Unless you haven’t been paying attention to new water sports crazes, you’ve probably seen a huge increase in the number of people getting into foil boarding; whether it’s using a foil for surfing, kitesurfing, or the relatively new wing-foiling (covered in more detail below).
LEARNING TO FOIL / WINGSURF
WHAT IS A FOIL?
It was in Hawaii that the hydrofoil was first developed. The idea is to use a blade below the water to ‘lift’ the board you are using (whether it’s a SUP, kiteboard, or surfboard) clean out of the water. The board is attached to a mast which is attached to that blade. Once the blade lifts at a certain speed, the mast comes out of the water and then no part of the board is actually touching the water. We will talk about how foiling feels a little later in this article; the very reason for its existence is how that ride feels.
Early foil models were heavy, extremely difficult to use, and really quite dangerous. These hand-made foils were also very expensive. After several manufacturers came up with various foil models over the years, in around 2014, foil models had improved and started appearing in more numbers on local beaches. However, they were still too fast, generally unstable and very difficult to ride, as well as being expensive. Accidents were common and often resulted in nasty injuries.
The speed of design improvements has been impressive and the good news is that today, all manufacturers are building easy to use, less expensive, stable, fun foils which suit all kinds of surf/water conditions. They range from inexpensive plastic foils, through aluminium and fibreglass construction, all the way to the top-of-the-range carbon fibre foils.
Even better, many are of a modular design, meaning that you can interchange the various parts as your level of foiling improves.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FOIL COMPARED TO RIDING A NORMAL KITEBOARD OR SURFBOARD?
This question is rather like trying to describe how it feels the first time you ride a wave; it’s really hard to put it into words.
It’s like no other form of board riding you have ever undertaken before. The reason for this is that you are simply floating: Imagine gliding over a sea of soap suds where the suds keep you on top without sinking yet you can’t feel them beneath you. Your foil makes no sound at all as it carries you, there’s no slapping of water that you always get with a board in contact with water. It’s spookily quiet as you glide effortlessly through the water. People have described it as a magic carpet ride and I would have to agree.
Also, the momentum of foils and the way they travel through water means that you only need light winds for either kiting or wing-surfing. You can also travel at much faster speeds and turn further upwind or downwind than you can with a regular twin-tip kiteboard.
It’s really easy to see why kite foiling and wing-surfing are the fastest growing water sports.
WHAT MAKES FOILING MORE DIFFICULT TO LEARN?
If you are used to riding a twin-tip kiteboard or a directional surfboard, you will know that you steer the board using your heels and toes. Only two things to remember; heels will dig in to ride upwind and toes will turn the board downwind. Let’s refer to this as the ‘roll.’
With a foil, there are three things to master. You’ve got the toe and heel operation (the roll) but you have also got a front and back axis (the pitch) to deal with. Getting the ‘pitch’ of the foil right is essential to keep the board out of the water. Too much leaning back and the foil will literally fly out of the water. Too much pressure forward and the foil will sink the board. Foils are sensitive and require only a tiny movement of your body forward or backward to completely change momentum.
The roll is also harder to come to terms with on a foil. If you can imagine the roll on a regular board occurs immediately beneath your feet and the adjustment you make results in an instant turn. With a foil, the blade is well beneath you, anything from 40cm to 110cm (depending on the length of the foil’s mast). This means that the adjustment required is larger and the turn takes longer to effect.
Then we have to look at how weird it feels to be hovering above the water. Everything you have ever learned with kiteboarding or wind-surfing is about the board being in direct contact with the ocean. The height you can achieve with a foil is at once exhilarating but it’s also scary. No matter how good you are as a kiteboarder, surfer, or windsurfer, learning to foil will make you feel like a noob all over again. It sounds like a bit of a nightmare, doesn’t it? But the reward, the reward………..your soap-suddy, dreamy-cruise through the air will make all the faceplants and aching thighs well worth it. It’s just a learning curve you must go through to get to the pot of gold.
HOW DO I LEARN FOILING?
There are several different ways to learn to foil. If you already kitesurf well, then you can pick up foiling using your kite skills to generate the power required. If you are an accomplished windsurfer, then moving to wing-foiling will not be too big a step up.
