Our Top 5 South Wales Kitesurf Beaches

Our Top 5 South Wales Kitesurf Beaches

South Wales is where we do the bulk of our kitesurfing. We are pretty lucky in that the UK’s predominant wind direction is South Westerly and South Wales has a load of different beach options to suit most types of riding. They are pretty different as well – some are more idyllic where as others have distinctly industrial backdrops. Here are five of our favourite spots.

1 – Rest Bay

Kitesurfing Rest Bay PorthcawlRest is one of our most frequented beaches. It is easy to get to so there is always a good crew here making it is pretty social. Drinks and snacks in the cafe after a session are a great way of meeting your fellow kitesurfers.
Pros:
it is easy to get to
can handle a wide variety of wind conditions
gets flats by the shore and waves further out.
plenty of parking and its only £1 in winter
public toilets and cafe
always other kitesurfers out
large sandy beach with very few hazards at low tide
Cons:
It can be a little challenging as a beginner due to the waves
parking warden is always about
doesnt work at high tide
not the shortest walk from car park to beach

2 – Pembrey

Kitesurfing PembreyPembrey is great for long days in the water especially in summer. We love heading to pembrey for the whole weekend, camping in the van and getting a lot of hours on the water. this is another popular spot where there are bound to be other kitesurfers.
Pros:
great looking beach
huge amounts of space
no obstacles/hazards
large areas of shallow flat water for freestyle
surf out back
free parking (outside country park)
Cons:
long walk to the water at low tide
long walk from car park to beach
very limited parking space
no landboarding allowed on beach

3 – Llangennith

Kitesurfing Llangennith
Llangennith is well known as one of the best surf spots on the Gower and is a popular kite spot too. access is through hill head camp site which is free in the winter but not in summer. It is a huge campsite so best avoided at busy times.
Pros:
great conditions for wave riding
beautiful scenery
large beach with few hazards (1 wreck)
loads of parking space
toilets and showers
cafe/restaurant on site
Cons:
Long walk to the water
very busy in summer/holidays

4 – Newgale

Kitesurfing Newgale
Newgale offers some great conditions and is in a great setting however it takes a while to get there. nice for a weekend when you want a change of scenery.
Pros:
good waves
scenic location
Cons:
parking isnt the best
big pebble ridge to get over
it is a trek to get to

5 – Oxwich

Oxwich Kitesurfing
Oxwich is a beach no one goes to regularly but a saviour when the wind comes from the east and then everyone will be there.
Pros:
Takes an easterly
easy parking near the beach
beautiful surroundings
Cons:
Not the easiest to get to
Always have to pay for parking
rarely epic conditions
can be busy with kitesurfers as its the only beach to take an easterly
very busy in summer with bucket and spade brigade

There are loads of other spots we have not mentioned – but if you are getting started in the area these are good options to start with. Variety is the spice of life and all that – when we get the opportunity to go somewhere more epic we do!

7 Ways to get the most out the perfect kite day

7 Ways to get the most out the perfect kite day

So you have been checking the forecast all week, it is friday night and the conditions look epic. Whatever epic is for you – flat water and 25mph cross onshore, or huge swells, perfect waves and cross off 5m weather. If you want to get the most out of this you will need to make sure you dont make some key mistakes. Epic forecasts are few and far between and should not be wasted!

Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

1) Sort your shit out. Make sure your lines are not tangled from last time. You dont want your wetsuit to be wet from your previous session so bring it indoors to dry (especially in winter). Make sure you have everything together so you dont have to turn around and come back for something, or worse not have it at all. Do any maintenance you have been putting off. That fin a bit loose? Depower rope a bit worn? Sort it out now. Charge your GoPro etc.

2) Make sure you have the right gear. If it is going to be really windy, dont turn up with nothing smaller than a 12m. If it is going to be cold dont turn up in your summer suit. Bring something to drink and eat. Bring all your kites as even though the forecast was for 5m weather, it may well be 12m weather. You would feel stupid if you only had your 5m or even your 5 and 7m.

3) Research the spot. Make sure you know the tide times and at what point the spot works – many beaches only work at high tide or low tide and many more have a sweet point somewhere in between. Learn if there are hazards you need to be aware of like a sketchy launch area or a shipwreck only visible at certain times or strong rip currents.

The perfect kite spot?

4) If in doubt don’t go out. Even if the forecast was epic, when you get to the spot things may well be different. If you are not used to riding big waves and small kites and the wind is currently blowing 40mph cross off then you should probably give it a miss. If your smallest kite is a 9m and everyone else is on a smaller kite you should probably keep dry. It sounds rubbish but it is way better than drowning/nearly drowning/losing your gear/breaking your gear/breaking someone elses gear/having to call the RNLI out.

