Wow!!! O.k. let me elaborate…

 

If you’ve not been to Zanzibar before that needs to change whether you’re a kitesurfer or not!

 

Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian coast, at just 60 miles long and 20 miles wide it’s not a large island but one that a lot to offer; characterised by beautiful, fine, white, sandy beaches, fringing coral reefs and the magic of historic Stone Town.

 

Zanzibar boasts more than 25 fantastic beaches and loads of small islands that are perfect for downwind kitesurfing sessions. Some of Zanzibar’s beaches and islands are so peaceful and remote that the only noise breaking the silence is likely to be the ocean; beautiful sands, idyllic lagoons, reef breaks, mind blowing down winders, flat turquoise waters and perfectly formed waves that range in size make kitesurfing dreams reality.

 

Kitesurfkings spent eight months planning a discovery trip with African Space to insure that we would maximise our 12 day trip, create a kitesurfing first for Zanzibar and a smash our customers’ expectations of what may be possible to achieve and experience during one of our kitesurfing holidays.

 

Our direct flight from London to Dar Es Salam departed on the 31st August 2010 and we were greeted by Jamie from African Space at the airport in a rather pimp transfer bus that took us over to the ferry. Jamie’s contacts, local knowledge and grasp of the language (Swahili) proved to be invaluable as soon as we got to the ferry port with all of our kit – Jamie knows his stuff! Our minds were put at ease instantly and that, along with the first class cabin set the tone for our trip.

 

Our tourist visas were arranged for us and we were rushed through past the queues of travellers to our awaiting transfer vehicles. The 50km drive from Stone Town to the village of Paje was a really pleasant one with lots of life and scenery to take in and enjoy.

 

When we arrived in Paje the locals were forthcoming with kind waves, smiles and greetings that made us feel instantly welcome. We were shown to our rooms at the Arabian Nights Guesthouse, exclusively for our guests, this was to be our base for the next 10 days. Rolling onto the beach we were all mesmerised, what a beach! Picture perfect with fine white sands, turquoise waters, flat sea with a reef break out the back, masses of room to kite but only a few kiters on the water and our kite centre (Airborne Kites) just 200 meters away. The view we were all sharing was enough to reenergise the batteries after our journey and was more beautiful than photographs could capture.

 

There were no large tourist centres or hotels but just a laid back assortment of facilities/services that consisted of everything we needed; next door to our accommodation was a seriously cool bar called Paje By Night, that was also open during the day, we could see that as well as serving great food, coffee and cocktails, this was going to be a seriously nice place to hang out. Fresh fruit was being sold on the beach alongside masseuse services, both were to prove handy. We made a swift change into boardies and T’s, then regrouped at the Arabian Nights’ first floor, sea view restaurant to share our excitement, a fresh fish curry, rice and mixed local vegetables.

 

Over the next 10 days the group were to find out that Paje was just the tip of the iceberg and that the ‘Discover Zanzibar Trip with Kitesurfkings and African Space’ would exceed everyone’s expectations.

We did spend time kitesurfing directly in front of our hotel in Paje as it’s a great spot and we couldn’t not squeeze as much kiting in as possible but kitesurfing Paje would often happen at the beginning or end of one of our boat assisted down winders. Before each kitesurfing trip we would have briefings at the kite centre before leaving, prior to launching our kites for the session and often after dinner so that we made sure everyone was happy about the planned activities and knew exactly ‘how?’,’ where?’ and ‘what if?’.  The Kitesurfkings safety hat came out prior to embarking on our first downwind session and we had a morning of going through everyone’s safety systems, with everyone getting into the water to practice their deep water pack downs.

 

Without giving too much away for all of you guys who’ve been knocking down the door to join us on our next Zanzibar trip here are some of the groups’ favourite sessions…

 

A progression session in a flat water lagoon, kiting in waist deep water with sand underfoot and a gang of local kids cheering us on, before kiting downwind 15km from Makunduchi back to Paje; some of the group kiting in front of the reef, some playing in the butter flat waters over the reef, some kiting the first sets of waves with others going out back to catch the odd 8ft wave.

 

Sandbars, snorkelling, seafood, lagoon and open sea kiting… all and more in the same session. The day started like most others with a fab breakfast at the Arabian Nights, then a drive to the other side of the island before boarding a large wooden boat that had plenty of shade from the sun and ice cold drinks a plenty. We stopped at a small sandbar about 100m x 50m to pick up fins, snorkels and masks before being cruising over to a great snorkelling spot to spend half an hour check out what’s under the water for a change. Jan from Airborne was so confident that the wind would be with us just after 11am that we cruised over to another sandbar island to set up our kites…

 

As predicted the wind was perfect by 11.30 and out we went on our 9’s, 10’s and 12’s; we spent 45mins kiting around the sandbar before departing for our first open water downwinder. Our destination looked small but we’d had our briefing and knew what we were up to, next stop Kwale Island. This downwinder was liberating and those of us confident in our kites’ relaunch capabilities were throwing new tricks and venturing off to visit local fishing boats to exchange waves and smiles…

 

A fresh seafood feast was waiting for us on Kwale Island but we won’t to spoil the surprise for anyone. After a some post feast sun lounging we kited between Kwale Island and a nearby sandbar for a couple of hours, those of us with the energy then hit the open sea, to Kitesurf back to the mainland, alongside our boat containing the rest of the crew.