If you don’t kitesurf, surf, or wind-surf already, then your options are as follows: 1. Learn to kitesurf first using a regular twin tip (this might sound difficult but actually, the learning curve with kiting is much faster than with regular surfing and progress can be rapid. 2. Learn to wing-foil (see below for our course options at Swell). The great thing about using the wing to start foiling is that control of the wing is easier and even faster to master than control of the kite. 3. Use a boat-tow to start. However, whilst using a boat to tow you might seem like a good option, in reality, it’s cheating somewhat and with this method, you won’t utilize some of the balance skills which are vital for foil control once a boat is not towing you. Another problem with a boat tow is that the boat tends to do the steering for you, so you are not learning that skill either. Lastly, unless your boat pilot is well-versed with foiling themselves, they won’t know the correct speed to keep you above the water and safe.
Whichever method you choose, you should begin your water experience with a short mast on the foil (shorter = easier). The better you get, the longer you want your mast to be. You will also use a bigger board at the beginning to give you as much stability as possible.
WINGSURF FOILING; A PERFECT INTRODUCTION TO FOILING WITH NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
As we’ve mentioned above, wingsurf-foiling is an ideal choice if you don’t already kitesurf and you want to get straight into riding a foil. Wingsurfing is growing quickly in popularity and it’s easy to see why.
Unlike a kite, the hand-held wing is much simpler and safer to use. There are no long lines to put out, no potentially dangerous launch to master, no risk of crashing the kite and not being able to relaunch it. The equipment is easy to put together and the wing is quickly inflated. A leash attaches the wing to the rider in case of falls and handles are positioned along the center of the wing to guide it; it’s very light in the hand. In fact, there are no discernible disadvantages to using a wing to foil.
Wings are sold in various sizes to suit wind conditions and rider size. A good wing-foiling school will have the correct size of the wing for your lessons. You will be able to wing-foil in just 12 knots of wind. All you have to do is inflate the lightweight wing and enter the water.
WHERE CAN I LEARN TO FOIL
Cabarete, Dominican Republic, is already a world-renowned kite surfing destination, with steady side-on trade winds and warm Caribbean water: Now foiling is taking over as the fastest growing sport. You can come and stay with us at Swell and take a 10-hour foiling course for $795 USD (one person) or $636 USD each if two guests are learning at the same time.
It’s not just the surfing that is top class in Cabarete, in this updated 2022 Kitesurfing Dominican Republic guide you will find info on where and when to go, as well as all other relevant kiteboarding info to plan your kitesurfing holiday to the Dominican Republic with ease.
In case you are fed up with kiteboarding in a wet suit, come to the warm waters of the Caribbean, where you will be able to kiteboard in board shorts or a bikini!
Name: República Dominicana (English: Dominican Republic, not the same as Dominica which is a different island in the Caribbean) Capital: Santo Domingo Location: Caribbean region Lat / Lon: 19°00′N 70°40′W Currency: Dominican peso Language: Spanish Coastline: 800 Miles / 1288 KM
WHY THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AS A KITESURF DESTINATION?
If you are looking for a kitesurfing (or kiteboarding) destination for your next holiday, you should definitely consider putting the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic on your short list of places to go
If you don’t want to read the entire article below, let us quickly give you 10 reasons why to choose Cabarete for your kitesurfing vacation:
Super-steady, safe, side-onshore trade winds.
Wide sandy beaches.
Warm air and water temperatures.
Lots of facilities (kite schools, kite rentals and kiteboard shops).
Easy to get to.
Lots of other activities to do other than kiting
Variety of kite spots (flat water, waves, down winders)
Leave the wet-suit behind and kite in board-shorts or bikinis
Amazing choice of restaurants and bars on and off the beach
Always a party to be had (if you want one)
THE BEST KITESURFING SPOTS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
There are many different kitesurfing beaches in the Dominican Republic, but the one area that really stands out is the Cabarete area on the North coast of the Dominican Republic. Cabarete is easily reached from Puerto Plata airport (POP) and is a short 25-minute car drive.
The Kitesurfing spots in the Cabarete area:
(from East to West)
La Boca is a lagoon at the end of the river Yassica. It’s not a huge area, but because of this, the water at the river mouth is butter smooth, ideal for freestyle kitesurfers to practice their moves. There are some basic facilities at La Boca, restaurants and small shops for some drinks and food.
