Calling all thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies, and dynamic daredevils! You are a rare breed that resists the tendency to search for the easiest route throughout the day. You follow whatever makes your heart race, blood pump, and spirit soar. Adventure travel is daring, exciting, and it calls for boldness and enthusiasm that invite you deeper into life. If you want to explore the world from vantage points that only the most brave adventurers experience, then embrace the winds of change that are blowing you into these kiteboarding vacations!
Where there’s a will there’s a wave. Kiteboarding has taken flight in nearly every water-filled nook and cranny the world is secreting. But for all you serious swashbucklers out there, here are some of the crème de la crème of the best kiteboarding locations for you to take flight.
Australia might have 99 problems, but a beach ain’t one. Oz is a kiteboarding paradise with endless utopian beaches and a variety of wind speeds for all skill levels. Western Australia offers crystal clear water, cross-shore breezes, and no boats, swimmers, or riff raff to ruin the fun. On the other side of the island, New South Wales motions in silky, flat water on the daily, with tons of riding areas to explore. Trek farther north and experience waters as warm and smooth as hot butter in the Sunshine Coast. Consistent winds, waves, and an average of 310 days of fun-in-the-sun a year might even spark an Endless Summer trip.
Kiteboarding Costa Rica brews up a one-of-a-kind adventure on the copious beaches outlining the edges of the country. During the windy season (October through May) your best bet is to head to Bahía Salinas in Guanacaste. It is the best place to learn kiteboarding, where giddy riders shred beneath magnificent rainbows that arch over a wide bay. But, don’t be afraid to try some lesser known spots during the off-season. You’ll likely be one of the only kiteboarders out there pioneering the newest secret spot.
South Africa kiteboarding culture has blown up every place where land and water meet, thanks to the idyllic winds that grace the country’s presence. But if you’re looking for kiteboarding central, head straight to Cape Town. At the end of your session, if you haven’t maxed out your adrenaline meter yet, South Africa has plenty of activities to soothe your madcap soul. Dive with sharks, paraglide off Lion’s Head, or abseil off the top of Table Mountain to get your daily fix inbetween your kiteboarding lessons.
Spain is the top destination for kiteboarding in Europe, housing the most populated kiteboarding hotspot in the world. Tarifa attracts many amateurs and pros throughout the year and hundreds of kites flock to the city in the peak of summer. It can get busy, but the mellow surfer vibes that wash over the city always keep it real. Hang loose bro. Tarifa has more to offer than really consistent winds. There is also a pulsating nightlife in the town to unwind from your heart-pounding daytime activities.
Not all kiteboarding adventures abroad are created equal. Other than the fact that you end each day salty, sandy, and gloriously tanned, there are still additional factors to consider. Catch wind of some different kiteboarding abroad programs offered.
To add some extra meaning to your travel and squeeze your pack full of compassion AND your kiteboarding gear, consider volunteering in between kiteboarding lessons. Lead by example and unleash some of your enthusiasm for life on the locals. There is a lot of work to be done in areas such as at-risk youth, teaching, conservation, and construction. When not volunteering, there is time to enjoy plenty of leisure activities and take in the natural beauty of the land and sea.
Start one of your life’s greatest experiences with a work and travel program in the best kitesurfing destinations. You can travel at your own pace and contact your local cooperator’s office for job offers and housing assistance when needed. This is a flexible program that allows for as much kiteboarding as you can handle. You get to choose where you work and travel wherever the wind takes you!
To brush up on some of that Spanish (or another language) you’ve already forgotten from high school, consider peppering some language courses into your kiteboarding vacations. These programs are aimed at students and lifelong learners who wish to get a better grasp on a foreign language without being locked in a classroom all day. Instead, leisure activities are used to enhance learning in a more entertaining way.
Tips & Advice for Kiteboarding Abroad
Let us guess, “safety” is your middle name? Sorry, no one is buying what you’re selling today. The biggest piece of advice given out when doing a kiteboarding program abroad is your mother’s favorite adage, “safety first!” Not that extreme sports junkies are usually keen on rules, but just keep in mind some countries have kiteboarding laws, so don’t throw caution to the wind. Obey the rules in designated areas. They are there for your safety and others.
Consider investing in a GPS and/or signaling device. A signaling device can be as simple as a whistle attached to a knife or reflective tape applied to your helmet. Some free stylers’ kiteboarding gear includes a two-way radio in a waterproof pouch to use in an emergency. An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) should also be on your R.E.I. shopping list before you head out. It is small and can be carried and activated to send out a distress signal if you get in hot water.
While it is nice to bask in the luxury of paying someone else to do all the tedious planning for you, you still have responsibilities of your own. Program coordinators will usually take care of the logistics such as booking transportation, squaring away visas, and finding accommodation. But it’s up to you to memorize emergency procedures, basic wilderness first response techniques, and familiarize yourself with dangerous wildlife.
Benefits & Challenges
Squad Goals. Shared experiences are the best experiences. Rather than embark on a solo voyage, join a program abroad to give you an instant community in kitesurfing destinations. It’s highly unlikely you will be the only solo traveler in the group, which is fertile ground for making friends. Oftentimes, these adventures have an element of pushing you out of your comfort zone to face your fears. There is something very satisfying and rewarding in helping others overcome these fears, and to let others support you in overcoming yours, too. Accountability, baby!
Do Your Homework. Preparing to travel to the best kiteboarding locations takes a LOT of work. Especially for individuals keen on exploring off-the-beaten path destinations and getting more in touch with a country’s wild side. Rather than just showing up on day one ready to party, take the time in advance to actively research your destinations, including their cultures, latest history, contemporary issues, and helpful words in their native language.
Locals Only. Localism is common among beach towns, especially those that are seasonally encroached upon by vacationers. Even though wind and waves are not a rarity along coastlines, there are still those coveted sweet spots and a beach with great conditions may easily become a breeding ground for territorialism. Local kiteboarders may guard it jealously and try to deter foreigners from launching in certain spots for kiteboarding lessons. If you did your homework (see above) then you’ve already brainstormed ways to combat this peacefully and have authentic interactions with the locals.
Get High. Extreme sport adrenaline rushes are much higher than average, releasing all those euphoric endorphins in your brain (a.k.a. runner’s high), which create a feeling of wellness. In addition, kiteboarding abroad allows you to experience new sensations, like the feeling of flying, which increases your level of happiness. If you’re not high as a kite by now, just factor in all the fresh air constantly oxygenating your soul and you’ll be flying high!
Do you believe you can fly? Kiteboarding vacations allow you to spread your wings and go wherever the wind takes you. But if you can’t change the direction of the wind, remember to adjust your sails to reach your destination. Don’t let your kitemare of a life half-lived be true; soar into a kiteboarding adventures abroad!