Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Wind-Powered Adventure

I recently wrote an article tracing the origins of kiteboarding which mainly focused on the endeavors of brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux, accredited for having founded the sport in Hann's Bay Dakar, in 1983.

This enormously exciting watersport, best described as a hybrid of surfing, para-gliding and kite-flying, is said to be the natural evolution of windsurfing.

The idea of using wind and kites as a source of energy to create motion is believed to date back thousands of years to China, where the kites were originally made from silk and bamboo and were believed to have religious and sacred dimension.

Amazingly, the first recorded kite-powered journey took place in the 1820's, when English schoolteacher George Pocock invented the wind-powered carriage in protest of "horse tax," a form of taxation being levied at the time. Seeking an alternative to horsepower, he patented the first four line controllable kite system and in doing so proved the principles of kite traction, the very same principles on which kiteboarding operates today.

The above picture is of Gavin (Spowy) Spowart, a world tour pro, and owner of Cyclone Extreme Products. Very well respected in South African Kiteboarding circles, Gavin has branches in Cape Town and Durban and supplies a full range of world class products, as well as providing training, for beginners to the advanced.

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