Friday, September 8, 2017

The little treasure on the outskirts of the Caribbean Sea: Curaçao

Characterized by a semi-arid climate and a very different vegetation compared to the classic tropical Caribbean, Curacao is indeed more similar to the southwest of the United States. In fact, the landscape is full of various species of cactus, evergreens and spiny bushes.

Nevertheless, the island strikes with interesting spots, which offer a great diversity of kiting conditions, for all the levels of riders.

Nick Brouwer, the owner and instructor at Nixkitecuracao, helped us find out what the island has to offer.

Saint Joris Bay

Saint Joris Bay is absolutely the top location for kitesurfers on Curacao. It is actually a large lake, which connects to the Caribbean Sea though a canal. The spot is very popular not only for the 'Curaçaoans,' but also for many kite-tourists coming for flat water conditions.

The spot, which is very easy to access, offers an onshore wind with the first 40 meters of shallow water, usually with mirror-smooth surface. The spot is for sure ideal for people who still have to learn kitesurfing or have little experience in riding.

If we don’t want to get to far from Willemstad, the island’s capital, we can go to Marie Pompoen, where we can find side-shore winds and pleasant conditions of shallow waves. However, the spot is suitable only to advanced riders, due to the difficult access to the water, consisting in narrow passages through the rocky coastline.

Little Curacao

Expert Kite surfers can find great conditions in Little Curacao (Klein Curaçao). It is a deserted island located 10 kilometers southeast of Curacao with turquoise waters, shipwrecks and great waves. Of course, kiting in Little Curacao is beautiful, but also pretty difficult, and the spots are only suitable for advanced riders.

The waves around the little island are quite big with side winds.

Little Curacao

The island in uninhabited, but we can easily find daily flights to this little paradise, which still remains an important breeding ground for various bird species. 

Little Curacao

Wind conditions.

The season on Curacao runs between December and August. The best period is between May and July, when the wind blows between the 15/ 25 knots every day. September, October and November there is no wind.

It's pretty easy to find good accommodations on the island. In order to be close to the main spot of Saint Joris Bay, stay at Hacienda La Bouganville,  which is located less than 2 km from it.

Hacienda Bouganville

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

El Cuyo: the potential new kite Mecca in the Yucatan Peninsula.

This winter I had the chance to pass sometimes for business in the Riviera Maya, the beautiful coast area going from Cancun to Tulum, passing by Playa del Carmen. I consider myself a bit of a local in this area, since I have been kiting here several times and for medium-long periods.

Whenever I come back I enjoy meeting old and new friends on the beach and share experiences, having sessions together in the turquoise and warm waters of this Mexican paradise.

David Furchtgott Nussbaum

Talking about old friends I met again with pleasure David from Morph kiteboarding and the occasion was visiting his new  kite luxury guest house ‘Casa Morph’ in El Cuyo. David is a great kiter which I had the pleasure to see in action and to portray in a couple of my pictures, but he is also a smart and active entrepreneur and Casa Morth is his last great idea.

Casa Morph

The magnificent new property, built by David, lies directly on the beach, in the best central position, and it is so well designed that it blends architectural beauty to functionality as a kitesurfing guest house of unmatched quality. Quite a huge contrast between the surrounding laid back  posadas in town. The rooms are noting but luxury and spacious, with very elegant furnishing and huge showers bathrooms. Definitely the place to be for a kite holiday of great comfort.

The beach from Casa Morph

The spot: I already knew about the steady and reliable winds of this place, but I could not imagine to find such great conditions for kiting  as I experienced.

On the shores of El Cuyo, the wind blows practically every day due to the thermal effect of the hot Yucatan flat behind the coastline. In fact, just after the sun rises, the wind starts blowing with an unstoppable growing rate. You can have 14-16 knots in the morning, up to over 20-22 in the afternoon.

The Beach in El Cuyo

The coast is just a huge spot all long for several miles of sandy beach and the water varies from choppy within the early wind to wavy with the strong afternoon ones.

The wind blows massively up to the sunset, constant and with no gusts, steady as if it was blown by a gigantic fan. The same fan which just switches off just few minutes after sunset, showing how important is the thermal effect produced by the combination of the sun connected with the flat and hot Yucatan land.

