To evaluate the physiological demands of kitesurfing, ten elite subjects performed an incremental running test on a 400-m track and a 30-min on-water crossing trial during a light crosswind (LW, 12-15 knots). Oxygen uptake (V(O)(2)) was estimated from the heart rate (HR) recorded during the crossing trial using the individual HR-V(O)(2) relationship determined during the incremental test. Blood lactate concentration [La(b)] was measured at rest and 3 min after the exercise completion. Mean HR and estimated V(O)(2) values represented, respectively 80.6 +/- 7.5% of maximal heart rate and 69.8 +/- 11.7% of maximal oxygen uptake for board speeds ranging from 15 to 17 knots. Low values for [La(b)] were observed at the end of crossing trial (2.1 +/- 1.2 mmol l(-1). This first analysis of kitesurfing suggests that the energy demand is mainly sustained by aerobic metabolism during a LW condition.