Windsurfing VS Kitesurfing: Comparison Guide


Most people who are new to windsurfing and kitesurfing may have a hard time spotting the differences between these two wind-powered sports. For experienced riders and professionals, there are a few key differences between the two sports, which have fueled the debate on kitesurfing vs windsurfing, which sport is better? 

In our article, we will highlight the main differences between windsurfing and kitesurfing to help you differentiate between the two sport’s similarities. Not only will this give you an answer to all your burning questions, but it is guaranteed to help you find the perfect beach day adventure. 


Sometimes called sailboarding, windsurfing is an extreme sport where you ride a surfboard that is attached to a sail. Riders must then use the power of the wind to sail across the water and catch waves. The biggest difference when comparing windsurfing vs kitesurfing is that the rider is not attached to the board or sail. 


Also known as kiteboarding, kitesurfing is another extreme sport where you attach a surfboard to your feet. You are then harnessed into a kite, which is very similar in appearance to a parachute. The kite helps you use the wind to catch waves, but also jump in the air. Unlike windsurfing, you are strapped into and attached to both your surfboard and sail. 

A Guide to the Similarities and Differences of Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

1. Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing – Learning Curve

Both windsurfing and kitesurfing may seem like difficult sports to learn, but you’ll be surprised to know that the learning curve between the two sports is vastly different. While it may be unexpected, windsurfing has a faster learning curve than kitesurfing. 

With windsurfing, because your board is securely attached to a sail, it is easier for riders to learn how to balance the board and use the sail to glide across the water. With clear instructions and flat-water conditions, beginner windsurfers should be able to cruise back and forth across the water without assistance after four or five hours of practice. 

However, kitesurfing has a much harder learning curve because it takes time and plenty of practice to learn how to use and control your board and sail. Unlike windsurfing, you will use a harness to clip into your sail and straps to attach your board to your feet. Without a heavy sail to balance your board, riders will have to learn how to balance themselves, while maintaining control of their sail. 

Most beginner kitesurfers will have trouble even standing up in the water and if you are new to the sport entirely, you should expect to spend quite a bit of time being dragged through the water, rather than sliding across the surface. Most professional kitesurfers estimate that it can take more than 9 hours to learn the basics of the sport. 

2. Kitesurfing vs Windsurfing – Cost of Equipment

One of the most similar aspects of the two sports is the cost of equipment. For both windsurfing and kitesurfing, brand new gear can be purchased on a budget of about $1,000 or cost up to $3,000 for high-quality equipment. You may also be able to find used equipment for a lower cost. However, it is not recommended to buy a used kitesurfing sail due to safety concerns. 

Even if you buy brand new gear, you will find that windsurfing gear will always last longer than kitesurfing gear. The reason for this is because of the sail used for kitesurfing. Since the sail is very similar to a parachute, the lines of your kitesurfing sail will need to be replaced about every 3 years. However, the sails used for windsurfing are attached to a sturdy frame and your board, which means that they will normally last up to 5 years before needing to be repaired or replaced. 

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3. Windsurfing vs Kitesurfing – Fitness Level

When you compare kitesurfing vs windsurfing and the fitness level required for each sport, riders often say that windsurfing is the more physically challenging sport out of the two. The reason for this is because it takes a lot of muscle to control the heavy sail and board as you glide across the water. 

The correct riding position when windsurfing also puts you further out from your board and at an angle. This forces your leg muscles to do a lot of hard work. Controlling the sail also requires a lot of upper body strength. 

4. Kitesurfing vs Windsurfing – Safety

Finally, the last big question that people have is how safe is it to windsurf or kitesurf? Both sports are considered to be extreme, but when it comes to safety, windsurfing tends to have fewer and less severe accidents than kitesurfing. The reason is that you are less likely to be lifted far up into the air when windsurfing. 

Kitesurfers who are inexperienced will often panic when they are lifted out of the air and if it is too windy, they can be easily carried great distances. This leads to more accidents and leaves kitesurfers more prone to collisions with other people in the water. 

Whether you are windsurfing or kitesurfing, it is important to take a beginner’s course to ensure that you know how to use your equipment and what to do in cases of emergencies or accidents. 



Q: Is windsurfing or kitesurfing easier?


Most experts state that windsurfing is an easier sport to learn than kitesurfing. This is because riders are not attached to their board or sail-like kitesurfers and it is easier to learn how to control and maneuver your equipment. Kitesurfing is more difficult and even balancing on the board can take hours of practice.

Q: What is the difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing?


The biggest difference between windsurfing and kitesurfing is that windsurfers are not attached to their board or sail, but kitesurfers are attached using a harness and straps. It is easier to not be attached to your gear, which is why windsurfing has a faster learning curve than kitesurfing.

Globo Surf Overview

While both sports are exhilarating, there are a few differences between windsurfing vs kitesurfing which can help you determine which activity is right for you. If you want to have a fun day on the water and learn a sport quickly, windsurfing is the best choice for you. However, if you have the patience to learn new skills, kitesurfing can be very rewarding.

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