Island image from "Metropolis"
Kiteboarders are roaming the world in pursuit of wind, adventures and wonder in ever increasing numbers. Riders are hitting mainstream destinations as well as spots well beyond the beaten path. The challenges of visiting Cape Hatteras differ from Vanuatu in the Solomons. Knowledge, preparation and planning go a long way to assuring a good trip (and kite session!). Quite a few globe trotting kiters were consulted for travel tips in the preparation of this article (see below for bios).
So, where to go? Identify and prioritize what you and your companions want in a vacation both on the water and off. Do you want waves, flat water, both, high or moderate wind that is highly reliable or more occasional? Do you need a kite school, shop, sea taxi, lots of company on the water or next to none? Do you want to go to a kite camp/tour, through a kiteboarding travel specialist where there may be less to chance or travel ala carte? There is life after wind (IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been told this anyway), so what about things to do as wind alternates and ashore? The options range from virtually nothing to site seeing, diving, surfing, fishing, sailing, mountain biking, hiking and more. How about family activities for the wife and kids? What about night life be it bring your own or an urban night club scene, stellar restaurants, good old takee outee or spam-ala-can. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your vacation so collectively figure out what you really want to try to do. Research destinations in SBC Kiteboard, local shops, associations, kitebeaches.com and Internet.
Examine wind, weather statistics and current winds for your potential destinations. Links to some weather Internet sites that provide forecasts may also provide archive wind patterns at your destination such as ikitesurf.com and weatherunderground.com are listed below. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the assumption that wind is guaranteed as there are off days in many locations that can vary with time of year. See if there are seasonal variations in the quality of the wind say related to tropical depressions (that can reduce safe useable wind), cold fronts (that can boost wind), etc.. Accuracy of wind records and forecasts can vary so confirm conditions with local sources.
and for a variety of countries.
Once you have selected your destination, zero in on what gear to bring. Research the probable kite size range that you may need at your destination through kitebeaches.com
, local kiteboard associations
, shops, kiteboading schools
Aaaah, perfect 20 m weather!? Well not really, do your homework before traveling.
Try to cover the probable wind range as best you can and still be able to pack your kites. Your advanced wind research and local confirmation are important steps in selecting the correct sizes to bring along. The new flat kites may help somewhat in reducing the quantity needed at least inside of wind extremes.
Consider using vacuum bags to shrink wrap well rolled kites. More about vacuum bags (available at many housewear stores) HERE
You may need to borrow a vacuum from housekeeping at your destination to reshrink your kite for your return. Note: bladder rotation can sometimes occur using this procedure.
Sucking it up, to carry more gear!
If you choose to pack a board as opposed to renting one at your destination you may have to pay extra to fly the gear. Sometimes people are charged and sometimes not. Try to keep your board 140 cm long, preferably shorter. Kite Ã¢â‚¬Å“Golf BagsÃ¢â‚¬