Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing: Which One is the Right for You?

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Extreme sports have continued to grow in popularity and are expanding into new exciting avenues.

However, there is some rivalry when it comes to certain sports, such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. Each sports enthusiast, as with most sports, clearly thinks their sport is the best.

But that may not help newbies to any sport. So which is the best for you?

Well, that depends on a lot of things. That is why we thought we would really examine each sport and break down the components so that you can feel confident in deciding who is the winner and help you determine the answer to windsurfing vs kitesurfing: which one is the right for you?


This sport is also sometimes referred to as sailboarding. This is an extreme sport with the rider riding on a surfboard affixed with a sail. The board is powered by the wind and intended to glide effortlessly across the waves.

The windsurfer maneuvers the board by holding onto a bar attached to the sail and moving the sail to collect the wind.

Learning How

When it comes to ease of learning, windsurfing is the winner. Typically a new rider will only need a couple of hours of instruction on flat water to get the hang of the basics.

Once that is done, another couple of hours on the waves and the windsurfer will be able to get in and out of the water easily as well as maneuver confidently over the waves.

See: How to windsurf.


Windsurfing gear is a little awkward to transport. You have the board and the sail. Plus, the set up can weigh quite a bit, with some coming in at close to 70 lbs.


Both sports cost roughly the same to get into. However, the value does differ a bit. Windsurfing equipment is a touch more durable than kitesurfing, lasting for upwards of five years if taken care of. It is also easier to evaluate windsurfing equipment for its condition.

Physical Challenge

When it comes to how much physical exertion it takes, windsurfing far surpasses kitesurfing.

Not only will you be engaging your legs in a half squat position for hours, but you will be using your arms to angle the sail. So windsurfing is good to start with and if you have the endurance to stand up to the rigorous activity.


Windsurfing has fewer accidents than kitesurfing. Where a kitesurfing accident can affect many people, a windsurfing accident will only affect the rider and potentially anyone downwind of them within 15 feet.

Some injuries that windsurfers suffer include sprained ankles, cracked ribs, and broken legs. However, these injuries are not very common. So in this category, windsurfing is the safest of the two.


Kiteboarding is another name for this sport. Kitesurfing uses a surfboard as well, but instead of a sail attached to it, the rider holds onto a bar that is attached to a kite.

This fabric at the end of the strings (otherwise known as lines) is attached to the rider via a harness. The wind pulls the rider along who then guides the sail with the handle. As with a parachute, any updraft can pull the rider through the water.

Learning How

Kitesurfing takes a little time to get the hang of. The first hurdle is learning how to handle the launching and maneuvering of the kite. This could take several hours, and you won’t even have touched the water yet.

Then comes the body dragging. This is the process by which you get pulled through the water to the board.

Just to have the basic knowledge of how to do this safely and accurately can take a full eight-hour shift, if not more. Then you have to learn to work the lines. There is a steeper learning curve when it comes to this sport for sure.


In this category, kitesurfing wins. Sure, you have the board just like your do with the windsurfing setup, but instead of a bulky sail, you have a kite. The kite folds down neatly, and most come with a carry bag to store it in. It is also lighter!


As we said above, the cost is pretty equivalent, coming in at around $1000 unless you are looking at a used kit. The durability of a kitesurfing kit is where the cost and value of this sport really hits you.

Most kites and lines can last up to three years. It is also not advisable to buy a used kite kit, whereas it is perfectly acceptable to buy a used windsurfing setup.

Physical Challenge

Kitesurfing does require some exertion, but it is no way as much as windsurfing. You will be using your legs as well as your core, but your arms will be less engaged. That makes this a good entry extreme water sport.


Kitesurfing, as we said, is by far the least safe of the two. If a kitesurfer has a problem in the air, they can impact a wider range. There is also the fact that more inexperienced people try kitesurfing over windsurfing, and this leads to more accidents.

Final Thoughts

If you are in shape and are looking for a long term hobby, windsurfing is a good choice. You will be giving your whole body a work out while taking in the beautiful ocean sights. It is harder to transport the gear, so if you own a small vehicle, windsurfing may not be for you.

On the other hand, kitesurfing may be perfect for those with a smaller vehicle. It is also great for those that are in shape but maybe not at peak performance.

It is dangerous, so it is advised that you take the time to learn the basic skills. That means if you don’t have a lot of time, this sport may be a bad option.

Both sorts are incredibly fun and offer the participant a little bit of an adrenaline hit, but the decision of which one is the right one is really up to you.

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