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Kitesurfing is a great water sport that lets you get out on the waves and experience the pull and give of the waves and wind. One of the greater aspects of this sport is that it is highly portable; all you need to bring along is that little bit of equipment to the water, and you’re set.
That being said, you will have to rely on the weather and water conditions to be good enough to allow you to participate and have fun. Luckily there are quite a few places around the United States that are great spots, and generally all year round too! If it’s more a seasonal spot, you can always try a new spot on the offseason, and return when the conditions improve in the new season.
Without further ado, in no particular order, here is a list of some of the best spots to go kitesurfing in the United States.
Best Kitesurfing Spots In The United States
Hawaii is well known for its beaches and surfing scene, and this extends to kitesurfing too. This is where kitesurfing spiritually originated from and gave us some of the best, world-class professional kitesurfers.
There are some pros and cons to this location, as expected from any location, but when it comes down to the experience you get on the waves, Oahu is undoubtedly one of the best in the United States and possibly the world.
The beaches and nature are stunningly beautiful, perfect for the surfing atmosphere. The waters are in the ideal condition pretty much all year round, with a reputation for being world-class. For kitesurfing, you also need to worry about the wind conditions, but worry not, for the trade winds across the Oahu beaches are in mint condition.
However, as the place is quite popular and famous for its surfing conditions, it is quite tourist-oriented and advertised as a place to visit on vacation. This can lead to quite a crowded area and has inflated prices when it comes to staying there. If you are coming from somewhere else other than the United States, you will likely experience much longer flights and potentially double flights.
Cape Hatteras is a collection of islands connected by bridges along the North Carolina coast, bending out from the mainland and then returning. These islands are particularly interesting when it comes to kitesurfing. There are quite a variety of conditions within this one small area, making it a proper playground of possibilities for the enterprising kitesurfer.
As this is quite a varied area in terms of conditions, you can expect to find kitesurfers of any caliber from beginners and newcomers to seasoned veterans. The water conditions vary in size, from flats to chops, to waves, all along this single coastline. The winds are just as varied, with steady 10+ knots and a strong downwind for those seeking a bit more adventure.
With this great variety, you’ll have to be extra cautious. One of the downsides of this location is that the wind speed can vary a bit too much, so be sure to bring additional boards and kites to suit the conditions. Also, be wary of the shells that litter the water and beaches, as this can lead to some nasty cuts if you aren’t careful.
South Padre Island
For a similar location to Cape Hatteras that maybe won’t be as crowded, South Padre Island is located on the southern coast of Texas, near the border of Mexico. The conditions are quite similar to Cape Hatteras, in that they are varied with waters that range from flats to chops, to waves. This is also the longest barrier island in the world, so you’ll almost be guaranteed a quiet spot if you look hard enough.
Unlike Cape Hatteras, the wind speeds aren’t always the most optimal. They generally range between 10 and 20 knots but can fall below 10 on some days. Actually getting to the beach can also be a struggle, as the entire area is covered in sand, so if you don’t have the right vehicle, you’ll have to walk. If you do happen to have a good car, be aware of where you park, as the tidal conditions vary wildly across the day.
Columbia River Gorge
If you’re looking for a location seemingly made for kitesurfing, look no further than the Columbia River Gorge. This area has essentially been designated for all kinds of outdoor and water-based activities, with people flocking here every year. The main draw here is the scenery and facilities.
There is a considerable kitesurfing community here to help you facilitate the activity and give you pointers and tips if you’re a newcomer to the sport. Other than that, you can enjoy a fantastic vacation here exploring and admiring the beautiful mountainous backdrop. The wind speeds are great, ranging from 10 knots to greater than 25 knots.
There are some turn-offs about this area, unfortunately. As a popular vacation spot, you’ll have to contend with crowds and droves of not just other kitesurfers, but vacationers too. Boaters also prove a problem as they disrupt the waves. Otherwise, the only thing you have to worry about is the colder water, which isn’t always a problem, depending on who you are.
San Francisco is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations on the bucket list of many avid kitesurfers. To kitesurf under the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most exceptional experiences for kitesurfers, and there are plenty of other great spots too.
This is no place for beginners because it is a challenge for veterans to try and tame and ride the choppy waves and gusts of wind. If you want adrenaline-fueled experiences and you’re no newcomer to the sport, then this should be one of the top locations to visit in your life.
The only real downsides are that the water is almost terrifyingly cold, and getting from location to location can be a bit difficult thanks to traffic. While it is generally recommended that only advanced kitesurfers participate here, there are some kitesurfing schools for beginners. If you are a beginner, do not go alone, as it will be a rough ride.