HOW TO SCORE A KITEBOARDING SESSION ON ST. THOMAS
We stayed on St. Thomas for four nights and hit St. John for a day trip. St. Thomas is small and easy to navigate. Just remember to drive on the left side! The roads twist and turn through the mountains leading to some incredible views overlooking the ocean. Due to the topography and exposure of the wind, there is limited access to kiteboard St. Thomas from the shoreline. It’s best to have access to a boat and ride out to the surrounding islands to score cleaner wind, beginner friendly riding, and flat water slicks. However if you are staying on the island and want to kite, here is how!
The airport is small and easy to navigate. There are a few rental car agencies at the terminal with affordable options. Its best to reserve your car in advanced online to ensure availability and we highly recommend getting a rental car. This will allow you to truly explore the island and will also make transporting your luggage and gear much easier.
There are many options for accommodations from hotels to rental houses – I recommend getting an Airbnb or rental home. If you want to eliminate the daily commute to the riding area, stay directly at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. We rented a hillside apartment that had an incredible view. The downside was that we had to transport our gear to and from the riding spot everyday.
Top spots to check out are Iggy’s Boardwalk, Oceana Restaurant & Wine Bar, Room with a View, and Thirteen.
WHERE TO KITE?
Great Bay is the spot! The launch area is to the north side of the beach at the Ritz. To access, ride down Bay Rd road and look for a gravel parking lot along the right side of the road. The launch area is very small and rocky. The wind normally blows onshore so use caution when launching and landing. The riding area near the launch will only accommodate a small number kites and there are a plethora of beach chairs and tourists staying at the Ritz downwind of you while you ride. If you are doing tricks or jumping be sure to give yourself plenty of room downwind incase you make a mistake. The water drops off quickly and the shoreline is scattered with reef. You can ride a twintip, foilboard, or surfboard here. The water has small chop and the best wind direction is SE.
If you cannot kite upwind – do not ride here. The beach is rocky and rough. Be careful when rigging and wear foot protection. There is scattered reef along the outside of the bay. Use caution when entering and exiting the water. It is best to body drag upwind a short distance. Be sure to use extreme caution during the launch and land because there are trees directly downwind of you. The quality of the wind in the launch area is poor and can cause your kite to backstall or drop into the trees.
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- After launching, park your kite at ten or two and keep it moving in very small figure 8’s as you walk to water as this will keep tension in the lines. If you keep the kite parked stationary at twelve, it will have a higher probability to back stall or hindenburg in the poor quality wind. If there is swell, be sure the check out Hull Bay