 

A chilled little sunset downwind kitesurfing session from Paje with an unplanned 5 star finish was the favourite session for a couple of the guys as we were all kiting so closely together, the scenery was awesome, we had a beautiful  sunset and an unintentional finishing point, which all made for good times. The session started by kitesurfing the flat waters of Paje before following the coastline downwind, spending some of the time in the waves and the rest in the flat waters between the beach and the reef. We’d planned to finish at a funky bar that were putting on a spread of hors d’oeuvres for us before we’d then head off for a fine seafood supper at another spot; after the odd rescue and everyone enjoying it all just too much we changed the plan on route and the group followed myself (Luke from Kitesurfkings) to the reserve pick up point. The reserve pick up point was a good 10km from that we had planned but just happened to neighbour a flash 5 star resort and we happily finished the kiting session with cold beers and bar snacks. We still made it to our ‘funky’ bar and seafood supper.

 

A personal favourite kitesurfing experience from the trip was a 30km downwinder that started with us kitesurfing in a flat water lagoon before kiting over a shallow reef to get to clean waves that we rode down the coast where we were joined by pro kitesurfer Jeremie Tronet and some of his chums. We then made an epic open channel crossing to a mirage like reef break in front of Mnemba Island. The waves were perfect, the sky magical and water so clear that we enjoyed an array of fish, sting rays and sea turtles. We kitesurfed up and down, in and out, the reef break for as long as our legs would allow before heading downwind across the mind bogglingly flat water in front of the reef break to Mnemba Island where we paused on the fine white sand to share our elation. The sun was setting which made the sky even more breathtaking but meant we had to speed things up and so after kiting the lagoons of the island, made our final downwind crossing back to the mainland.

 

Other highlights raised in feedback from the group included swimming with Dolphins, visiting Stone Town and a local market, seeing Humpback whales, a fishing trip, wave riding, sunset sessions, seafood, the BBQ and kiting at will in front of the centre.

 

My favourite quotes from the trip…

 

Rowan and Bridget: ‘’our favourite spot and best ever kiting experience’’

Ross: ‘’this has been the best day of my life’’ (Mnemba Island day)

Nick: ‘’100% happiness is on the water’’

Kayode and Hanna: ‘’Great! Chill, kite, food, bars, friendly locals… kiting or not there’s so much to do!’’

 

The first kitesurfing discovery trip for Zanzibar was a huge success and we’re excited about returning in 2011. We’re wishing to run trips aimed at kitesurfers of varying levels in January/February and June/July 2011, if you’d like to find out more or get your name down for one of these trips then please get in contact by emailing info@kitesurfkings.com and using the header ‘Zanzibar’. You can also join our mailing list via our website www.kitesurfkings.com

Zaafarana baby!!! Umm kitesurfing holidays! Kitesurfkings next group kitesurfing trip to Zaafarana kicks off tomorrow, in style, with a great group of 10 up for it kiters of mixed abilities. Who’s the group leader for this one?! Yeah man…

Can not wait! Spoke to the rest of the guys and everyone is pumped and counting down the minutes!! I’ve got bags packed, all four of them! Maxing out with a full quiver of 2010 Cabrinha Convers, 2010 Cabrinha Swtichblades, one 2010 Cabrinha Crossbow and one 2010 Cabrinha Nomad thrown in for fun, topped off with a 2010 Cabrinha Custom 136 – and that’s just my kit. Ummm Cabrinha, each to their own but my own is Cab….

The flat water lagoons and smooth steady wind is the perfect testing and progression ground for Kitesurfers. I know some of the other guys will be bringing out their wake bindings and just about eveyone has new toys for this next Kitesurfkings group trip. Mark my words, the guys just up and riding will be jumping and riding toe side, those not up will be cruising up wind and those jumping already will have to see what they have in the bravery tank to see how far they can take it.

Don’t miss out on our next sessions – haven’t you earned a real kitesurfing holiday? – we’ve got advanced session to Coche in South America with Christian and Karine in May, followed by Zaafarana in June and more Kitesurfkings group sessions up for grabs too. Email interest to info@kitesurfkings.com

We’ve had loads of people saying how jealous they are, well sell your TV and come and enjoy your life!

Wind is due back tomorrow!

