It may look daunting at first, but it’s a fairly easy sport to take up. Yes, like any other watersport, you need balance and discipline. But in kitesurfing, you get a big assist from the elements. Given the right conditions, a novice can soon look like an old pro, and the experience is exhilarating for beginners and more experienced wave riders alike. Here are some of the world’s top spots for kitesurfing, whether it’s your first time or you’re looking for a new challenge. Just add wind and water.
Ka‘a Point on the north shore of Maui near the airport has a great combination of water conditions, with a protected cove that has flat water close to the shore, chop in intermediate depths and good jumping waves just off the point. Nearby “Action Beach” is home to instructional schools and a good place for learners to get started. Watch the pros compete in contests at Ho‘okipa Beach and pick up some pointers. Take your lessons well enough and you just might be able to join them yourself on a future visit.
Turks and Caicos
Quickly emerging as a destination for kitesurfing, Turks and Caicos match up well against any other Caribbean islands in quality. On Providenciales, the main island, Long Bay Beach has soft sand and shallow waters particularly forgiving to first-timers, with a long flat ride. Though it’s just a few minutes from popular Grace Bay Beach, Long Bay is often uncrowded, leaving you plenty of room to work. Once you have experience under your belt, Grace Bay’s deeper waters and northeast winds make for a rewarding challenge, producing plenty of chops and a good break off the reef about a mile out.
Just a glance at the map explains why Tarifa is the kitesurfing capital of Europe. Situated on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar, just across from Africa, there’s a 6-mile stretch of beach that’s basically a huge wind tunnel. The wind coming from the east is generally consistent and not too heavy, making it easy for just about anyone to catch a smooth ride. Where things pick up is when the from the west blows in, building speed as it does so and gusting close to 60 mph at times, often for days or weeks at a time.
Nabq Bay, Egypt
On the Sinai Peninsula, where the Gulf of Aqaba (aka Gulf of Eilat) meets the Red Sea, conditions are ripe for kitesurfing. Tiran Island sits at the meeting point, creating twin lagoons that are shallow with sandy bottoms. One area is perfect for beginners, while experienced riders flock to the other. Though kitesurfing only began in the area about a quarter-century ago, it easily became recognized worldwide as a mecca for enthusiasts.
Brazil has more than 4,500 miles of coastline, so it’s no surprise that some stretch of it is one of the top spots in the world for something. As Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are the places to see, be seen and party, Cumbuco on the country’s northeastern coast is the place to catch wind and waves. The weather is almost always perfect, the wind is steady and there is a tight-knit community of devotees who train regularly. With zones of flat water and areas with high waves, it’s a great place to start out and work your way up as your skills and confidence improve.