Dangling at the end of a kite, on a windy day, and with a board strapped to your feet might not be everyone’s idea of fun. However, if this does appeal then Boracay is considered to be one of the best places in the world to kitesurf.
The warm, shallow waters and reliable wind makes it a great place to learn. The popular kitesurfing website kitesurfing101.com rates it as one of the top five destinations in the world. In 2007 Yahoo! Travel rated the beaches in Boracay among the world’s top ten – perfect if you decide the kitesurfing isn’t quite working out!
Glen Parsons has owned Ocean Republic, a kitesurfing school in Boracay, since 2003.
“The more exposure it gets the faster it grows. It looks like an easy sport to do, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Its colorful – colorful kites and colorful boards. It has all the essence of something that looks like fun to do, which it is. Now it is becoming more mainstream and there is more money in the sport. People are now producing good safe gear. It’s easier now” he said.
Kites gliding serenely across the sky may look beautiful but beginners should still bare in mind the dangers.
“When I started only freaks took up kitesurfing – the extreme sports idiots. Back then there was hardly any safety. People were just strapping power kites to themselves with no real means of being able to successfully release themselves if it went wrong. But now the dangers of the sport are no longer in the forefront. Before it was a wolf in wolf’s clothing but now it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now that’s the danger as people forget how dangerous it can be,” said Parsons.
Matt Thomas, an instructor at Ocean Republic has been kitesurfing for five years. He says the great thing about kiting is it really is a sport suitable for everyone.
“The great thing about kitesurfing is it doesn’t section out anyone regardless of gender, size, age. You can be ten years old, sixty years old, any size, shape, anyone can learn it. It’s partly down to the way the kit is so adaptable. There isn’t just one kite, there’re lots of kites for different things,” he said.
Both Thomas and Parsons recommend that beginners get professional training if they want to take up the sport.
“Give it a good go. See if it’s for you. It always looks good but until you try it you can’t tell if it’s for you. There’s a lot more to it than what you see from the beach. Be patient and it will come. Once its there it never goes, it is like riding a bike,” said Thomas.
“You really do need instruction. You need to know about the tides, wind effects, compressions. Go to a school where they seem professional. Recommendation is better than anything and be careful of cowboys,” said Parsons.
For more information on kitesurfing in Boracay visit kitesurfingschool.org – a great resource for finding kitesurfing schools across the world.
How to get there:
Boracay is a fifteen-minute boat ride away from Caticlan airport.
To do the sport you need: a kiteboard (these can come with or without foot straps and are similar to a wakeboard); a waist or seat harness; a power kite and, (especially for learners), a strong sense of perseverance and ability to laugh at yourself. Beginners will spent a lot of time being dragged through the water! It is also advisable to get a pair of booties for the water as there is a lot of coral on the sea floor on the main kitesurfing beach – Bulabog.
Most kitesurfing schools along the beach rent you equipment as part of their courses.