The use of kites to propel an object across land or water was first pioneered as early as the 1800s. This was mainly as alternatives were being looked at as a result of some countries issued a tax on transportation by means of horses. Various successes were achieved, including a crossing of the English Channel in a kite-powered small canvas boat. It was in 1977 that the first patent for Kitesurfing was established. The patent covered a person standing on a floating board that could also resemble a surfboard, while being powered by a type of parachute attached to a harness around the waist.
It was in 1999 that kitesurfing became a mainstream sport with windsurfing and surfing playing a major part in the design of the kiteboard to a single directional board. In 2001 a new style of board was designed that suited flat water riders more. It had a tip on either end making it bi-directional. In 2012 kitesurfing replaced windsurfing as an Olympic Sport that related specifically to the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the decision was overturned after a vote by the General Assembly of ISAF. The sport was included in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics held in Buenos Aires and it would appear to be only a matter of time before it is included as an official Olympic Sport.
The Global Kitesports Association (GKA) has its registered address in Hamburg, Germany. GKA works alongside manufacturers to constantly improve technology for the global growth and appeal of the sport. GKA oversee World Cup events that involve a World Series in Freestyle, Kitesurfing, Racing, and Park. The Association forms part of World Sailing Special Events.