OTwo Attempts: Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing is the next step in adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports. The basic idea is to strap a small rectangular board to a person’s feet, give them an absolutely massive inflatable kite and then send them into the sea and let the wind make things interesting.Take surfing, windsurfing and wakeboarding, mix them all together then add in forty-foot jumps and triple backflips and you begin to get the idea of this madness. So after being told to go hard or go home via emailfrom the society, Otwo found its way to Dollymount strand, went hard and subsequently went home in order to write this article.About fifteen of us congregated on the strand at eleven o’clock on a blustery Saturday. There is no concrete way of deciding when a session is going to happen due to a heavy reliance on the fickle wind, this though,  as a perfect day.A gentle breeze was blowing steadily and without gusts, great for beginners to get the hang of the kites. Everyone started off with a one-metre stunt kite and gradually throughout the day people began to progress to larger more powerful beasts.By the end of the session, thanks to the friendly and patient instructers, some of us were harnessed into a big ninemeter monster and were even riding a land board.The learning curve is steep and the more experienced surfers say that every time they fly a kite they learn something new, so with a little bit of dedication, anyone could be very competant in a few months.The club has come a long way in the three years since its establishment. With efforts from both last yearscaptain, Justen, and his successer, Oggie, the club has now got a fine quiver of kites and boards.The only major expense in joining this sport is the need for at least one professional lesson which can end up costing around about €140. However, luckily, the kitesurfing club will heavily subsidise this fee for its members.Kitesurfing in the way that we know it today has only been around since 1994, it’s still really just taking off (pun intended).From meagre beginnings as a sort of novelty spinoff from windsurfing there is now roughly 200,000 kitesurfers in the world, a number which is steadily rising.Kitesurfing is the most popular mutation of the semi-airborne sports, but there are numerous variationswhich are equally exciting. As mentioned before, on land, a sort of skateboard with big rubber tyres and footstraps can be used to a similar effect, or team the kite up with a snowboard for mountain surfing andthere are even ideas for huge ships to be partially powered by massive kites.If you happen to be a surfer tired of waiting for the elusive and underwhelming east coast wave, awakeborder who can’t afford the fuel for the boat or just someone with a sense of adventure and taste for the extreme, this is the sport for you.We have got world-class beaches and conditions for the sport right here in Dublin and a club that will do everything it can to get you ripping in no time.Kris Goodbody