Erin Swain: Turks and Caicos Kiteboarding Report
Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to kiteboard. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at http://www.thekiteboarder.com/tag/erin-swain/
I have found Kiteboarding PARADISE! After a last-minute decision to switch our plane tickets to the islands of Turks and Caicos, my fiance Doug and I experienced the best vacation ever. Having seen pictures and video of the island called Providenciales (Provo), I was anticipating an amazing trip. With the wind forecast in the 20s, what we got was a dream come true.
Once we arrived on the island, we rented a car so we could explore the island. Doug quickly acclimated to driving on the left hand side of the road, navigating through all the traffic circles to bring us to a beach called Long Bay.
Walking through perfectly manicured hedges with a palm tree lined white gravel path onto powdery soft white sand empty beach with turquoise water was surreal. During our first kite session, I was actually relieved by a crab pinching my toe just to reinstate the fact that I was not dreaming!
The kiting in Provo was spectacular! We rented boards from Mike (nicknamed The German) , who owns Kite Provo. We discovered that Mike used to live on the Outerbanks too. He hooked us up with great boards and told us we could trade them out at anytime if we wanted a different one.
He also showed us the best spots to kite and other beaches to check out while visiting the island, He had his hands full teaching beginner lessons everyday, so book him in advance if you’re planning on going for lessons! (http://www.kiteprovo.com/)
On Long Bay, the water is only waist deep for about a mile out. One the north side of the beach, beautiful mangroves line the point. My kiting started improving immediately. I found myself with tons of room to practice transitions and toeside riding. Even though I spent the winter in Puerto Rico, Shacks Beach has shallow sharp reef with way more consequences, so I maintained my kiting but did not progress much.I was also afraid to try jumping, so that fear has been a setback.
By day three of great wind, Doug had watched a couple of guys work on tricks and he started nailing his back rolls. That was all the motivation I needed. I decided that I was on vacation with the sole purpose of getting better at kiting during my sessions. In an almost zero consequence kite location, I was ready to try jumping.
The first few times, I pulled my back hand down but was not aggressive enough. These attempts were merely to ‘feel out’ a little lift. After a few of these, I would take it over a little further. I got some advice about pointing the board downwind to gain speed before edging upwind and popping off the water. This was great advice because I was always so focused on carving and edging upwind.
The first time I actually jumped with the kite picking me up out of the water, it was INSANE! It was perfect! I probably only got 2-3 feet of air but I hung like a pendulum, feeling light as a feather. I am hooked! I attempted my jumps both right and left and started feeling the timing more and more.
I still don’t have it down yet, but for the first time I felt the thrill of getting air. This sport just keeps getting better and better! It’s providing me the adrenaline and euphoria of flying!
This will not be our last trip to Provo. Next time we will definitely be taking advantage of Big Blue’s Kite Safari. This is where Phil will take kiters on a secluded and safe downwinder to inaccessible parts of the islands through slicks, swamps, and mangroves. You can check info on this at http://www.bigblueunlimited.com/kiteboarding-turks-caicos-kitesurfing-windsurfing.shtml.
I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my kite dream vacation and consider booking a trip to Turks and Caicos, you will not regret it!