Video: Luis Alberto Cruz, (nephew of Sipriana, Swell’s longest-serving staff member) kitesurfing at La Boca
Conditions: Super-flat water Good for: Kitesurfers who love flat water for Freestyle moves Level: Intermediate and Experts Watch out for: After rain, there could be some floating wood logs & getting tangled with other kiters in a small area is always a risk. Getting there: Take a car or moto-taxi from Cabarete; 15 minutes East Tips: Don’t forget to bring a kite pump. Kiteboard downwind back to Cabarete
CABARETE BAY / BOZO BEACH / LA GOLETTA
Cabarete’s main beach has several different sections: The up-wind part (East) is Cabarete’s windsurf area, but some kitesurfers venture there too, (although you might get the stink-eye from the rather territorial windsurfers). If you get too close to the windsurf schools, your kite might fall out of the sky because there’s a wind shadow (no steady wind) close to the beach.
The next part of the beach is called Bozo beach and this starts around the Ocean One & Ocean Dream developments. The wind shadow stops here, so you will find steady trade winds from here, all the way West.
200-300 meters west of Bozo is where Goleta beach starts, with reasonable flat water inside the reef and fun waves on the reef for wave kiters.
Conditions: Flat water with semi chop inside the reef, good waves on the reef Good for: There’s something for everyone Level: Beginners, Intermediate and Experts Watch out for: Some shallow parts on the reef and at times (mostly Feb, March and April) there’s a heavy shore break at Bozo beach Getting there: Right in the center of Cabarete (a couple of minutes walk from Swell) Tip: Ride downwind to kitebeach from Cabarete Bay, a few tacks up wind and you’re back where you started.
World-famous Cabarete kite beach is just a few minutes ride (or 15 minutes walk along the beach from Cabarete main beach) from Swell. What makes Cabarete Kitebeach such a popular spot? It’s because Cabarete Kitebeach has something to offer for every kiter of every level. Flatwater, good waves & steady trade winds are why many of the world’s best kitesurfers call kitebeach their home kite spot.
Conditions: Flat water – semi chop inside the reef, good waves on the reef Good for: There’s something for everyone Level: Beginners, Intermediate and Experts Watch out for: In Summer time seasonal erosion makes the beach smaller Getting there: Short motor ride from Cabarete or walk West for 20 minutes from Bozo Beach Tip: Good food and vibes at KiteClub Cabarete
Playa Encuentro is the top surfing spot in the Dominican Republic, ultra-consistent with waves year-round make it a favourite for the surfers. But it’s not just the surfers who love Playa Encuentro, as at around 2 in the afternoon, the wind picks up enough for the kitesurfers who also flock to this spot. This spot is ideal for kitesurfers who like to ride good waves with surfboards. Many kitesurfers will do a “downwinder” from Cabarete bay or Kitebeach, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy good waves all along the coast.
Conditions: Waves Good for: Wave riders Level: Intermediate and Experts Watch out for: Landing your kite is not easy, you might have to stand in the water (beware of sea urchins). Don’t drop your kite when doing a downwinder from Cabarete, there are rocky spots without a beach for getting out of the water. Tip: Go with a friend & landing is likely to be easier on a patch of sand just West of the main peak at Playa Encuentro
Wind and weather for Kitesurfing Dominican Republic
The winds that make Cabarete such a world-class kite surf destination are the steady Caribbean trade winds. Created by thermals around the equator, they generally start picking up in the afternoon and reach maximum strength by around 3pm in the afternoon. Normally winds are between 18 and 22 knots side-on-shore which is widely regarded as the most ideal wind for kitesurfing. The wind accelerates along the coast and reaches maximum strength at Cabarete.
Tip: Check sites like windy.tv and windguru Cabarete for accurate wind conditions in Cabarete (keep in mind that the forecasts usually shows 4-6 knots less than actual wind strength, since they don’t take the thermal effect along the coast into consideration)
There is no distinct on or off-season for kitesurfing in Cabarete, any month of the year can provide over 20 to 25 days of windy days in a month. However, there are certain months where the likelihood of wind is greater than other months.
