Thursday, July 25, 2024
TravelCaribbeanAntigua Kitesurfing Guide

Antigua Kitesurfing Guide

by Jake Kelsick

I was born and raised in Antigua and got into kitesurfing in 2003. I got to travel a lot growing up thanks to kitesurfing; I have explored all through Europe, the United States and even places like Mauritius and Russia. Antigua is still my favourite place to live, kite and explore. The island has a chill vibe, fantastic weather and is still pretty undiscovered. You can’t beat a solo session or a day out with just you and your crew. If you are an avid kite or ocean person, it’s hard to find a better place. 

Need to Know (Quick Facts)

Airport Code: ANU

Average wind strength: 12-to-20 Knots

Best Months: Windy Season December-to-July. Windier months December-to-March 

Local pros: Jake Kelsick, Andre Phillip 

The Scene: 

Antigua has a pretty unique kite scene. Locally it’s still tiny with only a handful of locals regularly getting out. But it’s also very seasonal; Antigua is one of the main hubs for all the amazing sailboats and super yachts that come through the Caribbean, so when they are around in winter (December – May), the scene comes alive. Most of the crew that work on those boats live to kite on their days off. You can expect the weekend to be action packed and the week to be pretty mellow, which makes it a great place to learn, explore and progress as it’s still rather untouched. 

Riding Locations: 

There are three main spots on the island. Dutchman’s Bay Beach, Jabberwock beach and Green island. Dutchman’s and Jabberwock are easily accessible by car, whereas Green island, you will need a lift by boat to access it. Dutchman’s Bay Beach is where windsurfing first took off on the island and is now a magical kite spot with a place to stay and a few restaurants right on the beach. Jabberwock was the first official kite beach on the island and helped curate kiting into what it is today. This is the main spot that the everyday kiter will go to. Green Island is a great spot if you are on a boat and anchoring. There’s a big bay to anchor in and a pristine small beach to launch off. Just make sure you can stay upwind; there is no coming back if you miss the beach on the way back.

Where to eat: 

There is a good selection of spots to eat and drink on the island and they are all segmented pretty well. In season if you want to eat, drink and enjoy a little nightlife, you’ll likely head down to English Harbor. This is the main super yacht harbour so there will be loads of people around and stuff happening at night. Top spots in the Harbor are Club Sushi, Abras, Skull Duggery, Flatties and Catherine’s Café, a high-end spot for drinks and food on the beach. 

On the North side, where all the kiting happens, my go to spots are Garden Grill, Gather Steak House, Casanova, The Larder, Nomads, Papazok and Cassaroots. Garden Grill and the Steak House are located at Dutchman’s right next to our school, so we get sucked into eating there way too much, but the food is amazing! My go-to for lunch at the Grill is the fish burger, and for dinner at the Gather Steak House; pretty much anything on the menu will leave you needing a wheelbarrow to get home. The everyday driver is shawarma from Cassanova, pretty affordable and quick. 

The West side of Jolly Harbour area is a magical side of the island. It is in the lee, so very calm and protected with loads of beaches and bays and Sheer Rocks is an epic place to have a drink and watch the sunset.

Conditions (Gear to Bring): 

In-season conditions are usually 12-to-20 knots most days and very consistent. The most used kites are 10s, 12s and maybe 15s. You can get a week or two when you are on an 8, but it’s pretty rare; smooth and steady trade winds are the norm. This makes for epic twintip riding and great kite foil or wing foil missions! 

Local Knowledge: 

The weather on the island is usually very predictable. If you wake up and it’s windy, it’s likely to be windy all day. If it’s not, it’s unlikely it will pick up, making it easy to plan a full kite day or a day out exploring other spots on the island.

Must do: 

We offer a magical downwinder/flatwater session from Great Bird Island, which is a must do if you are on the island. It’s our favourite spot to kite. We can take a crew of up to six kiters and tap into some magical flatwater topped with an hour or so downwinder back to our HQ at Dutchman’s. It’s a unique spot because the conditions are top-tier, and even though it’s only about 20 minutes away, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. 

Getting there:

Getting to Antigua is easy; there are direct flights from the UK, Miami, New York, and several other places. There is only one airport, VC Bird International (ANU) and it’s only 3 minutes from our HQ at Dutchman’s Bay. So it’s possible to land in the afternoon and end your day with an evening session! 

Accommodations:

Dutchman’s Bay Cottages

This is our number one spot to recommend as it’s only 20 feet from our kite school HQ and is the only place to stay on the island with a kite spot right out front! The private cottages have fully functioning kitchens, so if you’re happy shopping and cooking, this will be perfect. There’s also one of Antigua’s only farm-to-table restaurants right next door. An unbeatable place to stay, and I recommend booking early as spots go fast!

 http://www.dutchmansbay.com/contact.html

Ocean Point Resort and Spa 

All-inclusive hotel about a 5-to-10 minute drive from our kite HQ at Dutchman’s Bay Beach. http://www.oceanpointantigua.com/

Hodges Bay Resort

A new, modern hotel just down the road from Dutchman’s Bay. If you’re looking for a fancy stay, this might be it! It isn’t all-inclusive, although there is a restaurant on site. 

https://www.hodgesbay.com/

Trade Wind Cottages

This lovely cottage was recently built. It is only a 5-minute drive to Dutchman’s Bay. This cottage boasts modern finishes and comes complete with everything needed for a memorable stay in Antigua. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/35428522?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=af99e3a2-32d1-4332-aa9b-eef7b57a1c69

Genesis King Suite

A modern, spacious one-bedroom apartment in a quiet semi-rural area. The suite is a 15 minute drive from Dutchman’s Bay. Nestled in a serene valley that makes for a peaceful getaway that is still not too far from the action.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/42448018?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=b397f3eb-53da-480b-830b-8a096b896e19

Ocean Vista

Affordable option not too far from the beach. Tranquil and safe neighbourhood.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16725579?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=009c3863-e83c-4c47-bbd9-251a1148e1b4

Local Schools/Shops:

Kelsick Kiteboarding: https://kelsickkiteboarding.com/

Kitesurf Antigua: https://kitesurfantigua.com/

40 Knots: https://www.40knots.net/

Local Videos

 

Jake Kelsick

Writer Bio: Jake Kelsick is a professional kiteboarder from Antigua. He has been kiteboarding since 2003 and has been a free rider for most of his career, creating online content about the sport to educate and inspire people to get hooked. He is also the co-founder of Kelsick Kiteboarding, one of the top water sports centres on the island, offering a wide range of services from kitesurfing lessons, wing foil lessons, kite trips, wakeboarding to wake foiling. 

 

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