 Talking with David I found out he is trying to grant access for kiters to the immense lagoon behind the coastline. This area is in fact a protected reserve and a massive undisciplined amount of people throwing their kite in wouldn’t be tolerated (well environment first, I’d say). 

El Cuyo Lagoon

We know how often overcrowded kite spots can create problems and the local communities are very protective about environmental problems. But here comes David with the proposal to the authorities of a daily quota fee limited group of kiters in the lagoon. That might convince the authorities to let supervised kiters to access ride in it.

If this attempt would be successful El Cuyo could become a great new Kite paradise in the heart of the Mayan land. 

The condition are great and this spot offers waves and flat waters for freestylers. Very close to the U.S. and to the Riviera Maya, full of tourists and therefore kiters, this place, with its constant winds all year round, will become very popular soon..

What to add more? Good Luck David for your great initiative, I’ll be visiting Casa Morph very often.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Guess what?! Right way rules!

It's never enough to remind how much these rules are important. You see a lot of riders, both beginners and experts, ignoring them and creating dangerous or at least unpleasant situations.

Rule #1

The rider entering the water from the beach has right of way over the incoming rider.

Kiteboarding right way rule #1

Rule #2
Starboard rider (kite on the right-hand side) has priority over oncoming rider and should keep his course and pass upwind with the kite higher.

Rule #3
When two riders are traveling in the same direction, the faster rider coming up from behind must give way to the slower rider in front

Kiteboarding right way rule #3b

Rule #4 -
The rider surfing a wave has priority over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction.

Kiteboarding right way rule #4

Rule #5 -
Right of way must be given to other ocean and beach users. Kiteboarders must travel downwind to them.

Rule #6
In order to perform a safe jump, a rider must have a clear safety zone of 50m downwind and 30m upwind.

Kiteboarding right way rule #6 - Jumps

Rule #7
Give the right way to all the riders taking kiting lessons or to unexperienced riders with to consistent upwind capabilities.

Kiteboarding right way rule #7

Rule #8
Body drag kiters have the right way over riding ones

Kiteboarding right way rule #8

If you are passing upwind, bring your kite UP. If you are passing downwind, bring your kite DOWN.

Kiteboarding right way golden rule

Common sense Rule
Remember to use common sense in applying the rules (if someone doesn't comply to them, It's not a good excuse to crash into him): stay away from other riders, whenever possible !

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The new idea for testing latest kites in the U.S. directly at your home spot.

Kitesurfers always seek to have de chance to give a try to the new materials freshly ‘baked’ by the most famous brands.
Normally this desire turn out to be difficult to fulfill since test days are pretty rare and they are organized by the major brands in few spots. The only way to try new materials is to wait for them to arrive in the local kite shop, hoping the owner considers to have a test kite. The only other option is to hope in some friend’s lack of jealousy for his own gear, who might let you give it a try.
David Pike contacted me few days ago with an interesting idea on how to overcome the new gear testing problems. 
The concept is pretty simple: create a concierge rental service, which can provide the desired kite, mailed directly to your house’s front door.
But let’s hear the description of the idea directly from David words:

So David, talk us about this new service for U.S. kitesufers.
“We provide kiteboarders with the opportunity to demo the latest model kites no matter where in the US they live. We've found that our customers fall into two categories:
- those travelling on vacation and not wanting to ship all their gear;
- those who are looking to buy a new kite but having trouble deciding which brand to go with.
We've been able to procure kites from all the top brands and are adding more each week.  We already include Cabrinha, North, Naish, Airush, Liquid Force, Slingshot, and Core amongst others”.

Demo a Kite

How did you have this interesting idea ?
“The genesis for the business came to me six months ago as I was looking to purchase a new 12m Freeride kite.  I wanted to try all these different brands but not having a shop near me, it wasn't possible.  Also, shops tend to only carry certain brands.  They might have North but not Core.  We have a more encompassing lineup of kites”.

I have some safety concerns: it might occur that some beginner, with no proper kiteboarding training, would want to ‘give it a try’ without buying a kite, turning this into a dangerous practice both for them and the others. Renting a kite with you would be definitely cheaper than buying one and these might lead to give some bad ideas to newbies which might think they don’t need a proper training. Did you consider this problem and how did you overcame it ?
“First, we only rent kites and bars i.e. an incomplete package. A kiteboarder would have to own a harness and board. As it's not cheap to purchase these two items, this screens out a majority of beginners. Second, we require renters to sign a liability waiver, assert they are at a certain skill level, and make sure they understand they are responsible for the repair costs of damaging a kite (not cheap). Lastly and most importantly, we talk with each customer immediately after they checkout. It's similar to an approval process. We want to see where they kiteboard, what level they are at (ensuring they can stay upwind, transition, ride toe-side, etc.), where they learned, and how long they've been kiting. We get a full sense of the renter's abilities before releasing the kite to them”. 

