It’s the new golf!
Adrenaline fueled but surprisingly relaxing, you’d be among the masses if you immediately jump to the conclusion that Kitesurfing is for the younger generation. However, you’d be entirely wrong as an increasing number of more mature Kitesurfers are appearing on the scene and realizing that it is a completely exhilarating sport.
“Kiteboarding is perfect for the retirement age as it is very low impact and a great way to stay active. We are seeing a large number of retirees not only getting into the sport, but some of them are also finding a great part-time job as an instructor!” – Chris Moore, owner of Kite Provo in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands.
The first-ever inflatable kite was developed in the late 1970s by two brothers from the Atlantic coast of France. You’d be forgiven however for thinking that kitesurfing is a brand-new sport, as it only really hit the mainstream in 1998 in Hawaii. Since then, it has grown steadily and if you’re on the coast when the winds blow, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to look out to the water and spot a group of colorful kites gracing the skies above.
Naturally, there are plenty of people out there making it look incredibly simple, and although it actually isn’t the most complicated sport in the world, it certainly pays to take lessons from an expert. Mother Nature can be a fickle friend at times, and at the very least you should understand how the tides work and when you shouldn’t attempt to be out on the water. A good teacher will have you learning how to set up and take down your equipment before you get anywhere near the water, and they will demand that you learn kite skills before you get anywhere near a board. I speak from personal experience when I say that the kite wants to fly, and if you don’t know what you’re doing with it; how to control it or when to let go, it will take you with it if the conditions are right.
Strength is required, but nowhere near as much as you might think. The kite is brilliant at doing exactly what it’s designed to do, and the equipment is so advanced, that once you’ve mastered the technical aspects you really can let the water and the wind do all the work for you. It might sound a little cliché, but there’s something very organic about it. If you can learn to tune into the winds and nature element of kitesurfing you’ll progress a lot faster.
Where to try –
Minutes from the island of Ambergris Caye, you’ll find another perfect location for kitesurfing – a pristine sandbar with waist-deep water. It’s here that MJ Leslie of Passion Kite Belize teaches Kitesurfing when the conditions are right. Offering equipment, and lessons from beginner to advanced, MJ has been kitesurfing for over 10 years and was born and raised in San Pedro.
What makes Passion Kite extra special is that they teach from a floating ‘kite lounge’ on the sandbar! Visit www. passionkitebelize.com for more information
Turks & Caicos
The main island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos Islands, with its ridiculously beautiful beaches, has near-perfect conditions that result in a 10-month long season for kitesurfing. This means it is an ideal option for those who can’t or don’t want to plan too far in advance. The longest-running school in the TCI are Kite Provo and offers a variety of courses suitable for beginners and experienced alike.
Chris Moore, owner of Kite Provo, has been teaching since 1999 and says that equipment has continuously evolved over the years making it easier than ever to learn. At Kite Provo they have an amazing team of instructors and have created specialized teaching methods for kids, even starting at a weight of as low as 80lbs. This means that it can be a great adventure holiday for families to take part in and use as a great vacation bonding experience. Visit www.kiteprovo.com for more information
The Caribbean is full of little kitesurfing gems just waiting to be discovered. Here are some to explore:
ABC islands – Abaco, Bonaire, and Curaçao
With its idyllic flat-water conditions and perfect winds, this is a favorite of many seasoned Kitesurfers.
In particular Cabarete with its flat waters, exciting down winds and long beaches.
A 26-mile-long island offering turquoise waters, uncrowded lagoons, and great wave surfing.
Written by Clara Dobson