WHEN TO GO ON A KITESURFING HOLIDAY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?
Below is an indication of what to expect as far as windy days at certain times of the year for a kite or windsurf holiday to Cabarete
June, July & August
(Average of 20 to 25 days with 14+ knots of wind)
January, February, March, April, May and December
(Average of 12 to 15 days of 14+ knots of wind).
So So months:
September, October & November
(Average of 5 to 12 days of 14+ knots of wind).
CABARETE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC KITESURFING VIDEO
Let local kitesurf pro show you why Cabarete is still one of the best kite surf destinations in the world
One of the best things about the Dominican Republic is that it’s hard not to have a good time when you are looking for an active holiday, so when there’s a day without wind: go surfing as the waves will be good, or take an adventure trip Canyoning.
Where to stay for a Dominican Kiteboard holiday?
Ok, we are going to be biased here ( look at the URL in your browser), even though we are called Swell Surf Camp, we get loads of kitesurfers (or people learning to kitesurf ) staying with us at Swell.
Why? Because they appreciate the communal & social vibe we provide. We eat breakfasts and dinners together, so you will not be staying in your room by yourself whilst on your holiday.
If you stay at Swell, you are guaranteed to meet new people. You can kitesurf together, go on a day trip Canyoning or take a few learn-to-surf lessons with us.
We can book your kitesurf lessons for you, from complete beginners learn to kite courses, to someone who is looking for advanced kite surf lessons such as wave riding, jumping, learning to ride strapless or foiling.
CABARETE KITESURFING SCHOOLS AND LESSONS
So if you have decided to give the exciting sport of kitesurfing a try, have done your research, and have come to the conclusion that Cabarete is one of the best kitesurf destinations in the world; you’ve made a smart choice! Now you need to find the right kitesurf school in Cabarete. There are 2 choices: Contact us and we can prepare you with a stay and learn to kite package holiday with one of the 2 best schools in Cabarete, or you can contact the schools directly (by the way, we don’t charge extra for arranging your kite lessons).
Choice of kiteboard schools in Cabarete:
There are at least a dozen or more kite surf schools in Cabarete, some are well established and very good, and some are, well not so. There are price differences too; but do keep in mind that kitesurfing is not a cheap sport, the lessons are not cheap and neither is the equipment.
Swell deals with Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding school (LEK), located at Cabarete beach, and with KiteClub at Cabarete Kitebeach. Both are very well-known and 2 of the most established, professionally run schools in Cabarete, neither of them are the cheapest kite schools, but what you will get with them is:
Qualified kitesurf instructors.
Top quality kite equipment during your lessons.
Helmets and impact vests during lessons.
A structured and organized lesson structure.
As said above, they are not the cheapest schools in Cabarete (per hour) however it might still work out cheaper having lessons with them versus another school or individual, here’s why:
Progress during your kite lessons will most likely be quicker (and safer) when taught by a very experienced kite instructor, using the right equipment (a choice of kite sizes) than when you get taught by an individual who uses old kites that repeatedly break or don’t fly properly (a badly flying kite is seriously dangerous) Tip: Don’t just ask your mate to teach you kitesurfing, it will be most likely be unsafe and the quickest way to wreck his kite (or your skull). Also, private teaching by individuals not affiliated with a licensed kite school is banned for safety reasons on Cabarete beaches.
There are several kiteboard shops in Cabarete that sell new kites, kiteboard and kiteboarding accessories. Also, most of the better schools will have a good collection of new and used kites for sale as they update their equipment regularly.
Prices: Expect to pay between $500 and $700 for a good used kite and kite bar, $800 to $1100 for a new kite and bar.
A used kiteboard is around $200 to $400 and a new kiteboard is between $500 and $800 USD. Tips for buying second-hand kiteboarding gear: When buying a second-hand kite, check that the valves are all functioning (blow up the kite and leave it for a while to eliminate any leaks). Check also the condition of the fabric (repairs are fine when done well, but the material should be crisp and not generally soft and worn). Check the bar and lines completely for frayed nylon. Check the safety release system still works.