Demo a Kite website

Your service is now limited to U.S.: are you planning to expand it also in EU or somewhere else ?
“Yes, we are currently planning our expansion to Canada.  We are also in talks to partner with a firm to offer rentals in the EU”.

How long can each rental last in terms of duration?
“Rentals can last as long as they prefer.  If the kiteboarder wants to purchase the kite, we deduct the rental fees from the purchase price of the kite”.

You perform only kite rentals at the moment, do you think you’ll consider also kiteboards in the future ?
“Yes, we are actually talking now with several kiteboard manufacturers to offer their products on
The biggest issue we are trying to solve is the increased shipping fee for boards”.

What are your future goals ?
“We hope to continue to grow and eventually offer all brands and kites.  Additionally, we hope to add all kiteboarding gear so I rider can demo a whole package.”  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Safety in Kitesurfing, a new creative approach from Gray Robinson and the Tarifa Freestyle Academy team.

Since one of the most important topic of this blog is kitesurfing safety, it's a big pleasure for me to host the following guest post about infographics on safety in kiteboarding, written by Gray Robinson of the Tarifa Freestyle Academy Team.

If there is ONE golden rule in Kitesurfing whether on the beach or on the water riding, it is who´s kite has priority in the position it is flying within the wind window.
The up-wind kitesurfer as seen in our infographics on Safety 101, his/her kite must move to a higher position withing the wind window, towards 12 oclock being the position of the kite directly over head.
Equally so for the down-wind kitesurfer his/her kite must move lower within the wind window respectfully, closer to 3 oclock or 9 oclock positions thus closer to the water. “This is critical to prevent kite collisions both on the water and on the beach”.
There is always the possibility for two kites to collide. As many of the famous kitesurfing locations or school teaching areas around the world are now getting very saturated with kites, it is more important than ever to know what to do when your kite collides with another.  Your first response should not be to yell, give the bird or argue but must be to let go of the bar which ultimately de-powers the kite, and second response is to release the saftey release system which disconnects the kite from the rider. (Dont forget everybody is out to have fun, it is not normally anybodys intention to crash into your kite, so if this does happen having a clear head is of the upmost importance, both for your saftey and the others and ultimately the harmony of the sport).
We rarely see in Kitesurfing anybody getting injured from two kites colliding, however it is paramount to release the bar first, and then release the safety system second when your kite collides with another, or anothers kite collides with you.
Most important reason being is kite can end up kite-looping through the power zone due to tangled lines most respectfully unequal tension on the steering lines causing the kite into what is also called a death loop. Thus a kite that is looping through the power zone out of control is surely most dangerous situation in the sport of kitesurfing, especially if the rider is on land.
Whats important to note is, once your safety system has been released, this problem should NOT arise. With your safety system released, even if the kite is still looping through the power zone, due to any reason (like un-equal steering line tension due to tangled lines), there will be very little or no power in the kite thus no danger.
With proper training you will be well aware of the two safety systems, the first is the chicken loop which can be seen in our Series 1: Safety 101 Infographics, please see to view. As there is also a secondary safety release system, that can be used if the rider is still in danger after releasing the main safety release. Thus releasing the safety leash which attaches from the bar to harness, dis-attaches the kite completely from the rider. (Which can be an expensive release, however if it is your life or a kite it will be a definate no brainer).
As detailed in our previous series of Saftey in Kitesurfing, fight or flight response is to tense up and pull in. An example would be if an attacker lunges for the victim, the victims first primal response is to tense up and pull in, as being ready to fight back, or (fight and flight response).
This response is counter productive in kitesurfing, and is actually the leading cause, of a potentially small accident turning into a larger accident.
When the rider pulls down on the bar, it sheets in or powers up the kite, obviously in an emergency situation this is not the response you would want to make.
Thus it is important to take lessons with a kitesurfing school that not only teaches using a highly progessive training methodology, but uses a safety first protocol. A good instructor will have 3 levels of defence in front of your safety.
This sums up our Series 2: On whom has the right of way in kitesurfing, and what to do if your kite collides with another. 

