Two brothers, Bruno Legaignoux and Dominique Legaignoux, from the Atlantic coast of France, developed kites for kitesurfing in the late 1970s and early 1980s and patented an inflatable kite design in November 1984, a design that has been used by companies to develop their own products.
In 1996 Laird Hamilton and Manu Bertin were instrumental in demonstrating and popularising kitesurfing off the Hawaiian coast of Maui.
In 1997 the Legaignoux brothers developed and sold the breakthrough "Wipika" kite design which had a structure of preformed inflatable tubes and a simple bridle system to the wingtips, both of which greatly assisted water re-launch. Bruno Legaignoux has continued to improve kite designs, including developing the bow kite design, which has been licensed to many kite manufacturers.
In 1997, specialist kiteboards were developed by Raphaël Salles and Laurent Ness. By 1998 kitesurfing had become a mainstream sport, and several schools were teaching kitesurfing.
On September 18th 2008, during the "Luderitz Speed Challenge" in Namibia, kitesurfing became the fastest way of sailing on water. The "World Sailing Speed Record Council" (WSSRC) validated
the run of Robert Douglas from the USA at 49.84 knots (92.30kmph). A few days later on October 3rd, 2008, Sebastien Cattelan from France was the first to pass 50 knots kitesurfing.
His attempt was validated by the WSSRC at 50.26 knots (93.08kmph). The following day, on October 4th 2008, Alex Caizergues from France established a record validated by the WSSRC at
50.57 knots (93.66kmph).
The 14th of November 2009, Alex Caizergues completed another unbelievable run of 50,98 knots in Namibia.
October 2010, Rob Douglas became the outright record holder for the short distance 500 meters with 55.65 knots.
Sébastien Cattelan became the record holder of France and Europe with 55.49 and was the first rider to reach 55 knots.