Dimitri Maramenides has spent over two decades travelling the world’s most spectacular riding locations. Check out what his 10 favorite winter spots are and why he loves them. —Brian Ready
10. Maui, Hawaii, USA
One of kiteboarding’s legendary locations. Steeped in beauty and kite history, Maui has been well documented over the years. Warm waters and consistent daily wind makes it an easy draw. Lower Kanaha, AKA, Kite Beach sees the strongest winds between April and September and has a large beach and kite-specific launch area. When riding there you’re guaranteed to see a spectacular display of skills.
9. Baja California, Mexico
Many dedicated riders make Baja an annual pilgrimage for the winter months. The village of Los Barriles is a popular spot on the Sea of Cortez. Riders of all abilities will enjoy the size of the location and launch area. Beginners will enjoy the consistent conditions and water temps, while wave seekers will enjoy the shore break. Baja is home to some impressive sea life, but be sure not to interrupt the nesting sea turtles. The daily 20-knot winds are a result of thermal conditions, but a shorty and warm clothes are essential for the cooler nights. Baja is host to the popular Lord of the Wind event in January.
Aruba is likely the island with the most consistent winds. Warm water year-round and the lowest rainfall making it ideal for kiting. There are several kite spots ranging from flatwater to some pretty amazing waves. The average wind speed year round is 20 knots. Fisherman’s Huts at Palm Beach is the most popular spot but is gusty due to the high rise hotels in the area. At the very bottom of the southeast side of the island is Boca Grandi Beach and is a kiteboarding dream with white sand, side-on wind and small chop.
7. Union Island, The Grenadines
Union Island is not the easiest to get to, but well worth the effort. With its strong trade winds, perfect beaches and crystal clear, aqua water, it’s hard to resist. December through June offer consistent daily winds between 17-24 knots on average. Take advantage of the boat charters and explore hidden riding spots where Dimitri usually works on product photos that offer a unique perspective. Big Sand is the premiere wave riding spot on the island while Tobago Cays is a must for the abundant sea life that includes the leatherback turtle.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is known for strong, consistent winds from November to March where a 6-to-9-meter kites are required. Cape Town is the most popular riding spot and sits below the iconic Table Mountain. Dimitri is right at home in these strong conditions and enjoys the intense wave riding as well as the flatwater sessions in nearby Langabaan Lagoon (1.5 hours from Cape Town). Several years back Dimitri was invited on behalf of Greece to participate in the Red Bull Iron Man where running, cycling, hang-gliding and kiting were included disciplines. Dimitri endured the kiting segment with skill and power.
5. Barbados, West Indies
Barbados is home to some of the best waves on the planet with the Soup Bowl being renowned by pro surfer Kelly Slater who popularized the spot. These reef breaks require the mind of an advanced rider, but newer riders can take advantage of Surfer’s Point where the sets break in deeper water. Silver Rock beach is where most of the kiting action takes place and enjoys great launch space, strong winds and super warm water year round. Closer to shore, twintip riders can take advantage of the natural kickers, where directional riders can travel a little further out to enjoy the bigger break. All of the beaches in Barbados are rarely crowded, have public access and the island itself offers amazing cultural experiences.
4. Puerto Rico
Dimitri makes a point of visiting Puerto Rico once a year with his son Cameron for a surfing vacation. Often referred to as the ‘Hawaii of the Atlantic,’ the west coast town of Rincón’s beaches are consistently picked among the best in the world and regularly host top ranking surf competitions. Ocean Park, near San Juan is one of the best kiting locations on the island. The strong trade winds are consistent, and it’s home to several kite schools where you can rent gear. The island is loaded with spots and Dimitri is always willing to give you a tour.
Be sure to check out Kitesurfing Magazine’s Winter 2017/18 Issue for a Puerto Rico update and travel tips.
3. Cumbuco, Brazil
Most pro riders have some pretty crazy stories about their first trips to Brazil, and Dimitri is no different. After days of intense riding, the group set out to shoot photos and ended up driving a car down the face of a huge dune while Dimitri kited down, doing loops. There was an unforeseen wind shadow and Dimitri hit bottom so hard that he was knocked out. It resulted in some amazing photos, and after healing, Dimitri returned to partake in all the untouched terrain that Brazil has to offer.
2. Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Cabarete is synonymous with kiteboarding and home to several kiteboarding events including the PKRA stop. The warm water offers a variety of terrains from flatwater, to chop, to waves out on the reef providing riders of all levels and interests something to ride. Cabarete is home to many hotels so you can stay close to the beach. Dimitri loves to host demos here due to the popularity of Kite Beach for locals and tourists alike.
The Turks offers an extensive variety of locations for photo shoots and is a frequently visited spot. Long Bay was once considered remote but is now one of the busier riding spots on the island with shallow waters and winds ranging around 15-25 knots from November through to July. Chalk Sound is also another stellar spot, but if you want the best experience, book with an adventure company and get to riding locations that are off the beaten path.