To the uninitiated, kitesurfing’s manic marriage of surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, gymnastics and acrobatics might seem bizarre, but anyone who’s actually tried it knows that kitesurfing is the last word in adventure surface water sports.
With its gusty southwest and west winds and ideal wave riding swells, South Wales is fast becoming the number one destination for kitesurfers. Some destinations like 20 kilometre-long Gower have been traditionally associated with plain old surfing, while others such as Swansea Bay weren’t previously known for their water sports pedigree.
Hardcore surfers like to stay at spots for days, even weeks. We examine the hottest options.
Back in the day, like prior to 2007, C-kites (C-shaped kites) were the norm. However, C-kites were responsible for many nasty accidents. As research and design improved, the shape was mostly phased out and replaced by safer and more modern SLE (supported leading edge) bow-style kites.
Newer bow-style kites have made the learning process much easier and safer than ever before. I learned on a c-kite and was lucky enough to avoid any nasty kitemares.
These days, I teach a lot of lessons and I shudder when a thrifty student insists on buying the cheapest kite that he/she can find online. They’re usually proud to show off their gear that only cost $200, everything included. Most times, you’ll only get what you pay for
All this considered, why then do professionals still like c-kites? What makes them dangerous one minute and awesome the next? And which models should you look out for?
There’s a group of islands that lie in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the African nation of Morocco. And for a budget kiteboarding trip, there are few places better than Fuerteventura on the Canary Islands.
During the North American summer, Fuerteventura is pounded by strong wind. While most of mainland Europe is suffering from summer wind doldrums, this island is a hot spot.
While wind can never be guaranteed, there is a very high chance that you will score out here during the summer. The waves are smaller during this season, but there is almost always something to slash. During the winter season the wind is less reliable but there are still plenty of brilliant days. Also, larger and more powerful ground swells from the North Atlantic Ocean hit the island, making for some serious surfing and kitesurfing.
If you fancy some of this action, here’s how to do it on a budget.
For some kitesurfers, a windy day rarely comes with sunshine and with sunshine there’s always sunnies. While for others kitesurfing in sunglasses is less likely as the further that one gets away from the equator, the greater the chance that wind will be powered by low pressure systems, rather than heating.
Why should this matter? Well, conditions are often mostly overcast and cloudy, rather than blue skies. Still, one place that is known for perfect weather is Southern California. Between the months of May and September it is not uncommon to see only 1 or 2 days of light rain sprinkles!
A typical summer day sees an early marine layer that burns off around 11am, leading to blue afternoon skies and a thermal breeze. In conditions like this, sunglasses are always there to fight the glare, which can be annoying and damaging to a rider’s eyes.
But how do you choose your sunnies? Here’s how.
The United States is a huge piece of real estate. There are multiple oceans, lakes, rivers, lagoons and various flood plains that make for great kitesurfing setups. In the US the possibilities are truly endless.
For example, you may drive through Iowa (a land locked state) a few days after a rain and see a flooded farmer’s field that is perfect for kiteboarding. The next day, it may disappear.
I’ve hit some strange spots like that over the years. I’ve been to 45 of the 50 states, so I feel relatively well qualified to share 10 hot spots for kitesurfing in the US
Most of the creative energy within the kiteboarding industry is focused on videos and pictures, so it’s little surprise that kiteboarding books sometimes get left on the shelf – so to speak – and it was only recently I even noticed my local kite shop actually stocked kiteboarding books!
As with everything, it’s always best to try before you buy. And if you are wanting to buy online, it’s sometimes hard to get any idea what you’re going to get for your money.
Those little ‘preview’ options you get in online stores are better than nothing, but nothing beats a good recommendation.
So if you’re looking to buy kiteboarding books, here’s a couple you should consider.
I’ve been Kiteboarding in Australia a few times. Once for 6 months and the second time for 2 weeks. And with a little imagination it can be done for $1 a day.
If you’re flexible and have patience, the best (and most economical) way to get around Australia is to do campervan relocations. Basically, you’re relocating campers to various cities to meet booking demands.
In exchange for this, the charge is usually $1 per day rental fee and if you get a good route, the gas is covered and sometimes you will be paid $100 cash against your expenses.
This type of kiteboarding holiday makes for a great story and will surely leave your friends wondering how you can afford to live in such luxury…
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