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Kiteboarding is primarily a recreational sport, with no standardized rules or governing body. An upwind rider must keep their kite high to avoid crossing lines with downwind kiters. A downwind rider must, in return, keep their lines low. Kiters must also have a clearance of at least 50-meters downwind and 30-meters upwind to avoid the same problem. Riders must also observe local rules which regulate distance from shore and from swimmers.
Kite Surfing is an individual sport where participants use a large kite to propel a small surfboard over the surface of water. Kite surfing is the sport of using a kite to surf across the surface of water. The maneuverability of the kite allows for riders to perform a wide variety of jumps and tricks while on the board. Understanding wind direction and current allows for riders to better negotiate constantly changing conditions. Though a dangerous sport, level of safety greatly increases with proper instruction and training.
The use of kites for propulsion purposes dates back to 13th century China. In 1903, aviation pioneer Samuel Cody made headlines by crossing the English Channel in a small boat powered by a kite. Kite surfing as it's known today began in the 1970's and 1980's, with the development of controllable kites and flying lines. In 1984 an inflatable kite design was patented in France, which led directly to the creation of lighter and more maneuverable kites. In 1994 the KiteSki, the first commercial kite surfing system, was introduced. In 1997 the first specialized kiteboard was introduced. In 1998 the first kiteboarding competition was held, in Maui. Today, kiteboarding is a global sport with participation in several different countries.