It’s fast. It’s bumpy. It’s splashy. And for those who like to dabble in extreme sports, “kite boarding” (also known as “kite surfing”) is a must-try activity in Barbados.
The adventure begins when you slip your feet under the straps of a snowboard-styled board. Then, instead of holding a sail like you would in windsurfing, you hang on to a metal bar that controls a large “kite,“ similar to the ones used in parasailing. Catch a little wind, and off you go.
The beaches on the southeast side of Barbados, including Silver Rock and Long Beach, provide ideal conditions for beginner and experts – 10-15 mph winds, small waves and a sandy ocean bottom. The Barbados’ best kite boarding months are November-July.
This isn’t the type of sport you can teach yourself. To learn, set aside at least half a day and take lessons.
There’s no lack of companies offering kite boarding lessons for first-timers, and some offer IKO-certified instructors (International Kite boarding Organization) instructors. BarbadosKite.com has a good summary of places. One place in particular, de Action Beach Shop, is run by Barbados native and Olympic windsurfer Brian Talma.
Kite surfing is not for kids, and it costs around $120 for two hours of group lessons. But in exchange, you’ll get adrenaline and thrills that will stick with you for a lifetime. And if you’d rather just be a spectator, be in Barbados in January, when the island hosts its annual kite surfing championship.