Kitesurfing – an extreme sportFebruary 9, 2009
“Rugby? Hikkaduwa Beach Fest? Nah, I’d rather be kitesurfing! It’s extremely addictive and loads of fun. You’re completely free, and the only noise you hear is of the wake coming off the back of your board. It’s just you, the wind and the board,” says Dilsiri Welikala.
Ok, so it’s still only February, and we are still deep in winter with some of the coldest weather still to come – perhaps. But… but but but, spring will be here shortly and we’ll soon be dusting off our kiteboards, untangling the strings and heading to the closest beach.
I know you guys in such exotic places as Montana, New Brunswick, Idaho, Saskatchewan, Norway, Finland, etc have probably been having a fabulous winter kiting on your broad open plains and frozen lakes, but down here in the south of France we look to the unfrozen Med for our kiting entertainment… and spring is coming closer.
This is Hyeres where we do most of our kitesurfing, a lovely spot with good wind, a good kite school and lots of windsurfing and scuba diving in the vicinity. Keeps the whole family amused.
But the best places to kitesurf in the world? Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing is attracting novices and athletes from the surfing and windsurfing worlds and people are always on the look out for ‘… the next beach.’
Well, we’ve touched on this subject before and I don’t really think you can say “this is the best…” because it is very much a matter of choice, preference and ease of access, so below I will mention a few far-a-field beaches which might be counted as ‘easy access’ if you happen to be passing that way!
The well known beach of Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain should ring a few bells. It’s famous for its reliable winds and so most visitors to this region are windsurfers and kiters. It’s a great place to learn, but is even better for intermediate and advanced kiters – and the apres-kite life is excellent! Definitely a good place to hang out. The beach starts in town and extends about 6km to the Club Mistral at the Hurricane and then goes round the small headland past Las Dunas to another 8km of sandy beach – all this space ensure that beginners and experts alike have plenty of room – even in the height of summer. However, one drawback… if you are planning to travel between May and October it is imperative to book at least four months ahead due to the limited amount of good accommodation. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Thanks Sarmitel for this wonderful video.
Another place you hear about all the time is Cabarete in the Dominican Republic. It is said to be the most perfect kite surfing destination in the world – quite a claim to fame. In fact, it is so good that many a kitesurfer has moved there in order to be able practice kiting all year round. It also hosts the largest kiteboarding competition in the world – always the third week of June. The main beach has now been officially designated the Cabarete Kite Beach. The reason for its popularity? The trade winds provide a steady consistent easterly wind, which gives Cabarete perfect side-onshore kiting conditions most of the time. In fact the wind is so reliable that you can generally guarantee that there will be no wind until 11a.m. and that this first wind is usually good for beginners. At around 12:30 – 1:30 the thermals kick in and make the wind a lot stronger reaching its strongest at about 4p.m. At around 6 the wind dies off again. If you are holidaying in the Dominican Republic you can bank on the fact that 8 out of 10 days will have good wind. Not bad… and thanks to drtouristtv for this video.
Cape Town has at least 10 wonderful kitesurfing beaches. The consistent wind, great waves and stunning views make Cape Town one of the worlds kitesurfing hotspots. It is one of the best kitesurfing locations in the world, and by far the best kitesurfing location in South Africa. Professional kitesurfers move here between October and March to get in some good practice. Generally the southern peninsula is better suited to more experienced surfers whilst the northern pensinsula favours the intermediate surfers – except for Hakgat which is only for experienced surfers. Langebaan Lagoon is the best spot for beginners as, in contrast with all the other beaches which offer great wave riding and jumping experiences, Langebaan has some of the best flat water conditions in the world.
Main Beach, New York is just minutes from Napegue, Long Island, and is perfect for ocean riding in any breeze: and the breezes come from nearly every direction – from the west, south-west, south, south-east and easterly directions. Main Beach is a long, golden, clean beach. There is plenty of space and so far no rules…The sandbanks are piled high and the waves are some of the best in New York. There are many sand bars just off-shore which makes for some fun kickers to jump off. It is a 2-hour drive from New York city, but you can find some really challenging and exciting kitesurfing spots. It can get extremely cold in winter though!
That’s it for today. I’m sure there will be more later…
Just remember, if you are just beginning to learn how to kitesurf “You need to get over a certain fear point – doing so gives you an adrenaline rush,” so says Mischi Walter – a professional kitesurfing instructor based in Sri Lanka, but he adds “Even children can learn the sport, overseas there are people who are over 70 who are kitesurfing!”