Parasailing, also known as parascending or parakiting, is a
recreational kiting activity where a person is towed behind a
vehicle (usually a boat) while attached to a specially designed
canopy wing that resembles a parachute, known as a parasail wing.
The manned kite's moving anchor may be a car, truck, or boat. The
harness attaches the pilot to the parasail, which is connected to
the boat, or land vehicle, by the tow rope. The vehicle then drives
off, carrying the parascender (or wing) and person into the air. If
the boat is powerful enough, two or three people can parasail behind
it at the same time. The parascender has little or no control over
the parachute. The activity is primarily a fun ride, not to be
confused with the sport of paragliding.
commercial parasailing operations all over the world. Land-based
parasailing has also been transformed into a competition sport in
Europe. In land-based competition parasailing, the parasail is towed
to maximum height behind a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The driver then
releases the tow line; the parasailer flies down to a target area in
an accuracy competition.
The sport was developed in the
early 1980s and has been very popular ever since. The first
international competitions were held in the mid-1980s and continue
annually to this day. Over the years, the competitions have grown in
scope as well as the number of participants.