February 20, 2010

For most of the UK and  into Europe the wind forecasts are looking mixed up but certainly windy! Enjoy!!! Hv spoken to loads of kitesurfers planning on kitesurfing tomorrow; for us at Shoreham Beach low tide is at 08.30 and you know there’s going to be a healthy shore dump by mid tide so worth getting up early. Latest forecast for Shoreham shows WSW 16 to 24 knots from 8am to 11am, wind in the early afternoon but dropping off after 4pm. No doubt it’ll be gusty but there could be a meter swell and there will be good times had – personally jealous as won’t be kitesurfing!!! More wind Monday but mega gusty and gusts over 30 knots, mixed forecasts for the rest of the week but there will be the odd day to grab and enjoy.

For Shoreham Beach and the beaches close by we now have a live weather station from the main Kitesurfkings website. It’s already working really well but further improvements are being made so get it in your favourites and we’ll keep wind dancing.

Kitesurf Tuesday (16th Feb)

February 15, 2010

Also known as Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday…

For us south coast kitesurfers there’s just the one day in the seven day forecasts that looks like it’s going to happen and that is tomorrow. A kitesurfers dream forecast, 20 to 25 knots all day, wind from the south west and even a little bit of swell. Low tide for us in Shoreham is at 6.30 and 18.45 so the door is open to all for pre and post work kitesurf sessions! I’m off to cry a tear of sadness as have doctors orders to rest a damaged knee.

Crystal Ball Anyone?

February 4, 2010

We had a nice kitesurfing session arranged for this morning, up checking the wind before 7 only to see a wind speed of 7 knots. Around midday it did build but not enough to go kitesurfing. Thanks to the crew we that were all up for this morning’s session, shame it didn’t happen…

Need a crystal ball to work out what’s happening with the current forecasts as change by the hour. If it’s on tomorrow then I’ll do a pre work in Shoreham, will keep fingers crossed and hope to see some other kitesurfers down in Shoreham if it happens. Kiting could still be possible on the w’end, learner conditions rather than out and out kitesurf action I’m afraid.

To the one kitesurfer out in Lancing when I got to Shoreham this morning at 7.30, I salute you! A few other kitersurfers could be seen as the morning rolled on, although it was hard to see up the coast through the grey. Although grey it was, how great to be out! 20 knots on arrival, highest gusts today were at 8.30 and reached 28 knots. Wind flicked around from SW to straight W and the waves were reasonable. Good times.

Above’s a photo taken by Craig Sawyer of Dan Sweeney, neither being put off by the cold, who’s more mental? The guys doing the kitesurfing or Craig standing in the water taking photos?!

Missed today’s session? All is not lost…

The wind forecast for the weekend has improved: Saturday the forecast is 15 to 20 knots SW/S/SW, so could be bang on shore or our fav, south-west. Aim for low tide if its early days for you or you might not get out. Sunday forecast is now 19 to 20 knots SW – yeah baby! Low tide at 11.40, come on south coast kitesurfers, let’s represent!

Kitesurfkings are running lessons on both days, get your name down if you want to be on the hit list.

Powerkites and Bow Kites at Devils Dyke

More light northerly winds are forecast for the week ahead so it’s good news for kite landboarding and not such great news for kitesurfers that don’t have private rescue. When’s Fatboy going to start kitesurfing, sure he’d buy a cheeky speed boat to kitesurf the south coast on northerly winds.

Anyway, there is good news for any hardcore kitesurfers who want to get a pre work kite session in on Tuesday. The forecast, which we all know changes a lot, now states that we will have a WSW bouncing between 20 and 30 knots. We are due heavy rain and gusty conditions but that sounds good to me! Low tide is around 7.30am and the wind is due to go back off shore later in the day so don’t miss it!!

I’m thinking about having a kite in Hove but there haven’t been many kitesurfers out in Hove recently and the self launching and landing there is not ideal with the posts, poles and groynes. If anyone’s up for a kite first thing Tuesday morning in Hove then let’s meet up.

If there are no takers for Hove then it’ll be Shoreham Beach. The traffic has been a bit of a nightmare between Brighton and Shoreham recently and at busy o’clock it won’t be the best. The upside of kitesurfing in Shoreham is that The Beach Cafe does a bloody great cooked breakfast. Knowing there’s a nice cuppa and a cooked breakfast waiting could justify squeezing an extra hour out on the water. Shoreham or Hove, anyone up for a kit Tuesday? ‘I’ve gotta work’, we’ve all gotta work so let’s get on it early doors!!

Kite landboarding at our site on Devils Dyke has been excellent this week; the site is a dedicated Kitesurfkings landboarding site and is privately owned so if you’re after a lesson that’s great. If you’re already kite landboarding then that’s cool and you’ll have your own locations you use. Sorry but we can’t invite none students to use Devils Dyke for kite landboarding. I’m sure we’ll arrange sessions later in the year when we’ll have a ‘come and play’ landboarding session but for now it’s Kitesurfkings lessons only I’m afraid.