GETTING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
There are 4 major airports on the island and a couple of smaller ones too. The Dominican Republic is actually located on Hispaniola, which is a BIG island; made up of 1/3 Haiti and 2/3 Dominican Republic. It’s approximately 470km from Punta Cana in the far West to the Haitian Border in the East (that’s a 7 hour + drive).
If you are planning on surfing the North coast, try to fly into Puerto Plata (airport code POP). The 2nd best option is Santiago Los Caballeros (STI) and the 3rd best is Santo Domingo (SDQ). Flying to Punta Cana might be cheap (lots of cheap charter flights go there to ferry people to the many all-inclusive hotels lining the coast) but it’s not a viable entry point if you want to surf. Punta Cana is all about white sand beaches and all-inclusive; there’s no ‘real’ Dominican culture close by.
American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, Air Canada, West Jet are just some of the flights arriving into POP, STI and SDQ. There are also charter flights arriving daily from Europe. You can see more flight suggestions onthis page.
There are also Moto-taxis, which are small motorbikes costing (generally speaking) 50 to 100 pesos (just over one or two US dollars) for around 5km. You will frequently hear the ‘ssssssssttt’ from a passing driver offering you a ride. Be careful of the safety of these bikes and watch for very serious burns to your calf (commonly known as ‘the Dominican Tattoo’) from the exhaust pipe. It’s a terrible way to start your surf vacation and will take weeks to heal. It’s not unknown for these guys to double up as drug dealers or pimps, so beware.
Car rental is cheap but driving in the Dominican Republic is not for the faint-hearted. Dominicans have a rather laissez-faire attitude towards driving, so always expect the unexpected (people coming out of junctions without looking, or driving on the wrong side of the road), don’t drive fast, never drive under the influence and you should stay safe.
Keep your eyes open and your mirrors tuned, especially for the motos, as they will approach at speed from all directions. A Sat Nav is a good idea for longer journeys as good sign posts are a rarity. If you are involved in an accident, stay in your vehicle if it is safe to do so and call your insurance company. Dominicans can tend to flock to an accident, especially if a local person is injured, and it can be intimidating.
If you rent a motorbike, wear a helmet; it’s not only the law, but in a country with a very poor R.T.A. record, it may just save your life.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND VISA
Generally speaking, the Dominican Republic is a visa-free country to visit. Very few nationalities require a visa to enter this Caribbean island. The majority of nationalities though will need to purchase a Tourist Card upon entry at Puerto Plata (airport code POP), or any of the other airports of the Dominican Republic
The Tourist Card costs $10 USD and is valid for 30 days entry. You need to pay for the card in USD only. Some countries are exempt from this and I’ve provided a link below to check whether your country of origin requires a visa, a Tourist Card or neither. Generally speaking, Americans, Canadians and Europeans don’t need a visa, but do require the Tourist Card. http://www.dominicanrepublic.com/dominican-republic-visa-2/
MEDICAL INFORMATION BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
So most of the medical-related websites, such as the CDC for example, will give you blanket advice about vaccinations required and list all medical risks. The truth is that region to region, the risks vary considerably and some risks mentioned on these websites are not much of a risk at all.
Malaria is practically non-existent in the Dominican Republic with the last reported case in 2011. The Zika virus; again, although it is reported there have been cases in the Dominican Republic, these have been centred in Santo Domingo, the capital city, located on the south coast, which is about 4 hours by road from Cabarete on the North Coast.
There are no recent reports of Zika on the North Coast at the time of writing. The day time mosquito (Aedes) carries the worst diseases, including Dengue, so it’s obviously better to prevent being bitten at all. Wear a good repellent containing DEET. Windy coastal areas (like Cabarete) have far fewer mosquitos than inland on the island.
Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended; Hep A can be caught from contaminated food or water and Hep B from sexual partners who are themselves contaminated, or even from getting a tattoo done. If you feel you might be in either risk group, it could be a good idea to get these shots.
KITESURFING DOMINICAN REPUBLIC GALLERY
Top things to do in & around Cabarete, other than kiteboarding
Party (lots of bars and clubs on the main beach of Cabarete)
Stand up paddle surfing
Visit Puerto Plata
Snorkeling and diving
We hope you enjoyed this Kitesurfing Dominican Republic guide, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to send us over your questions or comments. If you are interested in a kiteboarding holiday to Cabarete, or a surf holiday, by yourself, or with friends or family we’d also love to welcome you to Swell.
