Who Invented Kiteboarding?

July 19, 2022 3 min read

Who Invented Kiteboarding? Many people claim the honor, but who is really responsible? The early pioneers risked their lives on experimental gear and the sport is often credited to Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux, Ian Day, and Dieter Strasilla. Others claim credit for bringing the sport to Hawaii and giving it legitimacy. Regardless of the truth, there are many influential individuals behind kiteboarding.

George Pocock

In the 1800s, school teacher and inventor George Pocock developed a kite. These early designs featured four lines and were engineered to propel carts and ships. Pocock also used them to test the pulling power of a kite by attaching small stones to them. The kites' unique designs helped Pocock win boat races and Samuel Cody even kite-sailed across the English Channel. It was the first sport to have its roots in the English countryside.

George Pocock was born in Hungerford, Berkshire, and eventually moved to Bristol. He began experimenting with kites in order to pull loads. By the mid-1820s, he had established that the kites could pull considerable weight. He eventually married Martha, a cricketer who would later become W.G. Pocock. While in Bristol, George Pocock also studied wind power to help pull carts.

Samuel Cody

The sport of kiteboarding is the result of an experiment by British Army officer Samuel Cody. During World War I, Cody became a kite-making instructor, and later served as a chief of the Farnborough Balloon School. He also became a member of the Royal Engineers and created two kite sections. In 1908, he was hired by the British Army as the Chief Instructor of Kites, and was tasked with creating two new kite-making squadrons, the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers and the Royal Air Force.

Despite this early success, the Royal Navy only remained interested in kites for a short time. Improvements in gun control methods, wireless communication and aircraft production made the military no longer able to use kites for long. However, the Army did use the new sport, and Cody was later awarded the Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society for his work. While the military had little interest in kiteboarding, its success with the Army is testament to Cody's hard work.

Airforce Kitesurfing

The Richmond Aerofliers Kite Club was established in 1986. With a large kite inventory, members are well trained in a variety of kite activities, including competitive flying. RAF members have participated in demonstrations for the local government, as well as being associated with the American Kitefliers Association. RAF members also compete in the Eastern League Sport Kite Association. Many RAF members have won National Championships, and have flown in competitions around the world, including Europe, South America, and the Caribbean Islands.

The RAF will be competing in the Combined Services Festival of Kiteboarding, which takes place in Hayling Island from 19 to 23 October 2015. Each Service will enter a team in a twin tip race and an inter-services freestyle competition. The RAF is aiming to retain its position as number one in both competitions, while also helping new and intermediate riders develop their skills under the pressure of competitive riding.


In the early 80s, a group of individuals called the Roeselers in France began developing the sport. The brothers, Bruno and Dominique, had been interested in water sports since they were young, and had even won the French Junior Dingy Sailing Championship. Using kites to sail across the water was a natural progression for them, and their invention became a sensation. Today, many people enjoy the sport, and many people are experimenting with new types of kites and foils.

Bill Roeseler's design of a delta style kite was the first one to be commercially available. The kite was powered by a winch mounted on the bar. Bill and Cory Roeseler then developed a patent-protected kite sports kit that included a board and a reel bar. In Maui, the prototypes caught the attention of action-sports enthusiasts. Other early kiteboard inventors, such as Joe Koehl, Rob Naish, Laid Hamilton, and Emmanuel Bertin, continued to refine and improve the sport.

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