Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Windy Watersports

By Kayla Meyertons

With never-ending summer heat, adventurous Texans have found new, fun ways to cool off in the water using wind power in two “extreme” sports: windsurfing and kiteboarding. No doubt you’ve seen them at the beach or the lake — those daring souls who attach colorful sails and kites to boards so they can skim across the water and even soar above it.

In windsurfing (also called sailboarding), there is a sail attached to your board so you can glide across the waves like a sailboat. Take the challenge of surfing, add a lot of power and speed, and hang on so you don’t wipe out.

In kiteboarding, your feet are attached to the board (like a snowboard), and the sail is attached to your body by a harness. When kiteboarding, the wind can lift you many feet into the air. “Kiteboarding” is more widely used in the U.S., while the term “kitesurfing” is used commonly outside the U.S.

With so many lakes and a perfect stretch of surfing coastline from Galveston to South Padre Island, Texas has lots of places to take lessons and practice. Add a wetsuit and you can play all year long.


Difficulty Factor

  • Windsurfing can be somewhat difficult to learn. Both balance and core stability are needed to remain standing on the surf-styled board as it is propelled through the water by the wind. Mastery can take a while.
  • Basic kiteboarding doesn’t require a lot of physical strength. The harness takes most of the weight, and most riders of all ages can pick up the sport in a few lessons. The hardest part is controlling the kite as the wind propels you forward, but technological advances (including multiple safety releases and nearly instant water relaunch) have drastically reduced the learning curve.
  • Where to Go

    Coastal, either sport
    • South Padre Island
    • Galveston
    • Corpus Christi
    • Port Aransas
    • Texas City

    Inland windsurfing
    • Bob Wentz Windy Point Park, Lake Travis
    • Canyon Lake
    • Lake Buchanan

    Inland kiteboarding
    • Houston Kiteboarding Center
    • Austin Third Coast Kitesurfing

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