Pretty Fly for a Kite Guy

If you look out across Britannia Beach on a windy day you will likely see a parachute-like kite dragging the blurry form of Peter Dekker across the water or snow. With an effortless leap, kiters like Dekker ride the wind and can jump to heights of over nine metres.

What is it?

Kiters harness themselves to a large kite, known as a powerkite, which pulls them around their environment. Powerkites are commonly used to pull people on boards, buggies, roller skates and boats. In the winter, this wind sport is known as snowkiting. Snowkiting is a wind propelled sport that combines years of technological experiments and innovations perfected in other sports. It’s is an ideal winter sport and even easier to learn than kiteboarding in the water during the summer, says Ottawa snowkiter, Dekker. “You’re already standing there on your skis or snowboard just waiting for the wind to pull you,” he says.

How do you do it?

To snowkite you need a snowboard or pair of skis, winter and safety gear, a harness, a kite – and a lust for adrenaline. Like other action sports you can choose from a plethora of gear. Sophie Benavent of Atlantic Winds Adventure writes, “Kites come in various sizes ranging from 1.5 sq. meters to 21 sq. meters.

“The average setup of a harness and a kite big enough for the snow is going to cost about $500 to $700,” says Dekker. “Relative to other sports it is not the most expensive.”

Knowing how to read the wind and control a kite in every wind condition is paramount to snowkiting success. Snowkiting is dangerous if you don’t know how to depower and re-launch a kite. “You need a big open space to kite,” says Dekker. “The bigger and more open the better. Try to avoid spaces with lots of trees, rocks and other obstacles.”

Why should I go kiting?

There is a wealth of snowkiting resources for beginners and a bustling snowkiting community online. “The first step is to get really excited about kiting,” says Dekker. “Go online, do your research because it can be frustrating at first.”

So if you’re looking for an exhilarating experience this winter, go out and kite.


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