When the wind picks up along Dallas Beach in Victoria, it’s a kite, sail and chute-appalooza.
and windsurfers taking to the water…
…and paragliders taking to the air.
Before coming to Victoria, I hadn’t seen paragliding. I thought: “Hey, they’re kite-hanging.”
By any name, it’s a very cool view.
The pilot sits in a harness below a hollow fabric wing,
a form of parachute.
A paraglider’s journey starts with a grand unfurling…
…and a short leap off a low fence.
And the sky’s the limit.
Windsurfing had it’s start in 1958 with the invention of the first sailboard by England’s 12 year-old Peter Chivers.
The sport took off in 1968 with the first commercial design of a windsurfing board and sail.
But when the wind is high, it’s kitesurfers that take over Dallas Beach.
Kitesurfing’s roots go back to the 1800s when English school teacher and inventor, George Pocock used kites of increasing size to propel carts on land and ships at sea. (Wind and kitesurfing both have British roots, how appropriate for Victoria.)
Pocock’s “four-line control system” is still in use today.
New designs saw kites advance to powering water skies, and ultimately…surf boards.
Kiteboarding has overtaken windsurfing in popularity, and will replace the sport in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Once kitesurfers enter the water, they are prepared to fly…
…at speeds up to 50 knots.
And not always in a linear mode.
Beam me up Scotty!
A walk in the wind along Dallas Beach, brings you bursts of color and soaring, speeding athletes.