Newbie Friendly Kite Trip w/Newbie Friendly Winds & Water

Ok Meetup Kite Comrads... as of this post, we have 55 members and most seem to be a clean slate with no gear or experience... only a desire to get moving into this wonderful sport! We have others who have gear but are just getting their start and a few with some good experience and just wanna ride with other kool kiters! Lake Michigan and the Chi area is an excellent place to kite... especially if you are an advanced kiter! Don't get me wrong, beginners can have great experiences around here but our good, consistent winds are more prevalent in the Fall, followed up with a Spring season right after the big lake thaw. Especially in late Fall and early Spring, water temps can be frigid and waves can be HUGE & powerful. Strong winds and huge, clean, surfable waves are what many experienced riders drop everything & squeeze into a warm wetsuit for. But since beginners spend more time in the water rather than on it and there is so much to learn while you're sitting in that water, low temps can be a hindrance and the waves can be pummeling! But alas there is a solution... a fun one!!...... take a trip to a warm place with clean, consistent winds and flat shallow waters! You might ask, does such a paradise exist?! Why yes it does I say!!! ... and it's the only place I know of in the US with a dedicated kite/windsurf beach... yes that's right, you're not allowed to wander on to this beach unless you are, want to be, or are with a kiter or windsurfer (and have purchased a membership for a nominal fee)!!! That place my friends exists on South Padre Island Texas! The fall winds are also consistent there but the temps are much warmer than here and in the laguna, we have 7 miles of shallow water that you can stand up in!! This, my beginner buddies, provides the perfect conditions for focusing your time on learning kite control, safety, board starts & riding! Now for the more experienced, SPI provides wave riding areas on the outside or you can hang in the flats and hone that next trick or new technique. But there's more!!! ;) ...we all have the opportunity to kick back & fraternize with peeps on the same wave! The greatest thing is, if we do this in the Fall, accommodations will be very reasonable, especially if we share.

Check out an aerial of this sweet locale; http://www.southpadreislandkiteboarding.com/kitespots_photos.html

Here is info on the organization that holds the rights to this access and provides the memberships; http://www.spiwindsurfing.com/

I will arrange the condo or other accommodations comfortable for all and make sure we have at least one kite instructor avail for lessons. I just need to know who's interested and then we can start nailing down a time-frame. Please respond as soon as possible as this will take a great amount of coordinating to pull off effectively. Who's in?!!

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  • Michael

    Jackpot!!! 9 days in a row of quality SPI winds! A tropical 85ยบ & sun welcomed our arrival! What a sweet trip with prime kiting, companionship, cooking & even karaoke, shared with our Chi crew as well as with locals! We had 20 people in 2 rental houses in our mob and fantastic conditions for learning and honing chops! I have to say, in all the trips I've done over the last 3 years, I don't believe we've ever had 1 with good wind every single day... let alone 9 days! Everyone who attended is definitely now a much better kiter than when they set out. More to come for those who couldn't make it this time. Maybe a few water kiting days left around Chi but we're definitely looking forward to seeing everybody out for some snowkiting!!

    November 21, 2012

  • Kapil

    I would love to join but cant go.. no vacation for now...

    November 5, 2012

  • Michael

    Ok, because of schedule conflicts with many who would like to join us on this trip, we are moving it to Saturday 11/10 through Sunday 11/18. If we end up still having people interested in the 1st full week, we may add that week to the agenda too, securing accommodations and providing kiteboard lessons from 11/3-11/18. Please let me know right away if you are going so we can lock you in.

    Also, we have some who are driving looking to ride share and others flying looking to share rental cars. Please also let me know if you are interested in either of these options so I can help coordinate.

    Gettin' close!!!... gonna be a great trip!!

    October 10, 2012

  • Michael

    I should mention a few other things... only 1000 characters per post allowed here!! :) I have coordinated these trips many times with kiters of all levels. These are always a great way to get to know everyone in the scene and learn new things while experiencing some of the most premier kiting spots in the world! It always seems those interested in kiting are on a similar wave so sharing experiences from kiting, to cooking together, to hanging out is always a blast!

    Aside from lessons, I as well as some of the other experienced kiters are always happy to offer tips and help. The camaraderie on these trips is ubiquitous!

