Kiteboarding (or Kitesurfing) is becoming one of the most popular watersports in the Turks and Caicos. At the excellent Long Bay Beach on Providenciales, there can be dozens of kites in the air on a windy day.
Here we will give you a run down on locations, conditions, and where to start if you want to learn.
The most predictable and consistent wind on Providenciales is the east southeast trade winds. The islands typically experience this wind on and off over the year, but it’s usually a bit more pronounced and regular in the winter months.
Squalls and regional storms occasionally cause different wind directions, which make north and west coast locations more viable. However, these winds are uncommon and unpredictable.
There are currently no laws or regulations against kiteboarding on any beaches in the country.
Providenciales does have other locations, but they are probably not appropriate for most kiters new to the Turks and Caicos.
Chalk Sound is highly scenic, but not great for kiteboarding. Because this lagoon is surrounded by hills and buildings, the wind is usually gusty. Also, nearly the entire coastline here is razor sharp iron shore. It will be difficult to launch and land, and your gear will very likely be destroyed if you crash!
Northwest Point, Malcolm Roads Beach and West Harbour Bluff are also beautiful locations, but the wind will usually be offshore and these areas are often deserted. If you have any problems, you could likely drift until you hit the Bahamas or Bermuda.
Heading to North and Middle Caicos for a day trip can be a great way to kite at some beautiful deserted spots. Although North Caicos has some great beaches, Middle Caicos has more interesting kiting locations.
Bambarra Beach offers the tamest conditions, with clean shallow water. Casuarinas (usually called “Cedars” locally) grow along the beach thickly, so be careful when launching and don’t crash!
The stunning Mudjin Harbour and Conch Bar Beach can have large waves and will be a location you’ll never forget, but only advanced kiters should venture here. Along with rough conditions, much of the coast is razor sharp ironshore, and it can be very difficult to get back your starting point if you get blown downwind. Hammerhead sharks are also very common here!
The remote Cedar Point can be an amazing location. A shifting sand bar forms a sheltered flat water lagoon, and the turquoise water east to Dickish Cay and Joe Grant Cay is highly scenic.
When the Turks and Caicos experiences a little bit bigger than usual ocean swell, several spots around Providenciales become decent wave riding locations.
The easiest wave location to access is a small area found off of Leeward Beach, a little west of the Leeward Going Through access. Here, three to six foot waves break a few hundred feet from the beach when there is an ocean swell. Due to the absence of coral or rocks, this is the best spot for someone unfamiliar with the island.
Cuts along the barrier reef located on the north side of Providenciales typically offers waves of two to four feet (.6-1.2m). During storms the swell rises up past 10ft (3m). Depending on the wind direction, the reef is a five minute tack out. A safety boat isn't a necessity, but some caution should be taken when riding the reef, as the changing tides expose reef. Let someone know when you go out.
Northwest Point also can have large waves, but due to the winds almost always being off shore, coral and rocks in the water and difficulty of access, Northwest Point is best for experienced riders familiar with the area.
Over the past few years, kiteboarding has expanded greatly on Providenciales, and now there are three main schools with many instructors offering lessons for beginners and more advanced riders.
Lessons are usually 1-3 hours, and initially involve learning how to fly a small trainer kite. Once the basics are mastered, the student moves one to the real deal and goes out on the water. Many schools offer packages, and it’s possible to be riding on your own after 2-3 lessons. Lessons are normally offered for ages 10 years and up and cost approximately $100 (2013) an hour. Complete beginner packages run at about $400-500 (2013).
The local kite schools rent also rent kiteboarding equipment, but proficiency must be proven (some business charge extra for a basic test). Rates are about 30 per day for boards, a little over $100 per day for kites, and $650 per week for a complete package.
Blue Surf Shop in the Salt Mills Plaza is currently the main retail shop for kiting equipment on Providenciales.
Kite Provo and Turks and Caicos Kiteboarding offer equipment repairs.
Big Blue Unlimited offers eco-kiteboarding safaris to kite spots only accessible by boat. This is an amazing opportunity to explore spots that are rarely ridden. Down winders from the small cays north of Providenciales are also offered.
Each year, Hope LeVin and the kiteboarding community host the Windvibes Kiteboarding Tournament. This has been an annual event here on Providenciales since 2007. Originally just kiteboarding, the competition has expanded to included kayak and SUP racing, log-throwing contests and tug-of-war. An excellent event for adults and kids alike.