Here’s a sample kitesurfing package we can provide for you at Swell:
7 night’s accommodation for one person in a shared room or a private room
our wonderful, daily breakfast
4 home-cooked dinners at Swell (restaurants are right on our doorstep for when we are not cooking).
8 hours of one-on-one kitesurfing instruction with an IKO-qualified kite instructor
round-trip Puerto Plata airport transfers included
free wifi in the communal areas
safe, complimentary drinking water
amazing communal vibe
The cost for this package, in a shared room, is $1199 USD and in a private room, is $1599 USD.
We hope to see you soon in Cabarete, the Kiteboard capital of the Caribbean!
SEE WHAT SWELL IS ALL ABOUT
WANT TO STAY IN A COOL PLACE WITH FELLOW KITESURFERS AND SURFERS?
Needless to say we are very happy when we get a mention in the media, another thing to say is that we never pay for media coverage or let anyone have a free stay in return for a write up. These reviews of Swell Surf Camp are genuine.
What’s going on in Cabarete?
Winter has provided us with lots of top quality surf days at Playa Encuentro, and the kite surfers have also been happy days with plenty of windy afternoons. With summer coming up: if you have been wanting to learn kitesurfing, the next few months is the time to come over to Cabarete for a kite surfing lessons / course. Steady trade winds in the afternoon will be a steady fixture all the way until the end of August for kiteboarding
Want to learn to surf ? Summer months provide excellent learning conditions for beginners with waves in the waist to chest high range.
Summer season is upon us here in the Dominican Republic, which means the afternoon trade winds start blowing like clock work at around midday.
More and more people are interested in our learn to kitesurf packages. We have created a package that incorporates the pleasant stay at Swell Surf camp in comfortable rooms, healthy fresh breakfasts, 4 dinners and kite surf lessons on Cabarete’s Bozo beach at the best kitesurf school in Cabarete. They have IKO qualified kite surf instructors working for them and teach with the latest 2015 kitesurf gear.
What else is new in Cabarete? The 2015 Cabarete kitesurfing world cup is taken off the agenda unfortunately due to logistical / organisational difficulties. It’s a real shame since for most of the kite surf pro’s Cabarete is their favorite PKRA stop on the world tour. Hopefully the world cup will be back next year for some spectacular action.
If you are interested in a Kite & Surf holiday in Cabarete this summer we have good news, we have drastically reduced our rates for the summer. Have a look on the pricing page, or send Clare a message to get a price and availability quote today.
SURF CAMP REVIEWS
190 Tripadvisor reviews, Frommers recommends Swell as one of the top 10 surf camps in the world, and Lonely Planet wrote the following about us:
Cabarete is known worldwide as one of the kitesurfing meccas in the world. Many of the past and current pros on the world tour call Cabarete their home for 6 or more months of the year. Until 15 years ago, Cabarete was mostly known as the best place in the Caribbean for a windsurf holiday, but when kitesurfing started to take off in popularity around 2000-2001 many windsurfers converted to kitesurfing. Why? because kiteboarding is an exciting healthy watersport, and even though it looks like a difficult and dangerous sport, it is actually a relatively easy and safe sport to learn.Why do so many people choose Cabarete as the place to learn this new sport?
For kitesurfing to be enjoyable you need a steady ( not gusty) wind in the 15 to 25 knots range, which is exactly what Cabarete has. For safety a wind that is side onshore is also ideal ( so when something bad happens you float back to the shore safely) , which is what Cabarete has. Because kites used 22 meter ( or longer) lines you need a good amount of large open beaches, which is what Cabarete has.
WHERE TO KITESURF IN CABARETE
Cabarete kitesurfing 2 main and most known kitesurf spots are kitebeach and Cabarete’s main beach ( often called Bozo beach) Cabarete ( bozo) beach
The upwind half of the bay is more used by windsurfers, so if you are kitesurfing here, try to stay our of their way. Starting at Ocean One ( in the middle of the bay) the kitesurfing starts, since there’s no windshadow from the point. It’s a large open beach, easy to launch your kite. Good for riders of all levels. This is also the beach where most years the Cabarete kitesurf world cup is held. ( although cancelled unfortunately for 2014)
Dangers:Can get a heavy shorebreak in front Of Laurel Eastman kiteboarding school, if this is the case walk upwind and launch in easier conditions. Other dangers include Dominican riders showing off very close to the shore. 99% of them are world class and know what they are doing, just be careful with the odd one that doesn’t have the kite skills yet.
