Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an extreme sport where the kiter uses the wind power with a large power kite to be pulled on a water, land or snow surface. It combines aspects of paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Kiteboarding is among the less expensive and the more convenient of the sailing sports.
After some concepts emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, some designs were successfully tested, the sport received a wider audience in the late 1990s and became mainstream at the turn of the century. It has freestyle, wave-riding and racing competitions. The sport held the speed sailing record, reaching 55.65 kn (103.06 km/h) before being eclipsed by the 65.45 kn (121.21 km/h) Vestas Sailrocket. Worldwide, there are 1.5 million kitesurfers, while the industry sells around 100,000 to 150,000 kites per year.
Most power kites are leading edge inflatable kites, sometimes foil kites, they are attached by around 20 m (66 ft) flying lines to a control bar and a harness. The kitesurfer rides on a bidirectional board (a "twin-tip", similar to a wakeboard) or a directional surfboard, sometimes on a foilboard. They often wear a wetsuit in mild to cold waters. Safety was sensitive in the beginning, with injuries and some fatalities, but has improved with better equipment and instruction.