For many, there is nothing more appealing than touring the world’s very best beaches in search of sun, sea and sand. From the pristine beauty of the Caribbean to the endless stretches of paradisiacal Asian and South American sand, all fringed by palm trees and crystal-clear waters, it would take a long time to see them all.
But for some, sun, sea and sand are not enough, and it’s all about the surf instead. Adventure sports enthusiasts flock to where the biggest waves are, from Australia to Bali, to take on the challenge of a lifetime – because relaxing on the beach 24/7 isn’t for everyone, and sometimes, you just crave that adrenaline hit.
One sport that is becoming increasingly popular across the globe is kitesurfing. Having gradually made its way into the mainstream since the early 90s, it is now becoming highly sought-after pursuit by thrill-seekers the world over, with online kit stores like Surface 2 Air Sports reporting healthy sales each year as those who take the sport seriously seek to equip themselves with the highest-quality gear for yet another serious season of kite-surfing.
So, whether you’re a seasoned adrenaline junkie or are aiming to push yourself out of your comfort zone in 2020, we’ve rounded up the three top kite-surfing destinations in the world to make your next trip a memorable one. Offering plenty of culture and natural beauty to enjoy as well as the beachside action, these places are great all-rounders that you won’t want to miss out on.
The kitesurfing world has Maui to thank for catapulting the sport into the mainstream back in the 1990s, with pioneers first taking to the waters here to get to grips with this new and exciting pursuit.
Maui remains one of the best destinations in the world for kitesurfing, and is almost as famous for it as it is surfing. Conditions are perfect year-round, so a stroll along the beach is guaranteed to allow you a privileged view of some of the world’s finest in action, whenever you decide to go – that is, of course, if you’re not already out there in the thick of it yourself.
Wind is practically guaranteed in this tropical paradise, with a fringing reed creating flat-water lagoons that are perfect for free-riders. Launch spots can be tight though, so be sure to check in with a local surf school before you head out to get the low-down on all you need to know. There s strictly no launching permitted before 11am, so use the time to explore the island’s beautiful mountains and beaches by hiking or mountain-biking – or simply take the time to relax.
Located on the southern tip of Spain on the Costa de la Luz, Tarifa, in the province of Cádiz, should be on every luxury traveller’s bucket list – and all the more so if they happen to be a kitesurfing enthusiast.
Tarifa enjoys a unique climate that sets it apart from the rest of Andalucía, with its winds drawing in kite surfers from across the globe, year-round. If you’re looking for adrenaline, then this is the place, and it’s easy to while away a good few hours watching the fearless participate in this white-knuckle sport, even if it’s not your bag.
With numerous surf schools dotted along the beach, it’s a great place for novices to learn the ropes, too. You’ll find everything you need here to get your first set of surfer’s wings, whatever your age.
The influx of international visitors to Tarifa creates a laid-back vibe that has become one of the area’s biggest charms – but there’s plenty more to see off the beach, too. The winding, white-washed streets and lively atmosphere are a nod to times gone by, and to the fusion of cultures that makes this Spanish hotspot so unique.
Lake Garda, Italy
Italy’s largest and most picturesque lake is a popular kitesurfing hotspot amongst Europeans, who flock to its pebbly shores to enjoy a heady mix of al fresco dining and drinking combined with adrenaline-fuelled days out on the lake. When it comes to picturesque destinations, it doesn’t get much better than this, and being here almost feels as if you have stepped straight into a postcard.
With steep hills plunging from the Alps, Lake Garda enjoys two main wind patterns, with the early morning Peler funnelling cool air from the north, making it the perfect time for early risers to take to the water and beat the crowds that descend later in the day. Later, as the air over the lake warms, the Ora surges from the south – giving surfers a second ‘wind’ (if you’ll excuse the pun), and a chance to enjoy the sport throughout the day.
May to September is the best time to visit, but due to the lakes limited pebbly shores, launch spots are in high demand. Lift service boats will take you out onto the lake for ease instead, which is recommended.
If you’re looking for sun, sand and surf – with a good dose of luxury thrown in – then these three destinations won’t disappoint. The only dilemma remaining is, which to head to first.