March 15, 2013
The north coast of Cornwall is the first patch of land that the prevailing south-westerly winds encounter after accelerating over the Atlantic. You can either get annoyed, or get a kite – and the kite is the only option guaranteed to make you smile.
Acres of sand, a brisk onshore wind and a power kite combines to make utter heaven to those in the know. You can simply play around with the kite itself, getting pulled about and skidding along the beach on your heels, or you can add a buggy, a landboard or a kiteboard into the mix, and get some serious traction.
Powerkiting generally means just you and the kite. With a smallish kite (which generates less power), this can be a great family activity for those with kids of six years plus. Make swooping figures of eight with the kite, try a little jump when the kite hits the wind envelope and surges upwards, or ‘skud’ along being dragged by the kite – it’s a real giggle.
Once you’ve got the hang of how the wind interacts with the kite, you can try buggying or landboarding. The balance element of buggying is more straightforward – you’re seated and feeling fairly stable, but you’ll need a bigger kite as the buggy adds significant weight. Once you’re moving, you’re so close to the sand in the buggy that the sense of speed can feel astonishing.
A landboard is more agile but a little trickier; getting going is a more delicate procedure as you try to remain upright and balanced while edging the kite into the wind and counteracting the power surge.
Kitesurfing is arguably the pinnacle of the traction kiting world; adding surf into the equation demands a further skill set. The increased risks mean that it’s not considered the best option for under 18s. This one takes longer to master – lessons generally begin on dry land before progressing into shallow water with the kite alone – it’s important to understand how to react when the kite crashes while you’re partially submerged. Only when you’re confident in your control of the kite will a board be introduced and you’ll be discovering the thrill of the fastest traction kiting sport.
Any kind of kiting works best on a big, wide beach. Prime spots in Cornwall include Watergate Bay (best for beginners), Perranporth, Daymer Bay and Marazion on the south coast.
Watergate Bay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA, 01637 860543
Powerkiting, landboarding, buggying and kitesurfing at Watergate Bay
Based between Newquay and Perranporth, Cornwall, 08456 430 630
Powerkiting, buggying, landboarding and kitesurfing