Watch closely! Kitesurfing, the fastest sport of the Summer Olympics, set to debut at Paris Games

Kitesurfing makes its Olympic debut at the Paris Games, thrilling athletes with its high speeds and unique experience of riding a surfboard harnessed to a parachute-like sail above and a hydrofoil below. American athlete Daniela Moroz, a six-time world champion in the sport, describes the feeling of flying silently across the water at speeds up to 80 kilometers per hour. With the wind and waves muted, kitesurfers must rely on instinct and quick decision-making to navigate the course in less than 15 minutes of intense racing.

French athlete Lauriane Nolot, the current world champion, is aiming for gold at the Olympic Games in Marseille, her home waters known for their fierce Mistral wind. Control of the hydrofoil is crucial in kitesurfing, allowing athletes to glide above the water surface and navigate with agility. Singapore’s Max Maeder, the reigning men’s world champion, compares the feeling of riding a hydrofoil to adding a steering wheel to a car, opening up new possibilities and increasing speed. Protective gear is essential for professional kiters, who must wear helmets, goggles, reinforced wetsuits, and impact vests to stay safe during high-speed racing.

Kitesurfing is a fast-growing sport with approximately 3.5 million participants globally, and the 2024 Games will showcase the top 40 professionals in four races a day. These athletes rely on their physical strength and tactical skills to harness the wind and achieve speeds comparable to multimillion-dollar boats in elite sailing races. Bringing kitesurfing to the Olympic stage is a personal achievement for athletes like Moroz, Nolot, and Maeder, who have roots in the sport that go back to their family histories. Their passion for kitesurfing and the thrill of competing in the Olympics is driving them to pursue gold in Marseille.

The pioneers of kitesurfing hope that its Olympic debut will attract more young athletes to the sport, similar to the impact windsurfing had after its introduction at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Mirco Babini, president of the International Kiteboarding Association, believes that showcasing kitesurfing on the world stage will bring attention to this unique form of sailing and inspire future generations of athletes. As the athletes prepare to compete in the fast-paced and high-stakes races in Marseille, they are eager to share the excitement and adrenaline of kitesurfing with spectators around the globe.

Overall, kitesurfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games opens up a new realm of possibilities for sailing sports, combining athleticism, strategy, and speed in a thrilling competition. Athletes like Moroz, Nolot, and Maeder are looking forward to showcasing their skills and passion for kitesurfing on the world stage, while also honoring the traditions and history of the sport. With the support of their families and fans, these athletes are determined to make a mark in kitesurfing history at the 2024 Paris Games.