Kite surfing, kiteboarding, kiting — beneath these words lies a conglomerate of different sports, united by one idea: utilizing a large towing air serpent (a kite) and the wind for propulsion. Having appeared just recently, kite surfing literally burst on to the world scene and is already gearing up to become an Olympic sport.
The "person plus kite" system is one of the most advanced designs in the world of sailing. Astounding speeds, incredible upwind angles and moving several times faster than the wind — all these are part of kite racing. Racing on water on a special board with hydrofoils, on ice and snow with long and very hard skis, or going on long treks — enthusiasts have crossed Greenland and even the Bering Strait under a kite! Incidentally, "winter" kite racers from Russia are the strongest in the world.
Everyone finds his or her own style of riding a kite. Young athletic guys often choose so-called "wake style" (skating with the kite on a board, reminiscent of wakeboarding, and executing tricks while jumping). Unlike conventional wake skating, kiteboarding is cheaper (no boat required) and there is much less danger of trauma since the kite holds the athlete in the air and any falls into the water are of a softer order.
Senior participants, as a rule, prefer "old school" — high smooth flight, or "wave riding" — riding the kite over waves on a surfboard. Or simply engaging in "free ride" — leaving the horizon behind, resting from cares alone with the sea and wind.
All these types of kiting can be successfully engaged in Vladivostok. In the spring and early summer, almost daily thermal winds blow — not too strong and very smooth. At the end of Amur Bay near the village Tavrichanka at a spot called "RVS" is the prime place where Vladivostokians like to skate. It got its name from a nearby village that services a radio broadcasting station. The huge lagoon with a depth of about half a meter is ideal for initial training and for practicing jumps. The wind blows in the afternoon until sunset, so many kiters from Ussuriisk and Vladivostok come to ride after work. A few dozen people go out on the water, along with instructors and beginners. From the side, it seems incredible that so many kites are not tangled up with each other. The secret is simple: kiters know the rules for diverging on the water and act in strict compliance with them. If you are an inexperienced novice, your mistakes will be kindly pointed out. Of course, you are counted on to abide by the rules and not to impede others.
In summer, Primorsky kiters like to ride on Russian Island (Cape Ahlestysheva) and in Khasan district (on the sandspit Nazimova). In autumn, when there are northern winds, kites can be seen right along the city’s edge at Cape Kungasny. And in winter, the vast expanse of ice on Amur Bay is at their disposal. Two-meter skis, lanyards whistling, at speeds of up to 100 km per hour the journey to “Sandy Shore” and back is less than an hour ... all this is winter kiting a la Vladivostok.
Complicated? Yes. Something like driving a car. Needed are a sensible instructor, proper technique, and a few hours of driving under supervision. It is essential to subsequently strengthen skating skills on one’s own, but with this approach, everyone, without exception, can be successful.
Dangerous? Undoubtedly. A kite that is capable of towing a person has tremendous thrust. It is a force that cannot be countered; you can only control it using the kite’s guidance system.
In the early stages, schools use small training kites that forgive mistakes. Instructors have special lead-in exercises that develop correct skills. Once a beginner has learned proper control, he is given a large kite and board. However, even after mastering basic movement in the water, it is better to ride the entire first season under the watchful eye of more experienced comrades.
An experienced surfer responds to his kite like a good sports car. A kite differs from an automobile in that it can be deprived of propulsion at any moment in less than a second. We just need to know what to do at that moment. With sufficient knowledge and training, kiting is generally safe. It is extremely rare for experienced kiters to be injured.
Expensive? The rigging costs a lot, but with the right care, it lasts a long time and doesn’t require additional expenditures. It is also compact and fits in the trunk of any car. And most importantly — the wind is completely free! Therefore kiting is one of the most economical pastimes, especially if cost is figured as "the amount of rubles per unit of pleasure". If you happen to be in Vladivostok for a few days, choose one of the local kite schools and go to the first lesson "Discovery Kiteboarding". It is held on the beach with a special training kite and offers a whole lot of fun. The lesson will never be forgotten and will serve as a "foundation" for further study.
If you have previous familiarity with kiting and you know how to skate, then plan to come to Vladivostok and be sure to bring your wetsuit. Local instructors will gladly provide gear for skiing and bring you to the spot. We advise you to phone ahead to clarify the weather forecast and agree on all terms.
Kitesurfing can be a wonderful hobby for you and an opportunity to expand your circle of friends and business contacts rapidly if you decide to stay in our city for a few months.
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