Occupying the extreme south-western point of the European mainland, the Algarve is a rugged outcrop of Portugal that offers almost unlimited opportunities when it comes to adventure sports activities.
With a varied landscape, beautiful coastline and enviable climate, the region attracts mountain bikers, surfers, walkers and sailors all year round.
As with most holiday destinations, the Algarve has its share of resorts and developments. But there is still plenty of unspoilt coastline and countryside, just waiting to be discovered.
Kitesurfing champion Wolfram Reiners has broken the German Kitesurfing Speed Record and crept closer to being the fastest man on the water.
Adding 4 knots to the previous record, he hit almost 50 knots over the 500m section recording an average time of 46.26 (86km/h).
Wolfram is now the fastest German under sail after his recent performance at the 2011 Lüderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia also gave him the Outright Speed Sailing Record for Germany (that’s all classes of sailing crafts).
As Sport Director of the Kitekahunas Team he gets plenty of practice at his favoured training spots on Sunset beach, Cape Town.
The event at Lüderitz has a history of turning up top performances. Key to it all is a channel devised to suit kite surfers, wind surfers and hydrofoil boats.
It’s thanks to the town’s location on the edge of the Namib Desert and exposure to the Atlantic that the winds are so strong. It’s now a favoured spot for kitesurfing holidays as well as for the select few skilled enough to push their craft further towards 60 knots.
Now, just how fast could they go?
One of the fastest growing and most exhilarating sports in the world, kite surfing can give you a rush unlike any other.
Kite surfers are capable of reaching frightening speeds and getting almost unbelievable air (check out Lewis Crathern jumping over Brighton Pier in the UK, if you don’t believe us) but it can also be pretty dangerous. So it’s vital when starting out to ensure you’re riding as safely as possible.
Here are our top five tips for staying safe, making the most of your kite surfing experience and avoiding what is known as a ‘kitemare’.
Take a look at our Top Ten Kitesurfing Destinations and pick the spot that’s right for you.
The big name in Egyptian kitesurfing, mainly thanks to its flat waters which stay shallow out to 100m. Wind is cross-onshore from the left and there are two main spots to consider: Magawish Bay and a kite beach near Jasmine Vilage.
These favoured holiday islands also have the top kitesurfing spots. Corralejo on the north coast of Fuerteventura is perhaps the best. Known for great wind and good year-round weather it’s a favourite for several windsports. Winds are cross-shore and are at their best in the summer months. Flag beach is a favourite on this stretch of coast.
Small name, long beach: Sal serves up plenty of space so everyone to get in and take advantage of the natural benefits of this island in Cape Verde. Winter brings with it the wind (15-25 knots) and it’s still warm enough to go in without a suit. There’s 3km of beach to launch from, with winds more side-on at the end of the bay and more side-off at the top.
Boracay Island in the Philippines is a touch of paradise. If your idea of a kitesurfing holiday involves lagoons for learning and white sand beaches for launching off, your in the right place. White Beach is 4km long so there’s always space, and thanks to the ever-present trade winds, there’s always wind. A long high season (Nov-Apr) and shallow entry keeps Boracay popular.
Lush hillsides and national parks lead to the beaches of Maui. Kitesurfing is one of the newest sports to thrive here on this Hawaiian island. Again it’s the trade winds that keep conditions consistent. Expect 17-22 knots anywhere from 75-95 per cent of the time from April through October. The north shore has side-on-shore winds from left to right and is protected in places, in line with the locals’ traditional respect of the oceans.
On the far west of Australia, kitesurfers get to play in some of the strongest winds of this part of the coast. Better suited to intermediates and above, there’s open water for everyone. But closer to shore there’s a sand spit that protects beginners and gives them a shallow entry point. This also helps to create great slalom conditions. Best conditions are from October through April, with winds from 15- 25 knots, which work best in the afternoon.
There are more than 30 beaches to choose from around Cape Town, and it’s during the winter month that the winds are most consistent. Cape Peninsular stretches out to the Cape of Good Hope, creating Table Bay. Shallow lagoons and slight swell, all the way up to full 5-metre waves; it’s a place of variety, with perhaps the most imposing backdrop of any location: Table Top Mountain. The legendary ‘Cape Doctor’ – a southeasterly wind that dominates conditions, keeps winds regular and strong.
Essaouira is loved for its curved bay and cross-on winds. Further south of this Moroccan favourite you’ll find stronger waves, although conditions nearer the town provide enough challenges for kitesurfers of all abilities. Winds get stronger after lunch, peak at around 40 knots in the summer periods and are most effective the further downwind you go. Expect bigger waves in the winter and little need for a shortie outside of the coldest months.
Just 45 minutes from the airport at Fortaleza you’ll find Cumbuco. This Brazilian beach spot has 10km of frontage and sand bars offshore that produce good waves. Wind is mainly side-shore from the right, occasionally side-onshore, and there is plenty of it even for advanced kitesurfers. For the most powerful winds arrive between June and December, and take advantage of flat water past an initial shore dump.
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