Mountainboarding on sand takes many forms and shapes, some of which are particularly creative. If you think you can’t practice windsurfing on land, think again – sand kitesurfing (a.k.a. sand kiting) is a thing and it’s here to stay.
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What is sand kiting
Sand kiting is to kitesurfing what sandboarding is to snowboarding. It was a matter of time before extreme sports enthusiasts would attempt to harness the power of wind to surf on sand dunes using a power kite. Sand kiteboarding can be practiced by attaching a really long and wide deck to a landboard (i.e. an all-terrain mountain board) or a kite buggy (also called a parakart). The practice of kiteboarding on land is also called landboarding, with sand kiting being a subniche of landboarding practiced specifically on sand terrains. Confused? Yet another variant of sand kiting involves the use of sand skis instead of a mountainboard, and takes the name of sandkite skiing. And wait until I tell you about volcanoboarding…
Where can you practice sand kitesurfing
There are no specific sites dedicated to sand kiting, and it’s the boarder responsibility to assess whether a location is suitable for practicing this sport. The “SHOE” rule of landboarding applies:
- Surface – Is the terrain suitable for landboarding? Hard sand is a great surface to landboard on.
- Hazards – Are you in a big open space away from downwind hazards?
- Other People – Are you on a quiet beach or field? Give other beach users space and keep them safe.
- Environment – How windy is it? How does the tide affect you? Are you using the correct equipment?
Landboarding on sand is commonly practiced in parks, sports fields, hard-packed sandy beaches and dry lake beds.
Kite surfing tricks on sand
Ramp jumping, air flips, spinning, sliding and mid-air rotations are all possible sand kiting stunts you can perform. Virtually any trick you can perform on water, you can perform on land with your sandkite, although it won’t be as easy.
- ramp jumping;
- air rotations, such as 180 or 360 degrees;
- forward and backward flips;
- grabbing the board’s front or back when in the air;
- ‘Board off’ movements include tossing or flipping the board in the air without the rider’s feet touching it;
- Sliding, doing ‘wheelies,’ or riding away from the kite
Sand kiteboarding equipment
A mountain board or kite buggy is generally used for kiteboarding on sand, with the kite making use of the power of wind to stretch the athlete through a series of strings while riding on sand. Other necessary gear involves elbow and knee pads, helmets, and goggles – depending on location, one may be more important than the other.
As far as boards go, an all-terrain mountainboard works best. Make sure it’s got bindings and is not too heavy, the MBS Core 94 is possibly the best performer currently on the market. You can modify any lightweight mountainboard to have bigger and even lighter wheels in order to ride more smoothly on soft sand.
The best type of kite for kitesurfing on sand are depowerable ram-air foil kites, like the Ocean Rodeo Flite Kitesurfing Kite. A depower kite allows you to tie a depower control bar to the kite and change the power while riding it. To increase power, pull the bar towards your body; to increase your flying pace, pull it further away from you.
This is a pricey kite but you won’t find anything else like it performance-wise. It’s extremely lightweight and rides well on light wind conditions. The bridle system allows you to turn this into a depower kite by attaching a control bar . If you are a real kiting enthusiast it is well worth the money!
Kite Landboarding Competitions
Intrigued? Have a look at the following Kiteboarding Race (“Rally dos Ventos”) organized by RedBull across the Brazilian Desert in 2014, and let us know your experiences and opinions about this emerging sport.