The locals guys showing their kiteboarding skills at Cabarete beach
is located about 2 km ( 1+ mile) west of Cabarete, it’s a good kite spot since the water on the inside of the reef is pretty flat, which makes learning easy, for more experienced riders the waves on the reef are worldclass for wave riding and outside of the reef there’s tons of space for experienced riders.
Dangers: Inside the reef can get crowded. The reef is pretty shallow with urchins and fire coral which is pretty unpleasant if you touch it.
In summer ( july and August) the beach gets pretty small because of seasonal erosion so be careful with landing your kite.
Plenty of kite schools and places to rent kites from to be found here.
is about 4 km ( 2,5 miles) west of Cabarete. It’s the most consistent surf spot for surfers in the mornings, but for kitesurfers that like waves, it’s also a popular spot to ride in the afternoon. Lots of kitesurfers take downwinders from bozo or kitebeach. There’s a few spots between kitebeach and Encuentro where you want to make sure you do NOT drop your kite, since there’s no beach, just very sharp rocks.
Dangers: Small place to land and launch your kite. Urchins on the reef are unpleasant. When doing a downwinder keep in mind that the wind is always 2-5 knots lighter at Encuentro.
No kite schools or rentals are found at Encuentro.
Martha (ex Swell manager) riding waves at Encuentro)
La Boca River mouth
6 km ( 4 miles) east of cabarete. A flat water rivermouth / lagoon. Ideal for flat water freestyle training. It’s a nice place to kitesurf when there’s only a few people there.
Dangers: lack of space, relatively small so a maximum of 3-4 riders at the same time.
KITESURF EQUIPMENT FOR CABARETE
What is the best equipment for kitesurfing in Cabarete?
When the tradewinds are present, expect the wind to start kicking in at around 1 in the afternoon, reach max strength at around 3. Average wind strength is around 18 knots, so for and average kiter that weighs 80 kilos (175 pounds) a kite size between 8 and 11 m2 will be most used. Type of kiteboard depends on your riding preference . There are a few kiteboards shops in Cabarete to replace something if it gets broken. Starkites and Bic Carib center are your best places to go to. Although the schools also sell kites , boards and accessories.
WIND FORECAST FOR CABARETE
We use windguru to forecast the wind for Cabarete. Windguru also has a good option to look at Historic wind conditions over the years, to see which months have the best wind average. Our experiences is that the following months have the best chances ( 75% of days with over 15 knots): June, July, August, December, Januari, Februari,March, April and May. the months of September and October vcan be a bit of hit and miss, since there could be some tropical hurricane activity somewhere far away over the atlantic that disrupts the tradewinds.
KITESURF SCHOOLS IN CABARETE
There are at least a dozen kite surf schools in Cabarete. One mistake that a lot of beginners make is to start shopping around for the cheapest kitesurf school. Some schools offers lessons that are half the price of other schools, why? Because they use dated and old equipment and the lessons are taught by unqualified instructors. In my opinion the oldest 3 schools in Cabarete are also the safest and best schools: Laurel eastman kitebaording( LEK), Kiteclub and Dare2Fly at Kitebeach.
SWELL AND KITESURFING
We ( the owners of Swell) love kitesurfing, we have been kitesurfing for over 10 years ( we learned in Cabarete) and we still love the riding conditions that cabarete offers,they are the best in the world. We have kitesurfed in lots of places around the world, but have yet to come across one town that offers such varied kite conditions as Cabarete does,
Swell is a surf camp, but we don’t just focus on surfing. A large part of our clients do a action sport combo package ; surf in the morning and learn to kitesurf in the afternoon. If you are interested in learning kiteboarding on your holiday, have a look at our kitesurf packages, or feel free to send us an email and ask us some questions.
More info on Swell website regarding kitesurfing in Cabarete: