It takes more than wind to find an ideal kiteboarding spot. Granted, that’s a big part of it, but there are other factors to consider, like how flat, choppy, or wavy the water is, the weather (other than the wind conditions, of course), and location’s overall vibe. Sure, if you have your own kite, board, and harness, you can go kiteboarding at a place close and convenient to you — may it be a lake or your local beach — but when you’re looking for a destination to go to get your fill of this increasingly popular water sport, here are ten picks from around the globe. All you need is a will, a way, and some wind. (Maybe a wetsuit too):
1. La Ventana, Baja California
Situated near the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California is La Ventana, which translates from Spanish to “window” — it’s the gusts blowing across the Gulf of California that put the “wind” in this “window.” Kiteboarders come to this gulf, known locally as the Sea of Cortez — a sea declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its biodiversity and scenic beauty. And who wouldn’t want to kitesurf in that?
2. Nabq, Egypt
Moses might not have had to part the Red Sea to get across if he and his people had a kiteboards, especially if he was in Nabq. Located on the southeastern coast of the Sinai Peninsula between the glitzy resort hub of Sharm-el-Sheikh and the backpacker haven of Dahab, this desert beach town is a draw for kiteboarders from around the world who want to “kiteboard like an Egyptian” in steady winds across the Gulf of Aqaba.
3. Tarifa, Spain
The Strait of Gibraltar forms the perfect wind tunnel between the European and African continents — perfect for the wind-powered water sport enthusiasts who flock there year round. Tarifa is one of the world’s meccas for kiteboarders, not only for Spaniards and other Europeans, but also for competitors from around the world.
4. Isla Margarita, Venezuela
Off the northern coast of mainland Venezuela is this tropical beach destination that attracts your regular suntanning beachgoer, along with travelers and locals toting kites and kiteboards. They come to play in the sun and catch the Caribbean winds, which blow consistently year round.
5. Le Morne, Mauritius
The Le Morne rock formation at the tip of the Le Morne Peninsula may have historical significance being a former refuge from runaway slaves, but these days it’s a vacation destination — and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot. Located on the southwestern corner of this island nation off the coast of Madagascar, the Le Morne area harbors a flat water lagoon ideal for beginner kiteboarders and more formidable waves for veterans farther away in the Indian Ocean.
6. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay’s White Beach may be the face of tourism on this resorty island of the archipelago nation in Southeast Asia, but on the other, windier side of the island lies plenty of kiteboarders hangin’ with the hangin — the native Tagalog word for wind.
7. Boca Grandi, Aruba
Aruba may be a popular island for cruiseliners to make port for the day, but if you stay awhile, you’ll see that it’s just the right place to cruise on a board instead of a boat — which is undoubtedly a lot more fun for the adventure tourist.
8. Cumbuco, Brazil
Football (aka soccer) may be the popular sport on land in Brazil, but in the water, kites dominate — especially in the northeastern shore town of Cumbuco, about 15 miles east from Fortaleza. It is here that Brazilians and visitors come to kiteboard in ocean waves and flat water lagoons, before dancing the samba at night.
9. Cabarete, Dominican Republic
The winds are consistent year round on the northern shores of this Caribbean nation — the perfect atmosphere for international competitions each June, and a laid back kitesurfer vibe every other time of the year, for locals and tourists alike.
10. Maui, Hawaii
No list of the world’s top kiteboarding spots would be complete without mentioning Maui; it’s been credited for being the birthplace of modern kiteboarding in the 90s — in fact, it was the stage of the first competition of the sport. With that said, it attracts people of all levels, from the first-timer to the seasoned pro, to harness the winds of Kanaha Beach by day, and party at the luaus by night.