Please feel free to post any questions or concerns you may have in regards to Safety in Kitesurfing. In Tarifa in high season we see two or three kites collide together on average every 30 minutes. 

Thus it is definately a topic that deserves more discussion, that concerns all kiters whether beginner or pro as should be a call for action for more awareness on the beach and on the water.

The Tarifa Freestyle Academy team.

Gray Robinson

Credits: Kitesurfing School: Complete Guide in our series of Saftey First in Kitesurfing. TARIFA FREESTYLE ACADEMY

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pro-kitesurfers on Murrebue beach - Bruno Dubosq and Charlotte Consorti

It has been a privilege to meet Bruno Dubosq and his girlfriend Charlotte Consorti last August. Charlotte is six-times World Champion in kitespeed, basically the fastest girl around with a kite.
They arrived to Murrebue, Mozambique, continuing their endless research of new kitesurfing spots around the world. The result is an incredible collection of videos from the most diverse, exotic places all over the planet (see Charlotte's youtube channel ), to inspire every kitesurfer out there

Bruno and Charlotte filming kitesurfing tricks

They brought lots of kite and video/photography equipment together with their dedication to capture the best shots in Mozambique. It was amazing see them in action on the board and beyond it. 
It might look like that every “wow” shot happens naturally to these breathtaking kitesurfers, but the truth is you need a lot of tries to get to the optimal result for the final video. So it was very interesting to observe them in their tireless efforts to get that one golden shot.

On the car to the next downwind

Together, we spent every day on the beach, while they searched for different shot angles, explored nearby mangroves, or came with me and Carlo (the owner of the lodge and of local kitesurfing school Il Pirata) for a nice downwind session.

Charlotte Consorti kitesurfing in the lagoon

Charlotte, Bruno, Carlo, Susanna at il Pirata

A lot of great memories that can be best described in their fantastic video about kitesurfing in Murrebue, Mozambique:

Wanr to come and join us? Take a look Here!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

the first Sci Fi novel with a kitesurfer as protagonist...

Becoming Quetzalcoatl

Bored by the lack of wind ?
Here's the solution: the first Sci Fi novel that portrays a kitesurfer as protagonist.

This is how Greg Brulte, the author,describes his last work: "The main character tries to jump a pier down in Mobile, Alabama, at night, and injures himself.  When they take an MRI, his beautiful E.R.  doctor discovers an alien implant in him that has the image of a crop-circle on it from the year 2007.   That crop-circle pointed to specific dates in 2012 that supposedly foretold of the return of the Mayan god.  
Nothing happened in 2012, but the kite-boarder did go missing during those dates..."

Soon it might become the plot of an Hollywood movie, so you shouldn't miss the chance of this premiere: mostly because for today only(Sept. 26 2015) you can download it on Amazon the Kindle version for free, just follow this link Link. After today you'll still be able to find it at a very convenient price, following the same link. 

Don't lose the chance to be the first among the readers of this future blockbuster!

A couple of questions to the author:

Greg, do you kitesurf?
No...  I don't kite-surf, but I see them practically every day off of the Silver Strand, south of Coronado, California.  It looks like so much fun that I want to try  it :)  I have para-sailed, before, behind a boat".

This is not your first novel, how many did you write?
"'Becoming Quetzalcoatl' is my 9th novel... well, technically my 8th, since one of my books is a collection of short stories.
All of my books are what I would describe as Sci-Fi/Romances or Paranormal/Romances told mainly from a male point of view, which I think is a point of view lacking in today's market.  I try to make the books so that they appeal to both sexes... enough romance for the women, and enough action/science/mystery for the guys.  Of course, I know it's not that simple, because there is quite a bit of overlap in people's interests".

How do you get the inspiration to write?
"When I write, I just sit down and whatever comes out, comes out.  I usually have no idea of what the book is about until I write it.  That way, it keeps the reader guessing about the twists and turns... keeps me guessing, too.  I wish I would have tried this technique, earlier, because using it has resulted in 9 books in 4 years :)  I could probably do more if I didn't teach so much".

By the way, we proudly provided the cover artwork ;-)