Kite surfing

Kitesurfing in Cornwall

The popularity of kitesurfing has grown exponentially since it first became a possibility in the late 1990s. It is now recognised as a major extreme sport with an estimated 1.5 million kite-surfers around the world. If being propelled across the water at over 50 mph, pulling massive airs and carving on waves appeal to you then you might want to try kitesurfing.

Kite Surfer - Marazion
Kite Surfer - Marazion

Cornwall was already established as a windsurfing destination back in the 1980s so it is little surprise that kitesurfing in Cornwall is booming. Familiar spots such as Marazion and Gwithian are once again buzzing when the wind is right.

Cornwall's two coasts and various nooks and crannies have benefited surfers for years with the wind inevitably blowing the right way somewhere. Ideal conditions for all but experienced kitesurfers are cross / sideshore winds. These are pretty common with prevailing south-westerly winds blowing sideshore at a host of beaches. There are very few beaches with prevailing offshore winds in Cornwall, which is good as this is potentially dangerous for all kitesurfers. There is also no shortage of wind; given that speeds of around 12mph and up are required there aren't too many days when the wind is lighter than this.

Another prerequisite for kitesurfing is plenty of beach - you don't want to hit top speed only to find you've run out of sea! That's why spots such as Perranporth and Penhale sands are good choices. Lots of space also reduces the likelihood of running into someone else.

The kitesurfing conditions in Cornwall favour freeride, freestyle and wave-riding styles. Freeride is pretty much anything goes and is a combination of other styles. Freestyle is the big airs and jumps with all the associated grabs, loops etc.
Naturally wave-riding is an option in Cornwall. It usually requires the kitesurfer to surf the wave in the direction of the wind after getting towed into it. This does require some regular surfing ability and a floatier wave board is recommended.

Kitesurfing kit is pretty specialised so we aren't going to tackle anything except the very basics. If in doubt go and speak to someone at your local kitesurfing shop. Probably the best way to get started is with a beginners package with a board, kite, bar, lines and harness. Your size and weight will be a factor, as will the conditions you intend to use the rig in. Smaller kites suit stronger winds and / or smaller riders. In terms of board a medium sized twin tip (same at both ends) is the way to go.