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Learning to Kitesurf in Tarifa, Spain
#Tarifa in #Spain is known to be one of the best places in the world to go #kitesurfing, an #active sport that's rapidly gaining popularity. I took lessons from one of the best schools and recommend 3 days to master the sport. If you're anxious to try it, this is the place.
The wind is blowing strong and hard, tugging at my kite. Overhead, the sun’s rays are glaring and blinding my eyes. The wide, sandy beach stretches for miles and the cool waters of the Mediterranean are calling.
I’m in Tarifa, trying my hands at kitesurfing, a sport I’ve long wanted to dabble in. For the uninitiated, kitesurfing is a water sport that harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a board similar to a wakeboard.
kitesurfing is a water sport that harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite
I’ve done surfing in Bali, wakeboarding in the Philippines and sailing in Hawaii, kitesurfing seems like the natural progression. I’ve also heard that kitesurfing is actually quite easy to learn and you can feel like a pro in just a few days.
Here in the southernmost point of continental Europe, the strong winds make Tarifa one of the best places to learn kitesurfing. Known as the wind capital of Europe, Tarifa benefits from daily windy conditions, from two main directions; East and West.
Known as the wind capital of Europe, Tarifa benefits from daily windy conditions
The winds blow across this part of Spain all year round, although the most popular season is from July to August. In winter, the temperatures are warm and mild, between 12 and 20 degrees, and in the summer temperatures rise to 30 or 35 degrees.
A Crash Course in Kitesurfing
I’ve signed up for a four-hour beginner kite course at Aurelia Herpin Kite School to learn the basics. The school offers a whole range of courses from beginners to advanced, in the form of private and group lessons (two persons per instructor). You can also choose any duration from one day to a week.
My kitesurfing lesson starts bright and early at Playa de los Lances, a 7km stretch of wide sandy beach just outside of Tarifa town. The beach is part of the Natural Park of the Strait (Parque Natural del Estrecho) and is protected by the park authorities.
It’s a hot favorite among kitesurfing schools because of the large bay that is exposed to lots of wind without any obstruction and the wide sandy space that allows for land practice.
The beach is nothing like the touristy, crowded beaches in other parts of southern Spain where beach benches fill every inch of the sand. Here, the wide beach sprawls for miles without any resort or beach bench in sight.
Beginners Private Kitesurfing Lessons
Tour of Seville Cathedral, Alcazar and Santa Cruz Quarter
Day trip from Fes to Chefchaouen
Miguel, my instructor from Algeciras, has been teaching kitesurfing for over five years. An avid kitesurfing enthusiast, he spends half of the year here in the Mediterranean, and the other half teaching on the beaches of Philippines and Vietnam.
He chose to set up base here in Tarifa, not only because it’s one of the best places in the world to kitesurf, but also because it’s got a great surfing community and a vibrant nightlife and great atmosphere.
A Sport for Everyone
Kitesurfing is a relatively new sport, with some of the safety measures still being developed. Every year, there are numerous kitesurfing accidents taking place around the world. Miguel says that most of these accidents occur because of inexperienced surfers using old kites that are not designed with safety features. As long as you follow the rules, kitesurfing is a safe sport that doesn’t necessarily put your life at risks.
According to Miguel, anyone can learn kite surfing. “I’ve seen 200kg Russian men kitesurfing gracefully in Boracay. If they can do it, anyone can.”
anyone can learn kite surfing
Indeed, on the beach itself, there must have been at least 200 or more people trying to kitesurf. This sport has clearly gained a lot of popularity and is becoming the latest fad.
That said, it’s doesn’t mean that kitesurfing is easy and fast to learn. First you need to learn how to control the kite outside of the water, that alone took me 2hours, 30mins. Then you actually get into the water without a board where you learn to maneuver the kite and learn bodydragging (to be dragged on the water by the board).
Only after you’ve mastered these two stages, you can start practicing with the board. I barely reached the final stage in my 4 hour beginner’s kite course, but Miguel said I was already a fast learner. Most people usually need at least a 3 day course to pick up the basics of kitesurfing.
Most people usually need at least a three-day course to pick up the basics of kitesurfing
Overall, the experience was lots of fun and I can see myself pursing kitesurfing further. Even though I underestimated the amount of time needed to master it, I’m already looking forward to my next course.