Cape Town’s Big Bay area is a mecca for watersports. But it’s kitesurfing, in particular, that’s really caused Big Bay to boom.
On any of the Mother City’s many windy days, the bay is festooned in the colourful kites of those taking advantage of the feisty south-easterly to get their sporting fix. Come summer, the area attracts loads of professional kiters, drawn to the international kite-boarding hot spot.
It’s easy to see why. First, there’s the 10-30 knot wind. Then there’s the wide, pristine beaches, set against picture-perfect views of the city and Table Mountain. There’s also the annual Red Bull “King of the Air” kiteboarding competition, held in Big Bag, which draws huge crowds. And there are cool bars, restaurants and chill spots to hang out at along the coast.
But kitesurfing isn’t just for adventure tourists, athletes or those into extreme sports. Anyone, of any age, can join in the fun.
Why you should consider kitesurfing
- It offers a full-body workout. Kitesurfing includes both a cardiovascular and resistance element, so it helps you get fit and tone. Expect a strong core and upper body.
- It improves your co-ords and concentration. You have to keep an eye on the wind, and make snappy decisions on navigating and jumping. This helps train you to have better reaction times to situations overall.
- It gets you closer to nature. The sun. The wind. The surf. Need we say more?
- It’s the ultimate in Zen. Kitesurfing is a great way to de-stress after a long day, and it forces you to be more mindful. In a video explaining why he loves the sport, Richard Branson said: “There are very high powered people − like Larry Page from Google and others − that kitesurf, and I think they do because they see it as therapeutic, as well as a lovely way to keep body fit.”
- You become part of a community. The kiteboarding community in Cape Town is a warm and welcoming one.
- It’s the closest you’ll get to actually flying J
Take kitesurfing lessons
Keen to give kiteboarding a go? If so, you’ll need proper instruction. In the video mentioned above, Branson said: “You need a sympathetic person to spend four or five hours teaching you, then you’ve got a lifetime of pleasure ahead.”
He’s right, but the exact number of hours of training you’ll need may vary. Ideally, you need at least six hours. At Cabrinha, we have lessons for beginners and advanced kiters, and we offer these lessons daily, both in Big Bag and in Langebaan – a great place for beginners to start.
Lessons include all equipment needed and our instructors are fully qualified through the IKO (International Kiteboarding Organisation). Our instructors use radio helmets for water lessons, to maintain communication at all times, and in the group lessons, there are two people per instructor. Personalised attention is guaranteed. Here’s a breakdown of our main offerings that can be found on our kitesurfing school page:
Type: 2 Hour Group Intro Kitesurfing Lesson
For first-timers to learn the basics of wind, safety, equipment, setting up and flying the site.
Cost: R790 per person
Type: 4 hours Group Beginner Kiteboarding Course
A more comprehensive offering, it includes all the lessons from the 2-hour course (above), in addition to more advanced kite-flying skills (kite launching and landing; getting power from your kite).
Cost: R1580 per person
Type: 2 or 3 hours Group Body Drag Kiteboarding Lesson
Once you have basic and advanced kite-flying skills, you need to learn about how to use your kite’s power for a body drag (moving in the water if you’ve come off your board). Body dragging is a crucial kitesurfing skill.
Cost: R790 per person
Type: Langebaan Board Riding Kiteboarding Lesson
In the flat and shallow Shark’s Bay, you’ll learn how to get up on your board and improve your riding skills.
Cost: R1580 (4 hours) to R2 370 (6 hours) per person
Type: Premium Private Kitesurfing Lesson
One-on-ones ideal for those wanting to learn fast or as a refresher for kiters whose skills have gone a bit rusty.
Cost: R790 per person per hour
Type: Beginner Kiteboarding Course
The aim of this intensive immersive course is to get you on the board quickly. Over three or four days, you’ll get 12 hours of instruction.
Cost: R4265 per person (or R4740.00 if you pay in advance – a discount of 10%, and if you buy the new season’s equipment from the shop, the course fee is waivered)
Photographs by Mandi Ireland Photography.