes a version of this kite. Modern kites have a set of front and back lines which allow them to be instantly trimmed for increased or decreased power. Kiting is an evolution of surfing as surfing is preferably done in low wind conditions (< 10 knots) and kiting is best when the wind gets above that range.