Where to go to flaunt your kiteboarding skills, make your kiteboarding debut, watch kiteboarders skim waves, or even ignore the whole kiteboarding phenomenon in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Though you need not be a water sports enthusiast to enjoy Waves Village Resort—you could simply soak in a hot tub on the private porch of your luxury condo staring at the horizon, contemplating life—it’s the perfect place to get your feet wet and adrenaline pumping.
The menu of activity options includes kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, hang gliding, and more, but this Hatteras resort is most especially an ideal kiteboarding destination.
Thanks to its topography, weather and water conditions, North Carolina’s Outer Banks is one of the world’s best places to enjoy kiteboarding, which got its start in the late 1990s and is a hybrid of wakeboarding and paragliding. Standing upright on a specially-designed board, the goal is to maneuver a kite to steer across the waves. In other words, it’s a way to simultaneously surf the wind and the waves.
“This is one of two of the best places to learn kiteboarding,” says Christopher Nygard, general manager (though his business card reads, “wind and waves concierge”) of Waves Resort Village. “The sound has shallows so you can walk out far into the water,” a natural feature that comes in handy and also helps mitigate some students’ timidity.
Kiteboarding is a sport without too many limits, says Nygard, who previously worked in Hawaii. “If you’re reasonably fit, can swim, and are able to focus, you can learn to do it.” His students have ranged from youngsters to seniors.
Kiteboarding has exploded in popularity thanks to its relative ease (as compared to a range of other sports) and accessibility. “Surfers love it because it maximizes time on the water,” Nygard says. An average of 70 percent of Waves Village Resort guests who hit the water favor kiteboarding; 30 percent focus on other water sports.
Starting from the resort “you can kiteboard seven miles down the island,” says Nygard, adding that kiteboarders tend to stay less than a half-mile from the coast. “Our location is unique because you can go lengthwise down the island on the sound side and you can do the ocean side, too.” Waves are generally bigger and the winds choppier on the ocean side, so beginners stick to the sound.
“Kiteboarding is a way to understand water and create a relationship with nature,” says Nygard. “I think it brings a lot to peoples’ lives.” While standing up on a floating board and holding onto a kite may not be the sort of life skills you consider essential, the need to stay calm in the face of a challenge really does prove useful in multiple settings.
On our recent visit, it seemed many folks agree, based on how Waves Village Resort’s beach and waterfront were dotted with kiteboarders from dawn to dusk.
When To Go…
Wind and waves follow no calendar thus kiteboarding is a year-round sport, though Canadians tend to tolerate the winter wind and water temperatures of the Outer Banks more readily than Southerners.
The shoulder seasons of April and October generally lure fewer families and more adults. Nygard especially recommends mid-September through October: “The water stays warmer. It’s also a more economical because rates are friendlier.”
- All condo units boast sound-front views
- All units are 3 bedroom/3 bathrooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
- Hot tub on balcony is private from other condo units but visible from the beach
- Full kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances
- Spacious living and dining areas
- Gas grill
- Supportive yet forgiving foam mattresses, nice for achy muscles
- 50-inch widescreen TV with surround sound
- Good Winds seafood & wine bar is on site; try the fish tacos and trust the server to recommend a local beer
- On-site retail shop
- Rates range from $995 to $2,195 per week
- Kiteboarding lessons start at $99 for a one-hour introductory class; the best way to learn may be the five-hour two-part “Fly & Ride Course” for $400 that covers both kite and board fundamentals
- A range of other water sport lessons are available including private stand-up paddle board lessons from $75 and surfing lessons from $39
- BYO shampoo, soap, and other toiletries you might consider standard in hotels
- If you plan to get wet in the sound, wear water shoes: the bottom is covered with sharp scallops and clams
- Odds of Encountering Children: Varies. Odds of encountering dudes are off the charts, however.
Featuring more than 35 of the world’s most influential kiteboarders, the prestigious Venyu Triple-S Invitational runs during the first week of June in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Waves Village Resort
Rodanthe, NC 27968
– Photo Credits: kiteboarding action shots courtesy Outer Banks Visitors Bureau; reminder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.