Trends in new sports
The appearance of the freestyle movement and its media coverage in the early 1990s has spawned
the creation of several new sports. From the Opal Coast to the beaches of the Mediterranean,
and including the Atlantic coast, the windsurfers of yesterday have given way to the funboarders and other forms of kite athletes.
- From windsurfing to funboarding
The origin of windsurfing is unclear, but there were many people who have made contributions
to its conception. It was in the mid-60s when this new discipline first appeared in the United States, only to discover its real boom a few years later, when it exploded onto the sports scene thanks to its living legend, Robby Naish, who became first world champion of windsurfing at the young age of 13!
Following its first Olympic appearance at the Los Angeles games in 1984,
windsurfing started a revolution that continued throughout the 1990s. Equipment advanced and evolved, freestyling began, moves became increasingly radical, and then the funboard was born.
The following are those who have majorly contributed to the media coverage of funboarding in France: Nathalie Lelievre - five time world champion, Patrice Belbéoc'h - world champion in the 1990s, Franck David - the first French Olympic champion in Barcelona in 1992, the media-hyped Robert Teriitehau, and Antoine Albeau – multiple national French and world slalom champion and holder of the world record for speed.
- Kitesurfing, a phenomenon!
Kitesurfing, also known as kiteboarding, is the latest trend in water sports. It is essentially the riding of a small surfboard or wakeboard that is pulled by a kite. This idea originated in the 1960s and eventually became a reality in 1984 thanks to the two Breton brothers, Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux, who were big fans of all gliding sports. However, it was not until several security issues of the design had been resolved in the early 2000s that kitesurfing stormed the beaches of France and the rest of the world.
Truly a trendy phenomenon, this new sport has replaced its cousin, the funboard, thanks to
French champions Jeremie Eloy, Alexandre Caizergues, and Sébastien Garat. Sporting goods providers have also enjoyed riding the waves of its success.
There’s also several land sports involving kites which include mountainboarding, the kite buggy, and snowkiting.
The advent of freestyle and the radicalization of surfing have also contributed to the development of other sports.
Towed surfing, also known as tow-in surfing, is a sport where the surfer takes to the waves while being pulled by a motorized vehicle, normally a jet-ski. This
technique is especially used in La Torche in Brittany and in Guéthary in the Basque Country, certainly an adaption for the reckless ones among us!
The waves of the seas and oceans surrounding France have also recently become a new playing field for kayakers who no longer hesitate to jump into the trough of the waves. Bodyboarding, a sport originating from the mid 1990s where the surfer lies flat on a foam board, is also a great success on our beaches to this day.