5) Chat to the locals. If you see someone coming out of the water ask about their session. What size were they on? Were they overpowered? Is the wind picking up or dropping? How gusty is it? It is good for locals to recognise your face and know your new in the area so they can warn you of any dangers.

Push yourself to try new things

6) Try new things. It is a great idea to try new things once you are confident with riding back and forth. Try a new jump, try spins, try using a wave as a kicker. If someone offers to let you try their kite or board take them up on it. Don’t do anything stupid as it will be expensive if you have to replace someones new board but trying new gear keeps things interesting. Riding with people who are better than you can help with this a lot!

7) Find some kite buddies. Kiting alone and having a bit of a soul session from time to time is good for everyone. There is an amazing feeling (though also a bit scary) when you have the beach to yourself. Kiting with friends is best though. It is good to speak to people before the session and discuss the conditions and pick kite size. It is fun to hear someone whoop when you do a big jump. It is comforting to know a friend is nearby when your almost drowning after being eaten by a massive wave. It is great to warm up with a coffee and some cake and chat about your session afterwards too.

There we go – if you follow those tips you should be on track for an amazing session which will keep you going till next weekend.  Got any other tips? Let us know in the comments!

6 reasons go on a kiting road trip in 2015

6 reasons go on a kiting road trip in 2015

The road trip is a classic adventure – accessible to most kitesurfers and as epic as you want it to be. You can change it up depending on weather conditions and peoples preferences. Camping or Bed and Breakfast, UK or Europe (or further!), solo mission or a collective, classic spots or the unknown. The possibilities are endless! Last year we road tripped up to the Isle of Lewis and had a great few days – discovering new locations and having adventures. It is something we think all kitesurfers should experience.

Island Road Trip to Isle of Lewis

Here are our top reasons you should go on a kite road trip in 2015:

1) Fuel prices are back down to the level they were 5 years ago! This is a huge factor as fuel is typically the largest expense in a road trip so the cost of the adventure has dropped or your budget allows you to go further afield! Maybe this is the perfect year to check out the Hebrides after all (which we highly recommend!).

2) Knowledge is everywhere now with kitesurfers having been around for a while and windsurfers even longer we all know of spots we would love to ride all over the place. We have easy access to local knowledge, online beach guides, aerial photography (courtesy of Google Maps) and constant weather updates. This is not as romantic as hearing about a kitesurf mecca with no crowds from some hippy round a campfire. The big cruising into the unknown element has pretty much gone in the modern road trip but you can always rely on it to rear its head at some point or another.

3) Take all the toys so no matter what the conditions there is fun to be had. It is not like a surf trip where unless there are perfect waves you cannot get out. If you take a load of kites and boards to cover every wind condition plus SUPs and longboard skateboards then there will always be something to do. If you are more adventurous you can try spear fishing. If you surf then when the wind is offshore (not kiting weather) the waves are often good. Be flexible.

4) Ride in new locations – this is a great way of keeping kitesurfing fun especially if you have been at it for a while. Every location has its own specific conditions which make it unique. Some spots are more challenging than others or may simply offer conditions you are not used to – say perfectly flat water, or waves coming from a different side.

Challenging conditions

5) Collect experiences not stuff – that is our motto for 2015. Quality time with good friends, exploring new locations, riding new spots, sleeping in weird places etc. That is how you build great memories – not buying more stuff online. We still love gear of course – having the right gear can make or break a trip ie. if your doing a trip in cold months, make sure you have appropriate jackets/wetsuits etc.

6) Make new friends – the people you meet on the road and at kitesurf spots will probably have a lot of shared interests and with a few shared experiences it is a great basis for a long term friendship.

Island go to Isle of Lewis

Now you are thinking about a great road trip then here are 5 options:

  • Hebrides – great beaches, stunning location, uncrowded
  • West Coast Ireland – great for wave riding, stunning scenery
  • Cornwall – a classic UK road trip, lots of spots and plenty to do. Well documented
  • Bernina Pass, Switzerland – go further afield and go snowkiting, if there is no wind just drive down to the lift station and buy a day pass
  • West Coast France – Normandy and Brittany have loads of great kitesurf beaches and make a great location for a road trip

Let us know your favourite or dream kite road trip locations!

Ozone Ignition Kite Review

Ozone Ignition Kite Review

This summer Ozone launched a successor to their most popular foil kite, the Ozone Ignition. The Ignition is a 3 line power kite which comes on a simplified, fixed bridle version of the Ozone kitesurfing control bar. The Ignition comes in 4 sizes; 1.6m, 2m, 2.5m and 3m and is in its 5th year of design. These range of sizes provides a large enough selection for different sized flyers and wind speeds. The smaller sized Ignition’s are great for kids to learn the art of power kiting under supervision. The Ignition isn’t just great for kids though, adult flyers will appreciate the larger sizes which are more than capable of dragging you around on the sand. Even without any intention of kitesurfing or learning to kitesurf, the Ignition is a great addition the family arsenal of toys when going on holiday or spending time at the beach. The Ignition kite comes in 4 colours but only one colour per size. The 1.6m is green, 2m is orange, red is 2.5m and the 3m shown below is blue.

