Whether you’re searching for a movie to watch with your kite buddies or looking to find some motivation, you can’t go wrong with the classic films that best celebrate the art and beauty of kiteboarding.
Watching movies help you understand this extreme water sport better, but there aren’t a lot of kiteboarding films because the industry’s more focused on producing surf movies. However, the ones you’ll find on this list won’t shy away from stoke-inducing kiting styles and maneuvers that’ll make you want to get out to the sea asap and try them on your own.
We’ve compiled 10 of the best kiteboarding movies of all time — from franchise series to short documentary films, we’ve got you covered!
Top 10 Best Kiteboarding Movies
The following are our favorite kiteboarding films (in no particular order) that you should watch at least once in your life.
- Chapter One: The Kiteboarding Legacy Begins (2016)
- Upwind Launch of a Sport (2012)
- Aaron Hadlow TWENTY (2019)
- Into the Air: A Kiteboarding Experience (2005)
- The Man that Touched The Sky (2011)
- The Freeride Project 1, 2, and 3 (2011-2016)
- The Bubble Film (2017)
- The Antandroy: The People of the Thorns by F-One (2012)
- Disguise the Limit by Cobrinha (2015)
- AutoFocus (2005)
#1: Chapter One: The Kiteboarding Legacy Begins (2016)
- Director: Bob van de Gronde
- Starring: Richard Branson, Pete Cabrinha, Keahi de Aboitiz
- Movie Length: 1 hour 24 minutes
It took 2 years of filming around the globe and countless memories to produce the first-ever feature-length kitesurfing movie — Chapter One: The Kiteboarding Legacy Begins. When its trailer was released, this movie shot in 4K became one of the most talked about films among kiteboarders and kitesurfers alike.
Chapter One follows the stories of different kitesurfing personalities and their journey to becoming legends. In this movie, you’ll get to watch them ride the most dangerous waves and perform the most exciting tricks that will make you hold on to your seat!
This film also celebrates the diversity of the sport among different people and shows how it can also be an adventure, as well as a source of meditation for some people who kiteboards in the most beautiful and stoke-inducing locations like Hawaii and Fiji.
#2: Upwind Launch of a Sport (2012)
- Producer: Redbull, Josh Kendrick, Dan Connely
- Movie Length: 55 minutes
If you lean more on watching documentaries about kiteboarding, then this hour-long film is right up your alley. The Upwind Launch of a Sport is one of the best kite films up to date, and it’s a must-watch for kitesurfers who want to know more about this sport’s history.
Produced by Redbull, the Upwind Launch of a Sport is a full-length docu-film that follows the adventure of kiteboarding pioneers as they wander through different big air kiting competitions such as the First King of the Air in 1998 and Kitesurfing World Championship in Maui. It also features the stories of kiteboarding icons like Kai Lenny, Aaron Hadlow, Ruben Lenten, and Robby Naish.
In this film, you’ll also learn about the dangers of kiting, including the promising groms to look out for during that time and how they foresee the future of this sport.
#3: Aaron Hadlow TWENTY (2019)
- Director: Laci Kobulsky, Aaron Hadlow
- Starring: Aaron Hadlow
- Movie Length: 36 minutes
It’s been 20 years since Aaron Hadlow made his mark in the world of kiteboarding, and to celebrate this incredible milestone, he collaborated with Laci Kobulsky to create ‘Twenty’ — a short film documenting his life career in kiteboarding.
Twenty gives us a peek at Hadlow’s personal life as an icon. In this movie, you’ll see his achievements, stories alongside friends, and archive footage of him riding the most outrageous waves with his kite leading him. Combined with cool soundtracks and shot in specific locations to cater his different techniques — Cape Town for Big Air and Brazil for Freestyle — this movie is a feast for all your senses.
The concept idea of Twenty is from Aaron himself, and to get live feedback from fans, he premiered this short film in Cape Hatteras, USA, Hayling Island, and the UK before its official release.
