Kitesurfing or flying board or aerotracted board is a sliding sport consisting of evolving with a board on the surface of a body of water by being towed by a kite (kite in English) specially adapted named wing or sail.

The kitesurfer clings to the wing by its pilot harness using a bar where the pull lines are connected. It is subject in its mode of travel to the physical laws of sailing.

The board can be inspired by wakeboarding, symmetrical, with no defined front or rear, or close to a small surf.

Kitesurfing (flysurf originally) was conceived by several inventors as early as the 1960s.

Following an experiment to improve sailing, the Quimperois brothers Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux filed the patent for the curved wing with an inflatable structure on November 16, 1984.

In 1992, Laurent Ness (French 1997 kite-tank champion) was towed by a delta kite on a funboard board at La Grande Motte. Bill and Cory Roeseler invented kiteski, a kite-towed water skiing, which they marketed in 1994.

The Legaignoux created the company Wipika in 1993 to market a small inflatable boat with a traction wing. They stopped him in 1995 but Emmanuel Bertin tested their sails in Maui with Laird Hamilton. In February 1997, he made the front page of Wind Magazine, a windsurfing magazine with 70,000 copies, on the waves of Hawaii. Raphael Salles used small funboard boards in 1998-1999 with the development of Laurent Ness, then Franz Olry advanced the twin-tip that democratized the use of sport.

The Legaignoux launched Wipika in June 1997 to market traction bars and wings produced by NeilPryde paraglider in France, manufacturing transferred in 1998 to Lam Sails, a paragliding manufacturer in China. A license was granted to Naish in 1999, NeilPryde in 2000 and Then Slingshot, Ricci and Bic with Takoon in 2003. Wing sales increased from 100 in 1997 to 500 in 1998, 2,000 in 1999, 6,000 in 2000, 15,000 in 2001, about 100,000 in 2010. There were 30 practitioners in 1996 but the number of students increased from 500 in 1998 to 4,000 in 2001. The first international championship was held in 2000 and the first French freestyle was held in 2001. There were 12,000 practitioners in France in 2010, 13,000 licensees in 2011 and between 25,000 and 30,000 kitesurfers in France.

In 1998, the French Free Flight Federation created the training of instructor: there are 258 in 2010 of which since 2003 – 155 having a BPJEPS, State Patent. In 2002, the French Sailing Federation considered the integration of kitesurfing, but the Ministry of Youth and Sports delegated the management of sport to the FFVL on 3 January 2003. In November 2001, the International Kiteboarding Organisation was established in 1999 by the Wipika School Network. During the development from 2000 to 2003, a few fatal accidents prompted the FFVL to establish a safety standard published by the Afnor in 2005: a bar dropper that neutralizes the wing and then a second sail dropr in extreme cases. The wings continued to improve from 2003 to 2009: in 2005, the bow wing allowed for more balanced traction. In 2008, Bruno Sroka was the first and only man to cross Cape Horn for a distance of 100 nautical miles (186 km). He sailed in extreme navigational conditions for 9 hours without stopping.

Comparable sports use traction kites with other vehicles: on the water with larger boats such as kayak canoes or catamarans, on snow with snowkite, on land with a mountainboard, with a small kite tank where you sit or with roller skates equipped with tyres. After being announced as a men’s and women’s regatta to replace windsurfing for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by the International Sailing Federation on May 5, 2017, kitesurfing has been abandoned in favour of RS:X windsurfing.

Surfing (short for English surf-riding, surfing meaning “surf” and to ride) is a sport that consists of sliding on waves, surface waves, at the edge of the ocean, standing on a board. Surfing is practiced on surf sites, called “spots”, surfing beaches that are bathed by more or less large waves.

The fans of this sport are surfers (or aquaplanchists).

Most experts and sources agree that surfing has its origins in Hawaii. A surf similar to that practiced today is described by European sources such as Captain James Cook, more than 300 years ago (1778: discovery of the Hawaiian Islands by James Cook).

The oldest known surfboard was discovered in 1905 in Ko’Okena, on the large island of Hawaii, inside a tomb. Archaeologists believe it was the burial of a “chief” named Kaneamuna, who ruled in the early 14th century. Made from the bottom of the bread tree, this board was found in perfect condition.

Surfing has long been an integral part of Hawaiian culture: the first accounts of this would be those of Samuel Wallis and the crew of the Dauphin, the first Europeans to set foot in Tahiti in 1767, or Joseph Banks, botanist on Board of Cook’s HMS Endeavour and arrived on the same island in 1769. Lieutenant James King will mention this by completing Cook’s memoirs after Cook’s death in 1779. In 1788, James Morrison, one of the mutineers of the Bounty, described in a similar way the practice of the herue in Tahiti.

When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866, he described “indigenous people of all genders and ages having fun with this national pastime of surfing.”

Longboards (or long boards) are modern descendants of the first boards that appeared and are descended from a long Hawaiian tradition. Shortboards (or short boards1) appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. Lighter, stronger and tapered at the nose, thinner, they are much more manageable and offer much more freedom to the surfer in his trajectory and the figures he can achieve.