Best kitespots in lockdown - By Roderick Pijls

Kiteboarder Roderick Pijls at kitesurf beach Tarifa

My Best Spots in Lockdown

Once upon a time...  There was a virus that changed our entire way of traveling, spending holidays and way of crossing borders. We are in this situation now since 2 years and, as we as humans do, we have adapted. Normally we would search for flights to the other side of the world instead of driving somewhere. Since our beautiful friend, ‘Rona’, has entered into our daily life we have been re-eveluating our holiday destinations. So have I, normally I would have traveled to Mauritius, Indonesia, Australia, etc.. to train and get ready for the next competitions. 

Of course has our friend ‘Rona’ been a ban on many things, but it has also shed some light on the (new) spots close to home and has opened up my eyes to some insane kiting destinations. Below you’ll find my list of favourite locations during the lockdown(s).

Tarifa

When I started kitesurfing my first trip was to South of Spain, Tarifa. After that I haven’t visited this spot for over 10 years. I always thought that there was more/ better/ nicer locations on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. After we entered the first lockdown I noticed that I still have to go somewhere in winter time where I can have some good quality training sessions instead of being afraid to crash as I am kiting on frozen water. 

Tarifa surprised me (again) in many ways. There are dozen of great spots from butter-flat lagoons to kicker waves and, with some swell activity, some amazing wave spots. 

There are many different spots on driving distance that offer great variety on conditions depending on the wind direction (e.g., Balnario/ Valdevaqueros/ Canos de Meca/ Getares/ Palmones/ El Palmar). As there are 2 main wind streams (Poniente and Levante) there is always a spot that offer your demands.

 

kitespot Tarifa

 

Portugal

If you are looking for the right price-quality ratio; then Portugal must be on your list. No sure what it is, but it has always been one of my favourites. Grabbing a breakfast; €4, going for a coffee (or Espresso as the real Portugese do haha..); €0,90. 

If you are off for 7 days and you want to spend 5 out of 5 days on the water with at least 25 knots, then this might not be your destination. But if you are willing to discover the environment a bit, go surfing if there’s no wind or try some foiling, then I would definitely recommend Portugal. I have been going to Peniche for several times now and have had every day water time. There are many spots nearby, but you will need a car. There’s a magical lagoon in Obidos, good waves near Baleal and if you drive a bit more south of Lisbon you will find the lagoon of Albufeira.

Brazil

Many countries have recognised corona and also took some restrictions (e.g., lockdown/ restaurant closure, curfew, etc..). Brazil has a president that believes in the saying of Darwin; ‘Survival of the fittest’ and therefor it has never been a big issue traveling to Cumbuco, Brazil. All you would need to do is to book a flight take a PCR-test and wait for your flight to arrive. I must admit that it might feel a bit awkward coming from a strict lockdown country and going into an oase with (almost) no restrictions, but I can also tell you that it will feel comfortable really quickly haha.. As there is always a consistent breeze of wind, 30+ degrees and everyone is spending their entire day at the beach there is also almost no infections near Cumbuco and the ‘beach areas’. With the consistent Brazilian thermal winds you would only need to bring 2 sizes (between an 9 and 13) and you are able to kite 98% of the days. I have been coming there for the last 10 years (at least 30 days each time) and I think I have not been able to kite for 5 days in those 10 years. If you’ve never been; definitely a bucket-list item.

 

Kiteboarder Roderick Pijls freestyling

 

Home - The Netherlands

Last but (definitely) not Least; home. We have all been there; should I book a flight and try to go, should I just drive and try to cross the border, should I just… and eventually you postpone your trip and just stay at home. This also happened several times to me, but it has showed me some Insane (with capitol letters) spots in my home country, The Netherlands. 

The Netherlands doesn’t really has a thermal wind directions, nor does it has a super dominant wind direction. The wind flicks from left to right and from 10 to 35+ knots. Below I’ve listed some spots that have showed me the bright side on this ‘Rona’ era;

  • Ouddorp; Pure sublimity with low-tide and onshore winds. Butter, but I mean; BUTTER, flat waters and super stable winds
  • Maasvlakte/ De Slufter; With many sandbars this spot offers insane amount of small lagoons and perfect take-off spots to boost your freestyle or big-air level. With high tide there are some waves breaking on the outside sandbar, which offers some kicker sessions
  • Scheveningen; With South-West winds and some swell activity, behind the pier.. not sure how to describe this spot, but looks like it has been man-build for these conditions. Big kickers coming in for some gigantic boost sessions.
  • De Grevelingen; If you are looking for a relaxing session, just to get a wet wetsuit and enjoy the environment; then this spot is what you are looking for. Beautiful scenery, with little islands in the lake, crystal clear waters (sometimes you can look more then 6+ meters deep) and sometimes some Dutch flamingo’s. 
  • Medemblik; Normally you would keep your kite gear dry with Easterly winds, but you will have such a sick session at this spot. Be aware of the trees at the launch spot, but once you're out on the water you will be able to find some glassy parts to get that perfect take off. 

 

Kiteboarder making big jump
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