#4: Into the Air: A Kiteboarding Experience (2005)
- Director: Marq Morrison, Rachel Janowicz, Blake Robertson
- Starring: Paul Menta
- Movie Length: 1 hour
‘Into The Air: A Kiteboarding Experience’ is one of the most beautifully shot films in the world of kiteboarding, that’s why it’s no wonder why this movie was able to bag not one — but three Telly Awards in 2005 and 2006 respectively (‘Best Sports & Recreation Documentary at Art & Tur International Tourism Film Festival’ and ‘Digital Video Awards’ Best Documentary’).
This docu-film follows pro-kiteboarder Paul Menta as he leads a group of riders in a week-long kiteboarding session in San Juan and La Parguera, Puerto Rico. Its impressive cinematography of the techniques of kiteboarding combined with these stunning locations will make you want to visit these places someday.
Into the Air also includes early interviews and stories of other riders such as Julie Simsar, Andy Hurdman, Bri Chmel as they share what made them want to try kiteboarding and what it feels like to become hooked on this sport. This film lets you in on their world, and whether you’re a kiteboarder or not, you’ll surely enjoy the hour you’ve spent on this masterpiece.
#5: The Man that Touched The Sky (2011)
- Director: Jonathan Brooks
- Starring: Lewis Crathern
- Movie Length: 30 minutes
When it comes to movies that’ll inspire you to chase your dreams and literally jump on opportunities, The Man that Touched the Sky is next to no other. In this movie, we see how Lewis Crathern, a phenomenal kitesurfer, made the biggest jump of his life of 50 ft. over in the 1,719 ft. long Brighton Pier in the UK.
This fun and motivational short film shows how much dedication and intricate planning goes into fulfilling someone’s dream. It took two years for Lewis to train physically and prepare his mind for what’s about to come. The movie was also filmed several months before his epic jump.
On the day itself, it took nearly three hours for Lewis to find the perfect wave, and the cameramen almost missed filming the jump because of the weather condition and poor visibility during that day. In the end, the dangerous stunt was a success, earning Lewis the legendary title ‘The Man that Touched the Sky’.
#6: The Freeride Project 1, 2, and 3 (2011 to 2016)
- Starring: Tom Court, Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, James Boulding
- Movie Length: 30 mins respectively
The Freeride Project 1, 2, and 3 tops the list for short movies that are all about fun and adventure. In these films, we follow the kiteboarding sessions of four professional riders (Tom Court, Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, James Boulding) known as the UK Crew as they travel to the best kiting locations and join major events all for the sake of fun. No sponsorships, no disguises, just pure exposé!
In this movie installment, we get a peek at what the sport is really about. We’ll also see how these epic riders push the limit of kiteboarding as they show us their best tricks and stunts. Mix that with great tracklists and you get the most thrilling films that will get your group stoked for days.
Finally, the Freeride Project 3 focuses more on Tom Court’s career due to the other group member’s busy careers and schedules. In this last installment, he shows us the competitions and events he visited in different locations like Indonesia, the Caribbean, and Cape Town.
#7: The Bubble Film (2017)
- Director: Noe Font
- Starring: Aaron Hadlow, Colleen Carroll, Noe Font, Stefan Spiessberger, Craig Cunningham, and Tom Court
- Movie Length: 54 minutes
The Bubble is another full-length kiteboarding film that tells the stories of a group of riders traveling inside a bubble. For Noe Font, the director and writer of this movie, the ‘Bubble’ is their world where they travel and explore. Inside of it there’s no need to rush, you only have to enjoy every moment. But that doesn’t mean the bubble only includes the good times like the breathtaking spots they go to or the coconuts that they drink all the time.
The bad ones are also living inside this Bubble — the long taxi rides, flight delays, and waiting time in the airports. In this film, you get an in-depth view of how pro riders live their life outside the competitions and events. It’s one of Aaron Hadlow’s most creative works and Noe Font’s masterpiece film. If you want humor combined with great storytelling, this movie’s your best choice!
#8: The Antandroy: The People of the Thorns by F-One (2012)
- Producer: Band Originale
- Starring:, Micka Fernandez, Robinson Hilario, Raphael Salles, Etienne Lhote and Remi Quique
- Movie Length: 24 minutes
Every year, F-One releases a movie about different stories to show that kiteboarding isn’t just a sport, but a culture altogether. For F-One’s 2012 entry, they featured the Antandroy or the People of the Thorns. This film that was released years ago, but it still has a huge impact on the kiteboarding and surfing world.
