Kitesurfing vocabulary. Upwind, downwind, onshore wind, offshore wind… I think we know all of those terms. Yet there are so many words in our kitesurf-world that are not clear to some of us. You don’t need to know all of them to be a good or maybe even great kitesurfer, but sometimes they can make conversations a lot easier. I’ve noticed that some meanings are very vague and not always clear to the users (including me). Let’s clear that up with a Kitesurfing Vocabulary For Dummies.

Today you’ll read about riding styles. Like the word says: different styles of riding. A kiteboarder can prefer multiple riding styles and even perform multiples in one session. Knowing which style(s) you prefer the most or want to learn can help you decide which kind of kite, board or bar to buy. Some riding styles are also used to name contest divisions, where a rider is mostly bound to just one style and most of the times also to particular equipment during that contest. Examples of these contests are Strapless Freestyle or Hydrofoil Race.

PS: Klick on the pictures and check out the Insta’s of these amazing kiters!

Linda is showing some Wakestyle here
Jeroen is showing some Airstyle here
Ruben is showing some Freeride here

FREERIDE: A style that is not focused on landing tricks or jumps but on controlled riding. If you’re sightseeing while kitesurfing, or cruising around, you’re freeriding.

FREESTYLE: A style where you’re hooked and use the kite to create lift. Height and hangtime can be crucial to perform some of these tricks. Examples of freestyle-tricks are backrolls and kiteloops.

AIRSTYLE / FREESTYLE “OLD-SCHOOL”: A part of freestyle where the riders preform high jumps with rotations, one-footers, board offs, board flips, grabs or a combination of these things. The jumps are focused on hangtime, so the rider has enough time to perform his trick.

BIG AIR: A part of freestyle where the rider performs jumps with the goal to get as high as possible. In competition the big air division is getting as high as possible in the most fancy or extreme way by adding Airstyle, a kiteloop or even an unhooked trick.

WAKESTYLE: The big difference with freestyle is you’re not creating lift and are not hooked but unhooked. Instead of steering your kite in to jump, you keep your kite low and use the tension of the lines to pull you out of the water, like wakeboarders do. Some people refer to this style as FREESTYLE “NEW-SCHOOL”.

PARKSTYLE: Using sliders, kickers, rails, etc. just like a wakeboarder in a wakeboard park… Except it’s done with a kite instead of cable. Most of the times riders chose to be unhooked as it gives them the opportunity to pass the bar around them.

WAVE RIDING / SURF: Surfing waves like wave surfers but with a kite.

RACE: Being as fast as possible or the fastest one of the group.