26 Apr 2019
With miles of ocean coastline, soundside coastline and various canals winding through each town, it’s no surprise that the Outer Banks is a top destination for water sports enthusiasts all over the country. From surfing to stand up paddleboarding, there are plenty of places to launch and explore all around the Outer Banks. When it comes to water sports that require the aid of wind to move… the Outer Banks truly takes the cake because we have plenty of that here. In fact, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, the average wind speed in Cape Hatteras averages around 10.7mph and is often higher! The shallow waters plus higher windspeeds are particularly ideal for kiteboarders. With these great conditions and a host of professional trainers available, the Outer Banks is actually one of the best places in the world to learn kiteboarding!
What is Kiteboarding?
Kiteboarding is a sport requiring both wind and water and is often described as a combination of paragliding, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and surfing. To kiteboard, the rider, or kiteboarder, rides across the waves while standing on a flat board. The rider is hooked to a harness that is attached to a kite used for steering. The kite is propelled by the wind and shaped like a large upside-down letter “U.” Skilled riders are able to catch a decent amount of air, increase their travel speed, perform certain tricks and achieve precision landings. Sometimes, you may hear the term “kitesurfing” used in place of “kiteboarding” or even used interchangeably. Professionals attribute the difference to the type of board the rider stands on and the style of competitive tricks. The terms are also sometimes linked to certain regions but both generally refer to the same athletic sport.
Learning to Kiteboard
Although kiteboarding isn’t really a “beginner’s sport,” it’s easy enough to learn with the proper training! Luckily, several local companies in the Outer Banks have professionals who are happy to teach you! Kitty Hawk Kites is one company that offers private kiteboarding lessons, kiteboarding camps, and kiteboarding equipment rentals for those who already know the sport. If you’re on Hatteras Island, try booking a lesson with REAL Watersports in Waves – the only company on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with a permit to teach the sport! They offer private and semi-private lessons, kiteboarding camps, and even offsite coaching. They also have equipment for rent or purchase. Staying on the northern part of the OBX? Corolla Kiteboarding provides lessons for beginners and intermediate riders as well as provides private, semi-private and group lessons. Lessons take place in the shallow waters off of the Historic Whalehead Club in Corolla and instruction is provided by a great group of trained professionals.
Great Kiteboarding Spots
If you’ve taken lessons or you already know how to kiteboard, the Outer Banks is still the perfect place to enjoy the sport! Between our great winds and shallow waters, there are dozens of locations ideal for launching off for an afternoon of kiteboarding. Although these aren’t the only locations (you could always launch right from your soundfront beach if you are staying in a soundfront home for example!), try one of these areas:
- Jockey’s Ridge Sound Beach – Behind Jockey’s Ridge, a soundside beach is a great spot for a day of kiteboarding. Not only is there a designated launching area, but there is adequate parking and a nice beach for setting up your equipment. The water is pretty flat and only hits between waist and chest deep once you go out past 50 yards or so.
- Salvo Day Use Area – Right as you exit the town of Salvo on the sound side, a parking lot for the Salvo Day Use Area sound access can be seen. The area boasts a wide sound beach and plenty of parking so it’s easy to haul all of your gear. Plus, the beach is the perfect place to set up for the day if you have group members who aren’t into kiteboarding.
- Canadian Hole/Haulover Day Use Area – on the inlet between Avon and Buxton, an inconspicuous parking lot sits off to the side sporting a sign that reads “Haulover Day Use Area.” This is actually a great sound beach access and the waters off the coast here are known as the Canadian Hole. As one of the top spots for kiteboarding on Hatteras Island, there’s rarely a day that goes by where you won’t see some sort of watersport activity in the surrounding waters.