There are few extreme sports as exciting as kitesurfing – skimming across the ocean surface with the force of the wind being mastered by your power-kite control. Our world has a plethora of stunning locations to go kitesurfing, beautiful scenery coupled with reliable winds and gorgeous weather.
What’s not to love about the sun-kissed beaches, good waves and predictable breeze at Baja? Through autumn to spring the waters are warm and conditions are great. There is a lot to do and it’s a big draw for kitesurfers and anyone interested in water sports. From the town of La Ventana you are in easy distance of beginner-friendly zones to areas more suitable for the experienced and the professional competition performers. Baja is heavily subscribed, a victim of its own popularity, so the crowds both on-shore and off-shore can be off-putting. The upside is that there are many rental shops, eateries and places to stay to make this a good holiday destination.
Cabarete, Dominican Republic
If warm waters are a must, then summer and early autumn will make Cabarete a go-to location. The winds are strong and reliable during this period – and you need good stamina to make the most of it. Having said that, Cabarete is one of those places where you will benefit from frequent, brief sessions to strengthen and tone your body. The beaches are sheltered by the expansive reef which ensures the wave swell remains light and flat. Going off the reef to La Policia Beach will open up the breaking waves to you so you can take your experience to the next level. Cabarete is not as busy as Baja and it still has the benefits of good rental stores, schools and accommodation.
If the temperature isn’t a big issue for you then Pembrokeshire is always worth a visit. Welsh kitesurfer Kirsty Jones holds the long distance record of 149 miles for a crossing from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to Tarifaya in Morocco. She started her kitesurfing career in Pembrokeshire where quiet beaches and decent waves allowed her to build up experience and hone her skills from a beginner to advanced. The coast here has power-kiting schools ideal for newbies to get some familiarity with the foil and build some upper-body strength. The waves are constant and, although not the biggest, provide an excellent starting point for families and for professionals to introduce their loved ones to this amazing sport.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Famara Beach in summer ranks as one of the best kitesurfing destinations anywhere! Three-mile-long golden beaches and consistent 18-knot breezes of warm Trade Winds air welcome you to the waters where you can carve and power your way with certainty and grace. Lanzarote is an ideal for people of all abilities, beginners can get lessons from qualified instructors and advanced kitesurfers can ride the waves and take to the air with exhilarating jumps. The Costa Teguise at high tide is popular with advanced kitesurfers as the wind is consistent here even if it drops elsewhere. This costa is to be visited with care and only recommended for those with experience – the conditions can become hazardous.
The ‘Wind capital of Africa’ offers visitors strong, regular Atlantic winds that make kitesurfing an all-year-round experience. There are miles upon miles of golden beaches and established centers for teaching and renting out equipment. The rental scene is actually very good where you can hire bars, kites, wetsuits and more – basically everything you could possibly need! The locals here tend to speak several languages particularly the shop and school staff which is a welcome boon to those of us who just speak English or a bit of mangled French. Essaouira is a location of two halves; inland you see the old town and traditional Morocco but the coast reveals itself to be more international and modern in appeal. For advanced kitesurfers the strong winds are ideal to get a great workout, incorporate many jumps and carves and really up your game.
St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia
Australia is popular among extreme sports enthusiasts the world over. St Kilda is a charming suburban location on the beach of the enclosed Port Phillip Bay. This sheltered area is perfect with its wide expanse of flat, calm waters and is enjoyed by beginners and pros alike. For fans of the history of the sport, St Kilda is the where kitesurfing phenomenon took off in the state of Victoria. The gentle currents and southerly winds aid kitesurfers in returning to the beach. The difference in depth between hide tide and low tide isn’t great so you can take to the water with confidence all day long. It should come as no surprise that the beaches are dotted with rental shops, fantastic eateries and schools that teach all year round. The summer season is the busiest period so expect crowds.
Praia do Guincho, Portugal
For advanced kitesurfers, the Praia do Guincho is an infamous spot. 30 minutes from Lisbon, the coastline is exposed to powerful Atlantic swells, strong winds and, at low tide, large rocks just beneath the surface. At the peak of high tide it can be tricky to get a decent start but once you get going the experience is one you will not soon forget. The waves can reach up to seven or so feet high so there is much for the kitesurfer to play with. Despite the risks, Praia do Guincho is popular spot and one that is well-served by some great facilities for extreme water sports enthusiasts.
No discussion on the best places to go kitesurfing can go without mentioning Maui – arguably the most popular destination for the sport anywhere. Calm waters, regular water temperatures into the 80s and reliable all-year-round wind give Maui the cachet of the place to go. Despite its popularity, Maui’s beaches are astonishingly never too busy nor its waters too crowded. If you can only choose one place in the world to travel to then Maui must surely be your number one option!