The Ignition bar system contains 3 lines. The 2 lines on the left and right of the bar are your steering lines and go to the top section of the kite. The center line attaches to the bottom of the kite and acts as a brake line. You can see in the image above that this line is also attached to your wrist with a velcro strap (kite killer). If you need to kill all the power to the kite or end up on your face you can simply let go of the bar with both hands and the kite will fall to the ground. This 3rd line can also be used for launching, landing and flipping over the kite by yourself if it lands the wrong way around.

Flying the Ignition is extremely easy and most flyers should be self sufficient in no time at all! This kite is great for mastering not only the basics of flying the kite itself but understanding the wind window, being aware of your surroundings and remaining in control in varying wind speeds. No matter which kite size you decide to go for all of the Ignition’s come with a 45cm long bar and 15m flying lines. The entire setup is extremely good quality and the kite itself is highly robust and designed to strong against being crashed over and over again.

Size on test: 3m.

If you are interested in the Ozone Ignition kite you can check it out at Island Board Shop or buy using the button below!


Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus and GoPro 4 Low Light Test

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus and GoPro 4 Low Light Test

We took the newly launched GoPro HD Hero 4 Black Edition out for a sunset kitesurfing session to test the low light performance. By keeping the camera on the standard settings and not using the dedicated low light mode, the camera did not slow the shutter down to much to capture the action. This footage was captured in 4k at 30 FPS and exported straight to YoutTube from within Final Cut.

In this video we were flying the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus. We were pretty impressed with the results and even taking some screen grabs from the video on a 2k monitor left us with some usable images.

Check out the Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus on Island Board Shop.

Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Kitesurfing

WeatherFlow Wind Meter Review

WeatherFlow Wind Meter Review

New on the shelf for 2014 the Weatherflow Wind Meter gives any Android or iOS smartphone user a portable and reliable anemometer in your pocket.

The idea behind the Weatherflow Wind Meter is to give avid weather watchers accurate wind readings without any hassle. This compact device simply plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone, iPad or Android handset without the requirement for batteries or any other accessories.

WeatherFlow Wind Meter

Once the Wind Meter is plugged into your headphone jack launch the “Wind Meter” application (free on iTunes and the Play Store) from your homescreen and you are ready to go. The app is very basic but not in a bad way. Settings, history and readings are all easily accessible from the main menu. Inside the settings menu you can change your primary activity ie. kite, surf, windsurf.

You can also choose the type of speed unit to display. This list includes Mph, Knots, Beaufort Mps and Kph. When you hit the start button on the main app screen you get the wind speed and direction displaying in real time. In testing, around 30-60 seconds seemed reasonable to produce accurate results. The Wind Meter can read anything from 2 mph – 125 mph which seems pretty impressive.

When you hit stop the app calculates the average wind speed (accounting for lulls and gusts), wind direction and your location. The next cool feature is the ability to then save and share your readings with friends. Who doesn’t want to showcase the fact its pumping 30 knts whilst someone you know is stuck behind a desk?

Having not used an anemometer for several years due to not wanting to carry around a bulky or expensive device that needs a battery to be kept charged, I can happily say the Weatherflow Wind Meter will be living in the kite bag from this day.

If you’re in the market for a new gadget without breaking the bank then the Weatherflow Wind Meter could very quickly become your next purchase. Likewise I think this Wind Meter will make for great Birthday and Christmas presents for wind lovers around the world.

We tested the Weatherflow Wind Meter with an iPhone 5 and HTC One.

In the UK this unit retails for only £29.95.

WeatherFlow Wind Meter

 

Flysurfer Launch the Speed 4 Lotus edition

Flysurfer Launch the Speed 4 Lotus edition

After many years of playing the waiting game (and thoroughly enjoying our Speed 3 CE kites) Flysurfer have this week announced the Speed 4 Lotus edition. Flysurfer have been working extremely hard over the last few years to develop not only a new kite to rival the 3 & CE Speed but to improve upon the design, build quality and fabrics.

The result is a completely new Lotus fabric which not only is 30% lighter than the deluxe models we are all currently flying but it is more air tight and durable against water, sand and dirt. Strength and durability is so crucial with these foils. Not only will they remain the flag ship Flysurfer model for several years, but we fly them on land, water and snow – racking up a huge amount of flying hours.

Because the kites are dramatically lighter than the predecessors the turning has been made much lighter, a really strong selling point for such a large kite.

The Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus sizes have also changed slightly, your new quiver will consist of 12m, 15m 18m and 21m sizes. With lighter weight and turning on the bar we are really excited to try out the new 18m size.

