Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kitesurfing, strength and being a girl

I met a female colleague yesterday and she asked me about my hobbies.  When I told her about kitesurfing she said "Oh, I would like to do that, it looks cool, but I don't have enough upper body strength".
I can't tell you how many times I have heard this before from females who think they can't kite.
I am therefore debunking a common myth - you do not need to be strong to be a kitesurfer.
I recommend that you know how to swim, but I would suggest that for anybody doing water sports, however you don't need to be strong.
Some of the best (and most fun) kiters I know are over 60, mainly because they are retired and have the time to get out and kite when the rest of us are working.
The kite is attached to a harness which you wear around your waist or hips, the majority of the pull comes from here.  Your arms are used to steer a bar which controls which way the kite flies, but you do not need any strength to do this at all.  Its a bit like driving a car, the car is heavy, the wheels are heavy, but you can easily turn the steering wheel - well the bar on a kite is like turning a steering wheel, after a while you don't even realise you are turning it.
So if you would like to kitesurf but are worried that you are not strong enough - think again. 
You don't need physical strength to kite, you just need a strong passion and the willingness to get out there and try it!

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