In the first of our ‘Stoke Wars’ articles we look at surfing vs kitesurfing to decide which is best. For a fair comparison we bought in an instructor (who’d like to remain anonymous) of both sports.
Action sports are all about getting your stoke on. Unfamiliar with the term “stoke”? It means to become feverishly excited, to the point of dropping responsibilities, in order to get your fix.
In my experience, the stoke caused by action sports rivals the high of any drug (Okay so I haven’t tried them all…). It’s addictive and can be all consuming. If you’re into any action sport, you will understand what I’m talking about.
If you can’t escape the prison, you’ll jump online and torture yourself by watching people ride on the live beach webcam. You become entrenched in jealousy and strangely agitated.
Doesn’t anyone understand that the surf is pumping and/or the wind is blowing? Why don’t these people care? Same could be said of a skier or snowboarder on a powder day, a kayaker when the river is in full flow, and, well I think you get the picture!
Surfing vs kitesurfing
I often get asked: Surfing vs kitesurfing which is best? Without thinking, I answer, “You have to do them both.” Allow me to explain:
For most people, the biggest problem with ocean sports is not getting on the water often enough. With limited time off, one has to hope that conditions are suitable for weekend surfing or kitesurfing trips.
Unfortunately, the wind does not always blow and waves come and go. So, sometimes your day off is better-spent cycling, playing golf or going to the pub. ‘Sports’ that will always be there for you.
In contrast surfing and kitesurfing are fleeting. They tease you and taunt you. How many times has a dedicated ocean person sat on the beach waiting for the surf to improve, or for the wind to blow? Far too often.
Maintaining the stoke
See, in order to maintain your stoke you need to stay consistently connected to the ocean. It’s all about maximizing your options to take advantage of a variety of conditions.
So, when it’s very windy, do some monster airs on your twin tip kiteboard. When the wind is blowing, but its light, kite on your surfboard or a race board. If the surf is solid, it’s shortboard time. And when the surf is tiny and wind is non-existent, it’s time to SUP (stand up paddleboard).
It is for this very reason that sports such as SUP have become so popular. They enable people to take advantage of previously unfavorable conditions. It’s all about maximizing your stoke in whatever conditions the ocean is offering you at any given time.
So which is best?
A true waterman does a variety of water sports: Kitesurfing, surfing, diving, spear fishing, swimming, paddling, free diving, fishing, sailing… And the list goes on.
So, when it comes down to deciding surfing vs kitesurfing which is best, it’s clear that you ought to be able to do both. The more sports that you do, the greater your chances are of enjoying your precious free time in the ocean.
No one likes a one trick pony. Humble yourself and learn something new. Remember the stoke of the early days? You’ll get that taking up a new sport.
Surfing vs kitesurfing my favourite
That said everyone has a favourite. Mine is kitesurfing, purely because the time on the board is all fun – there is no paddling out and trying to catch a wave. It is strap in and enjoy and the reward compared to effort is huge.
Having said that the thrill of surfing can’t be beaten. You’ve put in the effort to catch the perfect wave and had the ride of your life. The reward, though short, is that much sweeter because of the effort and its fleeting nature…
So to conclude the first stoke wars they are both the best for different reasons. Personally my most stoked moments have been surfing, but my most consistent stoke comes from kitesurfing.