With miles of beautiful coastline, The Suffolk Coast is fast becoming a top spot for Kitesurfing in the UK. We spoke to Andre Smith from Airborne Kitesurf to discover how you can have your own kitesurfing experience this summer...
Why is The Suffolk Coast good for kite surfing?
Andre: We have many beautiful beaches along the Suffolk Coast which make great Kitesurfing locations. The beaches
are not crowded and the kitesurf community across Suffolk is extremely friendly and welcoming. As a kitesurfer, you get a different perspective of Suffolk's coastline than you do from the beach, and with the freedom of manoeuvrability we can explore and not feel encased within a boat. The backdrops along our coastline at different times of the day never cease to satisfy me, and with the added bonus of being on the east coast, watching the sun rise over the horizon whilst kitesurfing is such an amazing start to the day!
Where are the top spots for kite surfing on The Suffolk Coast?
Andre: Starting at Lowestoft
moving South, Pakefield Beach has a fantastic wide sandy beach, shallow gradient into sea at low tide, small chop and waves.
For wind direction SW through east to NE, Kessingland Beach which is shingle and sand has some nice waves and drop off ledges as entering water.
For wind direction SW through east to NE, Southwold at the Harbour end of beach has a wide sandy beach, with some good wave action for kickers or messing about in. The sea can be quite rough on bigger wind days though!
For wind direction SW through east to NE, Walberswick has a shingle and sand mix beach, which is quite narrow at high tide. I would advise to kitesurf further south than the harbour wall and away from the regular tourist beach. There are some nice waves here and also some shallow spots with sand bars appearing further out at low tides.
For wind direction SW through east to NW, Aldeburgh's shingle, stony beach becomes deep quite quickly and there are medium chop water conditions.
For wind direction SW through east to NE, the shingle and sand beach at Sizewell has some big wave forming at times. You need to be wary of the platform out at sea and steer well clear of that for safety. It's one of the few spots that could work if the wind is more northerly.
For wind direction south though east to north.Shingle Street is a shingle, stony beach and you need to be wary of strong currents into the River Ore at high tides. Experienced kiters can use the current and river mouth to good effect, but at lower tides the ever changing shingle bars can sometimes create barriers and spits forming lagoons. At very low tides the water level can often be too low often grinding fins in very shallow gravel bedded water.
For wind direction SW through east to NW, at Old Felixstowe Ferry's shingle and sand beach, you need to be wary of strong currents into and out of the River Deben river mouth. Experienced kiters only could use the river mouth to good effect but on lower tides, the ever changing shingle bars either side of the River Deben channel form to make islands and subsequently some nice flat water spots on the downwind sides of shingles bars.
Can anyone take part?
Andre: Nearly everyone can take part and give kiting a go. Contrary to popular belief, strength and youth are not essential requirements for getting into kitesurfing. A certain level of fitness and flexibility is required but essentially good kite control techniques are key to becoming a good Kiter. The power of the kite is taken through a harness worn around the waist or seat and not through the arms, so there is less strength required than most people think.
What equipment do you need?
To go kiting you will need a suitable size kitesurf kite for the wind conditions, control bar and lines! A safety leash, a kitesurf board, a harness, a wetsuit, a buoyancy aid, a safety helmet, a safety knife (often in the harness) and a pump!
Where can people go to have a go if they are new to kitesurfing?
Anybody that is keen to give kitesurfing a try is highly recommended to undergo professional training from a qualified BKSA or IKO Kitesurf instructor. Unfortunately Kitesurfing is not an activity that you can just hire the equipment for a couple of hours and give it a go. Learning to kitesurf can be extremely dangerous if you do not know what you are doing and try to muddle through it on your own. The worst accidents and mistakes occur when people try to teach themselves, or by way of using the internet and blogs.
A qualified instructor will guide you through all aspects of kite flying from the beginning, providing all the necessary equipment and training to keep you safe along the way.
For more information regarding Kitesurf lessons on The Suffolk Coast contact email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/airbornekitesurf