Kite Surfing Cairns, Australia
People who invent extreme sports must have a lot of spare time on their hands. Whoever developed the idea of Kite Surfing could be described as an inspired and brilliant thinker, or as surfer weirdo with nothing else better to do than devise better ways to pump high volumes of adrenalin through human veins.
But the certainty is this: Kite Surfing is the most radical and extreme water sport possible that doesn't require a big combustion engine in a fibreglass non-displacement hull. It is a combination of windsurfing, surfing, and paragliding – what more could you ask for?
The sport involves standing on a wake board, which is designed shorter than a surfboard to make it highly manoeuvrable. The kite surfer holds onto a specially crafted bar which has 4 primary control lines all running up to a large 5-square metre kite. Think of it as controlling a small trick kite, only this is much larger and is capable of pulling you through, and over, the water at great speeds. By adjusting the angle of the kite in relation to the wind, kite surfers are able to propel themselves in many directions and with great haste.
In Tropical North Queensland, the popular Kite Surfing beach is Yorkeys Knob. On any day with more than 10 knots of breeze, the southern end of the beach will be lined with kite surfers trying to jump waves and dodge each other in the surf. Spectators are always amazed to watch the surfers in action.
To get to Yorkeys Knob, follow the Bruce Highway north from Cairns until you reach the Yorkeys Knob roundabout. Turn right here and follow the access road all the way to the beach. From there, you can't miss the fluorescent kites shooting across the beach.
People interested in learning how to Kite Surf should be warned that it takes many days, if not weeks of practice to grasp the basics. This is not an activity you can participate in just for afternoon leisure.
You need to know how to swim and how to survive in the water with equipment hanging from you. You need to master being body-dragged through the water while flying the kite above your head. And you need to master standing on a surfboard while holding onto a large kite.
Then there are gybes, tacks, jumps, recoveries etc. Sound easy? I didn't think so.
Having a background in sailing or wind physics is a great help when learning this sport.