The modern sport of kitesurfing originated around 1995.
In the 1800s, George Pocock used kites of increased size to propel carts on land and ships on the water, using a four-line control system - the same system in common use today. Both carts and boats were able to turn and sail upwind. The kites could be flown for sustained periods. The intention was to establish kitepower as an alternative to horsepower, partly to avoid the hated "horse tax" that was levied at that time.