[an error occurred while processing this directive] Never heard of kite-boarding? Don't worry 20 years ago, people said the same thing about snowboarding. But 150 kiteboard riders and thousands of spectators descended in June on the town of Cabarete on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic to participate in the Bestkiteboarding.com Cabarete World Cup 2004. It's one of the most popular events on the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association World Cup Tour.
Yep, there's a kiteboarding circuit now. The pastime in which riders on small boards are propelled by large kites in order to glide over or jump atop bodies of water (and sometimes on sand, grass or snow) is the extreme sport of the moment. "Four years ago, kiteboarding was just for a few determined and durable extreme athletes," says Trip Forman, co-owner of Real Kiteboarding, a kiteboarding school in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. "But now there's good, inexpensive gear, and people can take classes from certified pros."
Next stop on the tour is the Freestyle and Wave Event at Matosinhos, Portugal, this week. "It's a growing sport, combining wind and sea, that is dramatically developing as the number of kiteboarders is increasing everywhere," says Frédéric Gravoille, the organizer of the tour, who is based in Paris. "It can be as extreme or relaxing as you want, in dream destinations all around the world."