Kiteboarding in the United States
Whether you are looking for an adventure filled holiday or a laid-back beach vacation the U.S. has a destination for you. Explore the nature and mountains in Hood River or Hawaii, hang out on the Miami or South Padre Beaches or explore the world-famous San Francisco. You will find wind somewhere at any time of the year with a variety of conditions for riding. Smack some waves on the west coast, shred some flat water on South Padre and be sure to check out a slider park in Hatteras or Hood River.
Hatteras Island, North Carolina
Hatteras Island has quickly become one of the most well-known kiteboarding spots in the United States with possibly the most consistent and reliable winds in the country. The geological structure of the island makes it kiteable in any wind direction with a flat water lagoon on one side and ocean wave riding on the other. Though the island is small, there are plenty of spots to choose from with different riding conditions. Stay awhile and join a beginner or advanced kite camp to learn and progress your skills. You don’t have to miss a breath of wind because there is beachfront accommodation available for every taste- beach cottages, motels, bed & breakfast options as well as campsites.
The south side of Cape Hatteras (known as “The South Side”) offers great wave riding sessions when the wind blows from the SW- mainly in the spring or from the W later in the season. Salvo Day Use Area is perfect for beginners and intermediate riders, this area is on the lagoon side with flat, waist deep water, great with NW and SW winds. The Slick is an amazing freestyle spot with butter flat water no matter the wind speed. It is best on an SW wind and here you will find the pros throwing huge tricks or hitting sliders in the slider park.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Hood River, Oregon is an outdoor adventurers dream come true. Go kiteboarding, mountain biking, hiking and even glacier skiing all in the same day! Stay in accommodations downtown Hood River for easy access to the shops, cafes and outdoor activities. The sandbar is the main kiteboarding spot with flat water close to shore and choppy conditions the further offshore you ride. The wind funnels through the Gorge bringing reliable winds through the summer, which can be anywhere between light wind to nuking and sometimes gusty. The season begins in May through until August. The water temperatures are cold early season as the snow is melting but build through the season to a high of 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). Riding in a bikini/boardshorts is possible but at least a shorty wetsuit is recommended.
You can launch from Stevenson (Western Gorge), Hood River Sandbar (Central Gorge) or Rufus (Eastern Gorge). Be sure to check out the world famous slider park or head to the Oregon coastline, about 50 mins drive from Hood River for some epic wave riding.
Miami is another popular kiteboarding destination located in southern Florida with year-round winds. The tradewinds kick in in early winter with the most consistent and reliable winds between November and April. The hurricane season runs from July-September bringing strong winds and massive waves. Miami is the most populated area of Florida state bringing hundreds of thousands of beachgoers to the nearby beaches. Many rules and regulations have been put in place around kiteboarding to make the beach a safe place for everyone. Before going kitesurfing in Miami, it’s important to do your research and know all the rules before you go.
There are three main kitesurfing spots in Miami: Miami Beach has some great wave riding. The lifeguards expect kiters to stay out of the swim areas so intermediate-advanced skills are recommended. Crandon Park requires riders to be level 3+ IKO certified, there is a year or day fee which requires you to sign a waiver and read all the rules before launching. The water is beautiful blue with flat water conditions. Matheson Hammock Park is suitable to beginner-advanced riders with flat waters perfect for learning and freestyle. There are strict rules here for launching as well as on the water.
There is an abundance of budget and luxury hotels to choose from scattered along the Miami beachfront. Miami will keep you busy with wind or no wind. Visit alone or with friends, Miami’s kite beaches bring together kiters from around the world.
Other kiteboarding spots in Florida include: Jupiter, the Florida Keys, Florida Panhandle, Panama City, Big Beach and North Beach in the Tampa Bay area, Sanibel Island Lighthouse, Naples, Marco Island.
Check out some amazing kitesurfing experiences on bstoked
San Francisco has wind all year round, though the best wind comes May-October when the weather gets warmer and the thermal winds kick in. There are a variety of spots to ride for different ability levels with some only suitable for advanced riders. There is great kiting in the Bay Area, Sherman Island and along the south coast.
