Ever wanted to be pulled by a kite while riding on a board? Then kiteboarding maybe for you. Kiteboarding (also known as Kitesurfing) is one of many extreme sports currently making its rounds in the Philippines, and one that is steadily gaining a lot of publicity and followers because of its high extreme factor. Over the years, the Philippines has played a role in spreading the word about this fun adventure, and kitesurfing lessons can already be enjoyed in three locations: Boracay (the premiere kitesurfing spot in the country), Lake Caliraya, and Subic bay in Olongapo. It is a fusion of three other extreme disciplines – surfing, windsurfing, and wakeboarding – along with other influences, resulting in the wildest water sport to surface in years.
A kiteboarder uses a board with foot straps or bindings combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel himself and the board across the water. It may sound simple, but it’s this simplicity that makes kiteboarding challenging. A kiteboarder’s body is the only connection between the kite and the board, with the kite piloted in the sky while the board is steered on the water.
Though still in its infancy, kiteboarding is rapidly growing in popularity. In 2006, the number of kite surfers has been estimated at around 150,000-200,000, and is bound to grow further as more improvements and innovations are being made to the kiteboarding equipment, and more techniques and styles are developed to make the sport more exciting than ever. In the past years, many riding styles have evolved to suit different types of riders and conditions, such as wake style, wave riding, freestyle, jumping, and cruising.
Beginners to the sport can opt to either take a discover course where they’ll be able to savor a quick taste of what kitesurfing is all about by trying it out for about two hours. Individuals who are ready to immerse themselves in the sport can take lessons with a certified IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) instructor.
Kiteboarding in the Philippines
Boracay has been voted the top kiteboarding spot in Asia, and it is undoubtedly the perfect place to learn to kiteboard. Boracay is a veritable kiteboarding paradise. The bay is stunning, the water is warm and turquoise, flat and chest deep across the entire bay. For the more adventurous (and definitely not for the faint-hearted), one can pick his way through the reef to the waves on the outside, near the fringing reef where chop appears.
The wind blows cross-on shore, giving two-mile long reaches inside the bay. Lighter in the morning and evenings, the wind really blows from late morning through until late afternoon. Anyone from beginners to more experienced riders can use each end of the day to practice in ideal conditions.
More recently, Lake Caliraya in Laguna and Subic Bay in Olongapo have become destinations for kiteboarding enthusiasts. Good news indeed for all kiteboarders.
In Lake Caliraya, the best times to go would be November to May. For Subic Bay kiteboarding enthusiasts, June to October are the primetimes of Kiteboarding.
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