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Parasailing, also known as parascending, is a recreational activity where a person is towed behind a vehicle (usually a boat) while attached to a specially designed parachute, known as a parasail. The boat then drives off, carrying the parascender 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. There are six parts of a parasail. The harness attaches the pilot to the parasail, which is connected to the boat, or land vehicle, by the tow rope. The activity is primarily a fun ride, not to be confused with the sport of paragliding. There are commercial parasailing operations all over the world. Land based parasailing has also been formed into competition sport in Europe. In land based competition parasailing, the parasail is towed to maximum height behind a 4 wheel drive vehicle and then releases the tow line and flies down to a target area in an accuracy competition. The sport was developed in the early 80's and has been very popular ever since. The first international competitions were held in the mid 80's and continue to run today. The parachute/kite part is normally brightly colored to match to beach area in which it is used. Some people have kites with colors matching their favorite sports team or alma mater. Many parasail canopies that are designed for commercial use offering rides to tourists on vacation are bright in color and have designs ranging from American flags, smiley faces, and multiple color patterns In recent years, operators have moved from small (20-foot range) parachutes to large (30–40 feet) parachutes that utilize high-lift, low-drag designs enabling operators to fly higher payloads in lower (typically safer) winds. Most operators now offer double and triple flights using an adjustable side by side bar arrangement. The side by side bar is aluminum attached to the yoke of the chute, allowing two or three passenger harnesses to be attached side-by-side. In April 2013, the first ASTM parasail weather standard was approved. With the help of the WSIA, and the chair of the parasail committee, Matthew Dvorak, owner and operator of Daytona Beach Parasail, Inc. the new standard was implemented. This is the first standard in the parasail industry with three more in the works to be approved later this year. This standard was the first step in bringing the otherwise unregulated industry into a more uniformed and safe industry. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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