Tom was recently in Tarifa with Flysurfer testing the final prototypes and had this to say:

“The new kites really do feel like a step forward. Flying them back to back with the Speed 3 CE this was very noticeable. The most significant difference is just how light the steering is compared to the S3. This alone was enough to impress me! It feels like the difference between cars with and without power steering.”

We are lucky enough to have a demo production model Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus whinging its way to us right now directly from Flysurfer so should have a chance to fly and review the kite before you need to grab your credit card in January 2014.

Update: Flysurfer Speed 4 Lotus Review

 

Flysurfer Launch Inflatable Kite – The Cronix

Flysurfer Launch Inflatable Kite – The Cronix

A piece of news that will catch many off guard! For those who keep an eye on kite forums they may have seen photos earlier this year when they were leaked but promptly removed. The design team at Flysurfer are well known for testing all kinds of wacky ideas. The Cronix is billed as an all round freeride/freestyle kite with a good balance between performance and ease of use. It also features some Flysurfer style tuning and unique technology. The main thing is the Adaptive Airfoil which allows the rider to change the camber of the kite by moving the bar in and out as well as changing the angle of attack. The degree to which the camber is affected can also be modified.

It is certainly a different approach to building Leading Edge Inflatable kites. We have no doubt there will be a lot of Flysurfer fans out there wanting a test flight.

Learn more about the Flysurfer Cronix.

Ozone Zephyr 2013 Review

Ozone Zephyr 2013 Review

Introduction: We last reviewed the Ozone Zephyr back in 2011, the second year the kite had been on the market. Since the 2013 Zephyr has had a redesign we thought it best to update our records with the latest information. The Zephyr has always, and is still only available in a 17m size. Designed for lightwind riding, freeride and race.

Ozone Zephyr 2013 Kite Colours

Talk the talk: There has been a noticeable increase in light wind kites and boards in the last few years, specifically larger directional and race boards – sure a large board makes a huge difference but you also need the right kite to maximise your water hours. Since the Zephyr originally launched 3 years ago the 2013 model is the first significant redesign. Just from seeing the kite in the sky it is obvious that Ozone have learnt a huge amount from the race market and the Ozone Edge. The new Zephyr appears a lot more efficient and streamlined in the sky, the tips are very different to the previous model and with the awesome new graphics, it just looks faster.

It just looks fasterAs we all know looks are not everything. Luckily for Ozone the Zephyr packs an incredible amount of that reassuring feel that Ozone kites are renowned for into this 17m. The overall quality remains some of the best in the industry – Right down to the bag and accessories. I think an important point to touch on with regards to the Zephyr is who can fly this? what ability is it for? In my opinion, even a beginner who has recently mastered upwind is suited to this kite. Despite its size the Zephyr is very easy to fly. Turning is not what you would expect from a kite its size but it remains slow enough to aid the learning of new tricks and freestyle without sending it into a mad loop every time. The bar feels a lot more direct on the 2013 model, there is definitely an improvement to the responsiveness in sheeting the bar in and out and the kites reaction. This new instant power delivery makes kitesurfing even easier, and safer. There is no lag between start and stop on the bar any more, the only time you cannot feel such an apparent change in pressure is at the very bottom of the kites wind range. The Zephyr also has an impressive top end for such a large kite, an experienced rider will be able to continue to ride past the high teens!

2013 Ozone Zephyr

The Zephyr has never lacked in the speed department and thanks to the new, more efficient design everything just got faster. The kite builds apparent wind better than the previous generations which aids the lightwind performance when things are getting border line for a session. The upwind ability also appears to be better, riding alongside a 2010 Zephyr the newer model definitely had the edge. In your hands Ozone have made some modest changes to the Contact control bar. The bar in the complete packaged is 55cm long and rigged with 27m lines, a couple of metres longer than the standard Ozone lines. Underneath the new streamlined bar floats there are some pre-made knots for changing the backline tension of the kite, this is extremely easy and fast to do on the beach although we found ourselves flying the kite on the middle knot (factory setting). The magnetic trim handle is also a nice touch for keeping things tidy and out the way when depowering or whilst riding unhooked.

If you would like to ask about anything particular on the 2013 Ozone Zephyr, drop us a comment below!

Liked: We liked a whole lot about the new Zephyr, a solid performance increase on an already top tier product. A great way to maximise summer riding and progress your style in light winds.

Would Change: We would love to see Ozone launch a central releasing, full spinning safety system on the Megatron bar, our only real gripe from the last Zephyr we reviewed.

Overview: The Ozone Zephyr 2013 remains one of the top choices for light / moderate wind kitesurfing. The kite feels much smaller, and more responsive than you would expect and can be ridden by a variety of rider abilities and styles.

See the latest Zephyr at Island Board Shop

Photos: www.flyozone.com & our own.