Bay Area, San Francisco
One of the most popular spots is Crissy Field with world-class riding conditions for kite surfers as well as windsurfers. This spot is for advanced riders only as there are strong currents and boat traffic is heavy including large cargo ships. Pt. Emery, Berkeley is a great spot when the conditions are right, though riders need to be able to stay upwind to avoid beach and water obstacles, so this is not a beginner area. Crowne Beach, Alameda is an amazing riding spot for all riding levels- beginners are welcome with the mild riding conditions and a safe downwind exit point. Third Avenue, Foster City requires riders to head upwind to avoid obstacles, though there is a small exit point downwind. Intermediate skills are recommended.
Sherman Island has always been a popular windsurfing spot and has quickly become a well-known kitesurfing spot with multiple kite schools in the area. The weather is warm and the winds are predictable during the summer months. The nearest accommodations are 20 mins away, though camping is available on the spot.
South Coast Wave Riding
If you are looking for some killer waves, the California coast is the place for you. Check out Arroya Laguna, County Line, C-Street Ventura, Tourmaline San Diego, Waddell Creek.
Maui and Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is a world famous kite and windsurfing destination with some of the most consistent wind and wave conditions on the planet. The wind blows through the whole year but the most consistent and reliable months are May-October. The two main kiteboarding spots are located on Maui and Oahu with winds blowing from the ENE between 15-35 knots creating perfect side onshore conditions for the north coast.
There are four main kite spots on Maui each offering different riding conditions. Kite beach is the best spot for beginners because if you fail to ride upwind, there is a safe exit point downwind of the launch site. Ka’a Point is for expert riders only because there are turbulent wind shadow and rocky downwind obstacles, Flash Beach is great for advanced and intermediate riders but it has lots of downwind obstacles including people, windsurfers, and a shallow reef. Finally, Lanes & Ho’okipa are suitable for expert wave riders only because of the large waves and dangerous downwind obstacles.
Kailua Bay is the main kiteboarding spot on Oahu offering conditions for every riding style. There is a grassy rigging area at the north end of the park. Having your gear ready to launch before heading down to the beach prevents congestion on the beach and lowers the risk of accidents with the public on the beach. All kite beaches in Hawaii have strict rules and regulations in place to keep the beaches a fun and safe place for kiters, beachgoers and other water sports enthusiasts. Following these rules will ensure that kiteboarding continues to be allowed on the Hawaiian beaches.
South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is another year-round kitesurfing paradise with warm weather, warm water and consistent winds averaging 17 knots. March-July is the most consistent months when the thermal winds kick in. Hurricane season starts in August through October bringing less reliable conditions but still many great riding days. When the northerly winds blow the wind speeds can pick up to 35 knots so bring all your kites!
The island runs north to south and is less than a mile wide creating amazing wave conditions on one side and butter flat, shallow water on the other. There is 15 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico offering insane wave downwinders where the waves can reach head height. There are a variety of accommodation options suited to every traveler and budget.
There are many kite spots along the coast and along Laguna Madre Bay. Dolphin Point and Boca Chica are great for riding the hurricane swells as the waves wrap around the jetties creating clean sets. The South Flats are best in north winds with flat and shallow water through a wind shadow is created when the wind blows from the south. The North Flats are similar to the South with shallow, flat water conditions but are suitable in all wind directions. These two locations are the best and safest for beginner riders and also great for freestyle riding. The race flats are similar to the North and South Flats and are suitable in all wind directions with flat water on one side and access to the Gulf of Mexico on the other. This is accessible with a 4×4 only. Holly Beach is located on the mainland, perfect for summer riding in the southeasterly winds but not suitable in north winds.
Like many of the other locations, there are rules and regulations around kiteboarding which are important to know before heading to the beach. Check with local kite schools and other kiters before heading out on the water.
Lessons for Beginners or Advanced Kiteboarders
Every popular kite spot in the USA will offer kiteboarding lessons, beginner-advanced. Learn from the beginning, learn to ride waves or progress your freestyle. Taking a lesson from a certified instructor or pro athlete is always a great way to keep progressing and having fun. Often schools will offer kiteboarding packages or camps to help make learning more affordable.
The United States is an amazing country to visit at any time of the year. Escape the winter and head to Florida in the winter, visit South Padre in the spring or head Hood River in the summer for some incredible kiteboarding conditions. Enjoy beachfront or mountainside accommodations in some of the best kitesurfing spots in the USA. If you are an adventure seeker or a beach bum, the US has a destination for you.