Kite surfing is sweeping across the Bulgarian coast line as the latest fad in extreme water sports. It is still a sport in its infancy, but its growing popularity has lead to the formation of numerous clubs and as this adrenalin busting form of wind surfing takes off it is set to become a competition sport here as well as being included in the sports programmes of many tour operators.
The Rudiments of the Sport
Often referred to as fly surfing, kite surfing, and kite boarding, kite surfing is a sport where the rider is pulled here along the sea by a large, powerful kite, whilst balancing on a small surfboard called a kiteboard. Feet are secured to the board by means of bindings attached to the board. The kite is controlled in the same way that a windsurfing sale is managed. The aim of the sport is the same as windsurfing; to propel the board and rider across the water in a smooth and fluent fashion. The only connection between the board and the kite is the surfer's body. The sill is co-ordinating your feet to steer the board through the water whilst your hands pilot the kite in the sky.
Kite Surfing History
It seems like kite surfing has just been invented and it would not be hard to imagine some young surfer dude jumping on his board with his kid brother’s kite and the sport developing from there, however the roots of kite surfing go back far deeper than this. In the 13th century the Chinese are documented as having used kites for propulsion and in the 1800’s a British inventor, George Pollock, used kites to boost carts on land and boats on the sea. The idea behind Pollock’s invention was to use kite power instead of horse power to avoid stiff horse taxes in existence at the time. By 1903, another inventor, Samuel Cody had developed a man-lifiting kite and managed to cross the English Channel in a canvas boat powered by a kite.
Towards the end of the Seventies tougher flying lines were developed and by 1978 Ian Day powered a catamaran using a kite, which exceeded 40 km / h. Further kite innovations combining it with canoes, ice skates, skis – both for snow and for water and roller skates. German Dieter Strasilla was particularly successful in the development of parachute-skiing, which he further developed to use a kite system. The success was phenomenal and he and his Swiss partner Andrea Kuhn used the technology with surfboards among other things. In 1979 he patented a method of using an inflatable kite to use in a sport he described as ‘kitesurfing.’ Other inventors also patented kite designs, with those of Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux being the most popular and the pattern for most of today’s kites. Kite surfing started to develop as a sport in the Nineties, when Corey Roeseler patented the "KiteSki," which was a pair of water skis propelled by a kite. The Legaignoux brothers created and sold the Wipika design, which is the basis for modern day kite surfing and in 1998 the first kite surfing competition took place on Maui. By 2006, there was an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 kite surfers worldwide.
Kite Surfing in Bulgaria
Kite surfing is really taking off in Bulgaria. The Ride Extreme School offers lessons in kite surfing on Koral Beach near to their base in Lozenets, near Bourgas. The beach is unspoiled by tourism and one of the few in the country suitable for kite surfing lessons thanks to the presence each afternoon of the famous Sereko south easterly wind. Professional guidance is given by from trained instructors from April through until October who aim to have you riding independently in the sea after a few days – so long as the weather conditions permit of course. The school teaches and complies with safety measures as well as schooling wannabe kite surfers in beach etiquette. Kitesurf Varna describes the sport as ‘Likely to Cause Terminal Addiction and also may have negative effects on work productivity, relationships, quality time, rational thinking, creating overly optimistic thoughts toward true driving times in search of wind.’ Their website gives daily updates of wind speeds, wind direction, cloud cover, temperature and rain along with a ‘windguru’ rating for the following Bulgarian locations: Kranevo, Krapets, Kamchiya, Varna, Bourgas, Shkorpilovtsi.
Pictures courtesy of www.kitesurf-varna.com