People often confuse kiteboarding and kitesurfing in conversation. The two definitely share some similarities, but there are some fundamental differences that are outlined here.
Kiteboarding involves a twin tipped board like a wakeboard, which can be ridden strapped in or strapless for freestyle. This is the most common form of kite activity and is where most people start with the sport.
Kitesurfing on the other hand uses a surfboard which isn’t strapped to the feet. It is most often practiced closer to shore in the wave breaks so riders can surf in on waves and then use the kite to bail out or get back out past the boneyard in a hurry.
If you’re a beginner, you are going to want to start kiteboarding and work your way up to kitesurfing. This will give you an opportunity to learn kite control and steering mechanisms so you can take those skills to the waves when you’re kite surfing!