“There’s a new craze every year,” I was told by a beach bum on Tarifa beach. He was pointing at the kite surfers as they bombed across the ocean surface, crouching and leaping 15 feet in the air where they hung like spinning adornments suspended from a child’s mobile.
The crazy wind and steady stream of waves creates the perfect playground for kite surfers and Tarifa is one of the windiest places along the south coast of Spain. It sits at a point where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and its flat stretch of golden sand provides no shelter from the relentless wind.
I remember back when windsurfing first became the pastime for thrill seekers. Since then there have been a glut of wind powered sports and kite surfing seems to be a hybrid of windsurfing and para sailing (being towed by a boat while wearing a parachute).
The kite surfers themselves are kitted out with wetsuits, harnesses and large kites. Their boards are slightly larger than body boards and have a fin at each corner. The surfer straps into the harness and waits for the wind to catch the kite before zooming off into the blue where they perform great leaps and make pretty patterns in their wake.
Many places along the coastline near Tarifa offer courses in kite surfing which seem to cost around 300 euros for a week’s worth. That is supposedly enough to get you up and running; well, surfing.
Kite surfing looks amazing and I imagine it’s very demanding physically; most surfers seemed to be wrestling with their kites throughout their playtime. Most of all it looks like hella good fun; cutting across the waves and defying gravity should never get dull and I want some of it.
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