A couple guys in wetsuits were out in the surf kitesurfing on a late afternoon off the Seaside Park beach. The surf was rough and just the day before two swimmers had drowned in the vicinity. I spoke with one as he was packing up his kite for the day.
15 knots of wind or more make for good surfing he said, so it was nice out there. They will go out in winds up to 40 knots. When the winds are stronger they use smaller sized kites. The key to staying afloat is keeping the kite powered up all the time in the power zone, an area of the sky, usually downwind, that has a lot of well, power in it. You have to be able to maneuver the kite in two directions because you need to bring yourself back in. The kite gets inflated with air so if it lands in the water, it doesn’t sink. They use surfboards, sometimes, but today were using “twin tips” which can go in either direction. That way you can go right back out after coming in without having to make a turn.
The sportsmen showed great skill tacking back and forth and jumping waves. Sometimes they’d approach a wave at an angle that would launch them in the air for several seconds, sailing aloft at what appeared to be 10 to 20 feet above the surface before coming back down. Seaside Park, Island Beach, New Jersey. Watch video and interview here