The Olympics line-up might not have enough room for 2 wind-propelled watersports, but the either/or choice doesn’t reflect what’s going on in the real world. Here’s our guide to some of the best wind and kite-surfing spots on the planet.
If the tabloids are anything to go by, the omission of David Beckham from GB’s Olympic football team may well turn out to be the most talked-about controversy of the games. But before Golden Balls was told to hang up his boots, a different sporting sector was involved in a bit of Olympics beef.
In May, it was announced that windsurfing is going to be removed from the list of Olympic sports. From 2016 onwards, its place will be taken by kite-surfing. The news has caused uproar among the world’s windsurfing elite, who are concerned the downgrading of the sport will cause a cut in funding and interest.
So, if you’ve always wanted to learn to windsurf, there’s never been a better time to get on board – literally. Here’s our guide to the best places to go…
Every year, Sotavento Beach hosts a leg of the grand prix of the windsurfing world – the Professional Windsurfing Association’s World Championship. The competition usually comes to town in July, bringing the world’s best windsurfers with it. For the rest of the year, the windsurfing facilities on the beach are open to everyone – from first-timers to old hands.
The Red Sea and watersports have been bedfellows for decades, so it makes sense this part of Egypt is a windsurfing goldmine. In fact, the sport is so rooted in the area, that most hotels offer introductory lessons as part of their activities inventory. Once you’ve learnt the basics, you can hire equipment from beachside stalls. You can hire a board and sail for half a day for around £30.
Aruba mollycoddles its windsurfers. The water temperature out here rarely drops below 24˚C and you can always rely on a wind speed of around 20 knots. The absence of high-rise hotels makes the southeast side of the island the windsurfing pulse point. Boca Grandi, 30 miles from Palm Beach, is the name on most windsurfers’ lips. Every July, the world’s windsurfing superstars descend on this beach for the High Winds Windsurfing Championship.
Cabarete in Puerto Plata is the axis of the Dominican Republic’s windsurfing scene. Summer is the peak season for the sport – after that the winds become a little less reliable. You’ll see the most sails in the sea at beaches like Kite Beach and Bozo Beach. You don’t have to look hard to find windsurfing schools, either. Beginners’ courses usually take place over 2 days and cost around $250.
Go for Gold…
On the flip side, now’s a great time to take advantage of the extra publicity and funding that are being pumped into kite-surfing ahead of the 2016 Olympics. You don’t have to go far to test the sport out, either – Fuerteventura has kite-surfing schools all over the island. It can take up to 2 full days to get standing up on the board, so don’t expect to be skimming the waves in your first hour. Most schools offer 3-day courses for beginners, which generally cost a few hundred euros.