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Isabel Von Zastrow's Top Winter Kite Destinations

February 05, 2019

issy von zastrow kiteboarding bikini

Team Sensi rider Isabel Von Zastrow is a globetrotting kiteboarder who loves to chase the sun. We asked her to share her favorite spots to escape the winter blues. 
Everyone needs a bit of a respite from the cold temperatures and the bundles of clothing at some point.  These are 4 of my favorite kite destinations that will keep you shredding all of the frigid months.
Woman on beach in Kenya
#1 - Kenya 
I am a bit biased (as it is my home) but really, the kiteboarding is legit here.  With the smooth tradewinds and the tropical Indian ocean colors, you won’t need anything more and a swimsuit in your luggage.  The entire coastline is paralleled with a reef to ensure a calm beach break.  There are multiple kite locations including Diani, Watamu, Mombasa, and Lamu.
All have their individual quirks and priorities.  Diani is a big beach with lots of schools and nightlife.  Watamu is a bit more of a quieter vibe but is beckoning with its unbelievable ocean colors.  Mombasa is an easy destination due to the airport but is more of an advanced riding area due to coral, rocks, and lack of schools.  Lamu is the most remote place due to its island seclusion on the north of the coast but delivers the most stunning sand lagoons when the tide changes.
The wind is on the lighter side and builds more in the afternoons.  9m and 12m kites are the most common sizes used in the area.  Bring lots of suncream and a good book for the down days!
#2 - Baja 
The ease of half day travel (from the USA) makes Mexico a go-to for a short holiday.  With waves, flat water, and kite parks, there is every sort of kiting you can imagine.  The wind is variable, so bringing a variety of kites and boards is essential. I flew mostly a 10m but some days can be nuking in La Ventana.  WARNING! the holiday season can be packed with tourists.  Best to plan your trip according to your priorities as the parties and nightlife can be large!  
Woman kiteboarding in Baja
There are other places to check out as well. The Pacific side allows more for early mornings but is more focused on (non-kite) surfing.  The late spring will bring wind to this part of the peninsula and open up point breaks and empty kite spots to explore. Bring some wetsuits as the north wind can bring a chill!
#3 - South Africa
This is definitely a one-of-a-kind place.  There are so many reasons why not only kiters but people in general return to Cape Town year after year.  The combination of waves, wind, amazing food and affordability make it a destination you will extend your ticket for.  
The summer and windy season sit perfectly over Christmas and New Years.  Personally, I love the springtime in the city due to the lighter wind, cooler temperatures, and fewer people on the beaches.  The season is on from November through March and when it's on, it's on!  Bring small kites for the Cape Doctor’s famous strong wind and a thick wetsuit for the frigid waters.  A surfboard is a great idea with straps for when the waves jack up and get huge!  Don’t forget to check out the hikes, wine tasting, and the Saturday food markets!
Woman kiteboarding lagoon
#4 - Brazil 
The best-known kite mecca in the world to date. All the pros go for the incredible flat water and the steady consistent wind. There is no need to watch the forecast because the wind will be there when you wake up in the morning. The amazing part of this country is the 200 km stretch of beach which increases its wind strength the further north you go. There are waves along the shore the whole way so don’t forget your surfboards!
If you are a lagoony, 7m-13m will be necessary to kite from sun up to sun down.  The key is to time it right when there are few people riding to find space to perform your trick. The lagoons are becoming more populated every year so be ready to wait your turn to jump and to respect the local rules and riders who stay there. Ask questions to learn the spots and rotations before heading out for a session.
When you head up north, the quiver of kites will shrink as the wind picks up its strength.  It is rare you will use bigger than a 9m as my average kite was more like a 5m.  The parties are on and nature is impressive. With the wind whipping up the coast, it is a great place to go on downwinders and work on your big air.
I hope you can make it to one of these amazing places to learn some new tricks and meet amazing people!  Stay warm out there and start planning!
What's your favorite winter kite destination? Comment and share!

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