    For experienced kiters, as well as beginners who are up & riding... and if you aren't currently, SPI is THEE place to make that right of passage!!... I have demo gear that can be tried out. This give you the chance to try different brands including Ozone, Royal, Spleene & CrazyFly.

    Would be great to have you there... hope you can make it!!!

    September 27, 2012

  • Michael

    Nov SPI Kiteboarding lesson rates (booked in advance);
    Private 6 hr package: $375 (2 hr/day, 3 days - wind permitting)
    Private 8 hr package: $475 (2 hr/day, 4 days - wind permitting)
    Group of 2, 6 hr package: $225/person (3 hr/day, 2 days - wind permitting)

    Those with kiteboarding experience needing refreshers, advanced lessons or those that want to add hours in addition to packages on the spot (not booked in advance): $85/hr

    Many did so well at the trainer kite event but I will have my trainer kites on the trip so we can do refreshers...normally instructors bill for trainer kite flying (1st step in learning to kiteboard) but we will just consider these more trainer events while on the trip!

    I will also have a kite buggy that we may use in certain situations during lessons but also to have a little fun while you're not taking a lesson!

    This will be a fun event for all interested! Let me know how the 1st week in Nov works and... who wants to learn to kiteboard?!!

    September 27, 2012

  • Michael

    Ok, we would like to try to schedule this trip around the 1st week in Nov as we should still be quite warm then! For many of you, the whole point in going is to learn to kiteboard and like I've said, this is a great chance to take several days to focus on learning in a spot which has the ultimate learning conditions! Kiteboarding lessons can average anywhere from $75-$100/hr. The instructor I am coordinating this with charges $85/hr and unlike many kiteboarding instructors, she is an IKO certified Level 2 instructor. This means that along with teaching you to kiteboard, she will be following the IKO program for all the safety that is necessary to... well keep you & those around you safe every time you participate in this sport! But guess what, she is going to offer some really sweet package deals for all my new MeetUp friends! This is going to be a best of all worlds opportunity. Since SPI is such a popular learning spot, the schools down there charge $[masked]/hr!!! Next post... rates!

    September 27, 2012

  • Stephanie

    I wouldn't be able to go til feb or march but I would live to go then if anyone is interested!!!

    September 7, 2012

  • Michael

    Ok fellow kiters and soon to be's... let's see how feasible this kite trip will actually be for everyone. I have given an idea of travel & stay costs in my response to Andreas. If you will be taking lessons, costs for that will also be a consideration. I will update soon with rates/packages.

    I only have 1000 characters/post here so I will break this up...

    September 6, 2012

    • Michael

      So let's address these points 1st;
      1) Is estimated travel & stay in your budget (See my response to Andreas)
      2) When is everyone avail in Nov? Is Thanksgiving week any better or worse for peeps??
      3) Is your preference to fly or drive (carpooling/van or options)? FYI: If you fly, the nearest airport is about a 2 hr drive I believe. Sharing a rental car with others should be an option.

      Let's keep riffing about this and make it happen!

      September 6, 2012

    • Michael

      Great, keep us posted Meg. Back soon with lesson costs. We're gonna have to schedule a trainer kite meet ASAP for the fresh newbs! Lemme get on that...

      September 7, 2012

  • Andreas R.

    Mike, that is a great idea!!! I have been down there and it is beautiful for kiting as well as for windsurfing. I will have to work with my family but I will try to join.
    What did you have in mind, stay a long weekend, a whole week? What do you think the cost might roughly be?
    Again thanks a lot for taking the lead!
    Andreas
    \m/

    August 31, 2012

    • Michael

      It is one of the VERY best places in the world to learn & hone chops! For the cost and effort, it's usually best to stay a week. This also allows for any windless days. I'm figuring to go for a week and if we have enough interest, maybe set up accommodations and instructor for 2 and let people make arrangements for when is best for them. I don't have anything specific set up for accommodations yet but when we've run these trips in the past, it's averaged around $250/$300 per person for the stay. Round-trip airfare can be costly... usually around $450. If you fly Southwest and pack gear in the proper bag, they will fly it free. There is also the option to drive. This is what I've done when I've gone since I have needed to take extra gear. Maybe we could possibly set up a van to get a group down there. I am already lining up a very talented and IKO 2 certified female instructor. I just need to work towards getting a firm headcount so proper arrangements can be made.

      September 6, 2012

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  • Michael
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