The Antandroy is a nomadic ethnic group that lives in the Lavanono Village in Madagascar. In this movie, we are shown of how they live and how they shared their customs with the riders of F-One. In exchange, the riders introduced them to water sports such as kitesurfing, surfing, and SUP.
The film captures the amazing everyday interactions between two groups of people. Their surfing encounters perfectly depict the passion and the true meaning of the sports. And as tokens of appreciation for the Antandroy’s hospitality, F-One left them their gear.
The Antandroy is a classic movie that’s not just for kiteboarders. Even non-riders are sure to sit all the way through this magnificent film.
#9: Disguise the Limit by Cobrinha (2015)
- Director: James Boulding and Anders Krüger
- Starring: Pete Cabrinha, Moona Whyte, Nick Jacobsen, James Boulding, Damien LeRoy, etc.
- Movie Length: 36 minutes
Epic movie nights with drinks couldn’t get any better with Disguise the Limit by the Cabrinha Production. To fully appreciate its cinematic shots and heart-stopping stunts, this film is best watched on a big screen surrounded by friends who share the same stoke.
Disguise the Limit features kiteboarding footage of some of the famous riders in the industry. Here they show us their playful sides and their best tricks in the most outrageous locations like Maui and Morocco. In the 30:28 mark, you’ll even get to see a cameo of a whale swimming alongside the riders!
#10: AutoFocus (2005)
- Director: Elliot Leboe
- Starring: Andre Phillip, Mauricio Abreu, Bertrand Fleury, Moe Goold, Jason Slezak, Jason Stone and Stav Niarchos
- Movie Length: 52 minutes
Last but not least, movie marathons wouldn’t be complete without watching a piece of kiteboarding history — Autofocus. This cult classic that was released in 2005 is still one of the favorites and most loved by kiteboarders worldwide until today.
Autofocus features riding styles like wake style, and if you’re into sliders, you’ll surely enjoy watching how the icons of this sport ride the waves with their pure skills. This film highlights each one of the rider’s styles and talents — Dre for his speed and Mauricio’s overall power. And who will forget Moe’s unmatched humor?
This full-length movie also tackles the humble beginnings of kiteboarding and how far it has come to many years after it was invented. Since there were no advanced technologies and video editing programs when Autofocus was produced, you’ll see how this film’s director created it without any camera tricks. Everything’s just made with creative shots of the beautiful Antigua — the sea, the sun, and the landscapes.
Autofocus is the standard of all kiteboarding films, and this should be on your must-watch list. Pro tip, this film comes with bonus footage if you purchase the DVD.
Kiteboarding Movies/Short Films: Runner-ups
While they may not be included in our top 10, the titles below are more kiteboarding and kitesurfing movies that are also worth mentioning in this article.
The first-ever comedy short film about kiting. Kite Junkies features the iconic personalities of Maui as they showcase their skills and give us a glimpse of their lives.
The Gift by F-One
The Gift is another short film by F-One that highlights breathtaking seascapes and wave conditions that any kite rider will love and enjoy. The techniques shown in this film are enough to make you hold your breath and get your adrenaline pumping!
Cruise Mode: Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding is all about culture, adventure and having fun, and the best compilation movie that depicts this lifestyle is Cruise Mode. It’s a favorite among kiteboarders because it’s a film that you can watch again and again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best kiteboarding movies?
If you’re looking for a cinematic kiting film with a little bit of history, we recommend watching Upwind Launch of a Sport (2012). But if you want a modern take on kiteboarding films, Chapter One: The Kiteboarding Legacy Begins (2016) shot in 4K is enough to get anyone hooked into this sport.
Q: What kiteboarding movie can I watch with my friends?
The Freeride Project short movie installment is best watched with kiting buddies. The movie features the UK Crew consisting of four pro riders (Tom Court, Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, James Boulding) from different brands as they go on an epic adventure traveling the best kiteboard locations in the world.