Kitesurfing has become one of the most popular ‘extreme’ watersports in recent years.
Combining elements of surfing, windsurfing, sailing and paragliding, kiteboarders fly across the water on fibreglass boards by harnessing the wind with large, controllable power kites.
With its long stretches of sandy beaches and the winds and swells coming in from the Atlantic, thanks to its long stretches of sandy beaches and the winds and swells coming in from the Atlantic, Wales has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best kitesurfing destinations in the world, From Anglesey in the north down to Aberavon in the south, via Pembrokeshire and the Gower peninsula, Wales has something for every kitesurfer.
Jones is a multiple world and British champion
The queen of Welsh kitesurfing is Carmarthenshire-born Kirsty Jones. She is one of Britain’s most successful kitesurfers, with three World Wave titles and three British Championship wins under her belt. In 2006, Jones won the Red Bull Master of the Ocean title for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
While she got her first taste of kitesurfing in Hawaii, it was in her home country of Wales that the multiple champion honed her skills. And the spectacular west-Wales coast is where her heart lies.
Inside information from Wales’ top surfer
These are Kirsty’s favourite spots.
Dale and Bosherton
“I used to go to Dale with my parents when I was very young, and it’s still a favourite place. There’s a little pub called the Griffin right on the beach, which serves very good food. Across the estuary, Bosherston is another place I’ve always loved. You’ve got the lily pools, St Govan’s Head and Broad Haven South beach, which gets some great, challenging Atlantic surf.”
“I started kitesurfing in Hawaii when I was 21, but the beaches there were crowded. When I came back, I found Newgale was much better – a long, sandy beach with no shortage of space. I started a kitesurf school there called Big Blue, which a friend of mine is still running. I had to sell it when I started competing on the world tour, and it’s gone from strength to strength. They do surfing, coasteering and paddleboarding there now.”
Freshwater West and Tenby (Pembrokeshire)
“Pembrokeshire is such a good spot because it’s pretty exposed to the elements. You get a lot of Atlantic swell, and I like kitesurfing in waves. Freshwater West is one of the best places to go, though it’s not ideal for beginners because of currents and reefs. If you prefer flat water, Tenby is fantastic when the wind’s coming in from the right direction.”
The Gower Peninsula
“You’ve got some of the best views in West Wales there. When you see Worm’s Head, it just knocks the breath out of you. And everyone loves Llangennith. It’s a beach with something for everyone: surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking or walking. You meet some real characters there. A lot of the Welsh surf legends are from Gower.”
“The coast around Abersoch is less exposed to the brunt of the Atlantic swell, so it’s perfect for beginners. I have very fond memories of kitesurfing there with a boy called Aaron Hadlow: he was about 12, and learning with his dad. The three of us would be the only kitesurfers on the beach. Aaron went on to be five-times world champion, so I suppose we both did well from those beginnings on wild Welsh beaches!”
For more information on Kitesurfing in Wales check out the following links:
Top Welsh kitesurfing spots:
Information on kitesurfing in Wales: