The Foolproof Guide for Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos for Beginners
Ask any avid kiteboarder who's experienced kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos. There's an unrivaled thrill found in gliding over the warm flat water while harnessed to a large kite pushed by the wind. This adventure watersport is a spectacular way to refocus after months of back-to-back work from the 9-5 race, become one with nature, and live in the moment. And if you're kiteboarding with friends, it's a unique opportunity to bond while you cheer each other to achieve particular milestones.
But if you're a beginner, you're probably wondering how to start, balance on the board, and if it requires a great deal of skill.
Let's explore kiteboarding, help you debunk myths you may have heard, and tell you why Beach Enclave in Turks and Caicos is the ideal location to start kiteboarding.
What is Kiteboarding?
Kiteboarding, an action sport, involves riding over water while you're harnessed to a large kite propelled by the wind. Here are some basic terms that come with it:
- Kite: Like a toy kite, the kite used in kiteboarding is to gather wind and fly in the air. However, this kite is much more sophisticated and is designed to collect enough wind to pull you across the water. There are different types and designs for kiteboarding kites.
- Knot: This is the term used for wind speed. One knot is equivalent to 1.15 miles per hour.
- Offshore Wind: This is when the wind blows to the water from the shoreline. The danger with kiteboarding in strong offshore wind is that it may blow you farther than intended.
- Upwind: Upwind means riding against the wind's direction.
- Downwind: Downwind implies riding toward the wind's direction.
- Quick Release: This system allows riders to let go of the kite or harness when the offshore wind is too strong.
- Chicken Loop: This is a loop that grips you on the hook and bar control.
Common Misconceptions about Kiteboarding
Sure, kiteboarding has some requirements, but some widely popularized conditions are just myths. For example:
1. You have to be strong or athletic
The idea is to control the kite and not to outmuscle it. Therefore, you need skills and not strength to ride well and safely. When you learn how to ride correctly, the harness controls the kite and not you. You only use your hands to reduce the kite's power, and the kite pulls you as much as you let it pull you. If you can ride a bike, you can fly a kite!
2. You have to be a great swimmer
Most of the skills you need in kiteboarding are about understanding the mechanics of the kite, harness, and how the wind blows. Being a strong swimmer does not help you understand any of those mechanics. Plus, when kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos, you’ll be in waist-deep water even when you are two miles from the shoreline.
3. You have to be young
This misconception is founded on the belief that you have to man the kite by your strength, and therefore, anyone without much strength or old cannot do it safely. The truth is there are no particular age limits for kiteboarding. All you need is the willingness to learn and obey safety precautions –such as avoiding riding in gusty winds until you're trained for it.
Conditions that Make for Great Kiteboarding
Beginner lessons are essential for you to learn kiteboarding techniques. In addition to teaching how to get on the board, your instructor will equip you with safety tips and how to control the kite. They'll also teach you the different kinds of kites and tell you which one suits you at different stages. Still, there's such a thing as perfect conditions for kiteboarding:
1. Consistent and Reliable Wind
Steady wind is vital for beginners. You're also safer riding with side-onshore winds. These winds run parallel to the shoreline and keep the waves small. They also allow you to travel away from the shore on your outbound tack and make it easy to get back to shore if your kite falls in the water and it's hard to relaunch. Light offshore winds are also ideal. They travel from the land toward the shoreline and into the water.
When it comes to wind speed, you need about 12 to 23 knots of wind. Lighter riders can use less speed, while riders weighing about 200 pounds will work well under wind speeds of 15 mph.
2. Flat Water
Flat water is essential for balancing as you begin to learn kiteboarding. New riders are best suited to flat water or waves that are waist-high. Waist-high waves are recommended as a safe start to learning how to navigate waves.
Shorter waves or flat water is also safer because they are closer to the shore. It makes it easy to return to the shore when you are ready to finish riding for the day.
3. Morning and Evening
The winds are lighter in the mornings and evenings and stronger in the afternoon. Light offshore winds during these times tend to keep the waves short and easy to control. Make a habit of visiting websites like Windguru or Windfinder to check the forecast and determine the wind conditions that will prevail on any particular day. It is safe for beginners to kite under 12 knots to 30 knots.
But, always remember that the weather can change, and that's why it's essential to follow safety guidelines at all times. And if you're kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos, the winds are lowest around August. As you improve, you can wait for the season between November and July, which has slightly stronger winds and coincide with the touring season.
4. Sandy Beach Bottom
Expert instructors prefer shallow waters with a sandy beach bottom with the water only reaching the waist of the trainee. This combination of conditions is important for balance, and the sand provides a better grip as you prepare to launch.
Why Choose Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos
The ideal waters that offer these conditions are found in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Beach Enclave Long Bay is especially suitable for beginners because it is uncrowded and offers kiteboarding from your own beach, with kiteboarders often having 20 miles between each other.
Big Blue Collective, the expert team of internationally certified IKO instructors, prefers to instruct beginners at this spot because of these factors.
And if you're visiting the islands and staying at Beach Enclave, you are invited to take a kiteboarding class with Big Blue Collective. All lessons are conducted in waist-deep waters so you can stand and have better balance. You also have the advantage of an extended wind season that runs from November to September.
Ready to Start Your Kiteboarding Adventure?
Your biggest challenges at the start are building your confidence and trusting your equipment. However, a good instructor will help you relax, teach you how to operate the equipment, and reassure you about the safety of each tool.
Most beginners, learn kite-flying and body-dragging fast, but learning to control the kite in different wind conditions, handling the board, and staying upwind takes more than a few lessons. Overall, Beach Enclave would love to host you in one of our villas in Turks and Caicos, as you kiteboard in the spectacular waters, relish the stunning views, and enjoy our delicious meals and facilities.