Kitesurfing in waves has a huge appeal to proficient kiteboarders. It’s a natural progression from basic free riding. For a few years we’ve been hearing about a remote wild spot in central Baja California. This spring we finally experienced it for ourselves, thanks to Megan and Ian from Exotkite Kiteboarding School and their spring wave camps in Baja California. We had one week of getting oriented and playing in the awesome waves and then co-hosted an incredible camp. The first ever (first annual) KB4girls Women’s Wave Riding Retreat. It was AWESOME.
The wave is a lovely gentle breaking right-hander. Beginner tip: waves that break to the right are excellent for regular-footed kitesurfer. It’s a point-break that breaks onto a totally benign sand-bar. No crashing on to reef or rocks here! The wave breaks nicely for a good 100 feet, with new sections opening up for practicing your bottom turns and off-the-lip top turns. We nicknamed the top of the wave “Everest”. Yes it does get big! But it’s also gentle – perfect for wave kitesurfer with a little more experience. For first-time kitesurfing in waves riders you can pick up the wave lower down the break. We called that spot “Kilimanjaro”. Very friendly, smaller size, and ideal for kiters who’ve never been in kitesurfing in waves before.
We had great wind for the two weeks. Ladies were on 7m-9m kites and the guys were on 8m-11m most days. The wind pattern is such that it picks up in the afternoon. Wind speed normally peaks around 6pm. Sunset in May was at around 8:30pm. The most challenging part is having patience to wait for the wind to fill in completely. A few days we got anxious and rigged early. By the time the wind finished filling in we were all one kite size too over-powered. The wind for kitesurfing in the waves was really steady, making it much easier to learn. The wind direction varies during the day. It was starting mostly side-shore to side-off-shore. As the wind speed builds it tended to clock more off-shore. The Exotikite camps come with safety boat support.
Cold. I used a 4/3 full suit with a 1mm neoprene top underneath. This set up kept me happy, although I was a bit envious of Andie’s heated wetsuit vest. I was also happy to have my neoprene hoodie jacket for the boat-rides back from the downwinders. Speaking of cold, the air temperature post-kitesurfing is also chilly. A puffy coat and a beanie are the minimum. If you have room/weight in the suitcase some fleece is nice too.
The closest airport is Loreto, LTO. From there it’s a massive 5+ hour drive down a crazy Mexican highway ending with a 20 minute quasi-roadless salt flat crossing. The good news is the views are awesome along the way. And the Exotikite team provides the airport transfer so you don’t need to drive or rent a car. Once you’re there everything is walking distance, and you can rent a bike.
Sleeping and Eating
The cabanas are directly on the beach, right in front of the wave and at the mouth of the estuary. The accommodation is basic: bed, one dresser, small table/chairs and a little coffee maker. Every cabana has it’s own water heater and post kitesurfing hot showers every day is the biggest luxury! The front porch has a little bench where you can watch the fisherman coming in and out, the resident dolphins passing by, and the local sea lion catching fish and fighting off seagulls. With just 6 cabanas it feels like a tiny house village filled with like-minded friends: new and old!
The camp includes two meals: breakfast and dinner. We all gained at least 5 lbs on this trip, not sure if I should blame the home-made fried tortilla chips or the ice-cold Pacifico Baja Fogs. Probably a combination of the two plus the massive amounts of food and incredible variety of dishes at each meal. The chefs are awesome. They took great care of us, and happily catered to our vegan and gluten-free kitesurfing women. There is a grocery store in town with fruit, nuts, crackers etc. We brought Probars and Trader Joes trail-mixes (that might also account for a couple of the extra lbs leaving!).
Flat-water down-winder in the estuary: a great adventure and a good low wind day alternative. After dogging just one sketchy area of rebar that’s submerged on a high-tide you end up at “Egypt”. It’s a butter flat section with sand dune behind and tons of room before the mangroves. Ideal for practicing skills like jibes and tacks.
Ocean side beach-break downwinder: perfect for novices to kitesurfing in the waves. 7 miles of constant beach-break along a sandy shoreline. This one was a huge crowd pleaser amongst the women’s wave-riding retreat participants, everyone ended with huge smiles and great progression in their wave-riding.
Yoga: Megan teaches one of the best yoga classes I’ve ever done. Every morning she sets up the yoga studio right on the beach. It’s included in all their camps. I had a ton of fun doing yoga with guys who had never tried before, super cool!
SUP and surfing: Either right out in front of base camp or a 10 minute drive in the Exotikite suburban to a perfect little right-handed point break. Surfboards and SUP boards are also included in their camps, so you don’t need to bring yours! Also the coaches can give you tips on surfing and catching waves on your SUP.
Beach running and beach combing: Hard-packed sand and a super safe environment to run or walk.
Now it’s your turn for kitesurfing in waves!
Anyone interested in learning kitesurfing in waves should start saving a week in their spring 2017 calendar now. Ladies we would love to have you for our KB4girls – The Women’s Kiteboarding Organization event. We filled the week completely this year, and all the ladies are requesting to come back, so planning to add another week to give more female kitesurfer the opportunity to have this amazing experience. Guys you’re encouraged to check it out too! The Exotikite team will be running tons of camps next year and you won’t find better hosts, teachers, guides, and safety.
For more info about this location check out Laurel’s blog post announcing the event. Enjoy a few more shots from the trip!