Kitesurfing (Kiteboarding) in Cayo Guillermo

Kitesurfer gather in Cayo Guillermo for many years to enjoy the beautiful shoals (shallow water) and sustained winds of 20 @ 40 km/hour. The best place is at the hotel Sol Cayo Guillermo (north end of Playa El Paso, where all the hotels are located).

Courses are offered by Kitesurfing organizations. The price can vary from 50 @ 60 CUC per hour. There are two Kitesurfing schools in Sol Cayo Guillermo, Big Air and German.

The hotel Sol Cayo Guillermo is well suited for Kitesurfing as the rooms near the beach have large lawns, ideal for drying your equipment. Sol Cayo Guillermo is the hotel that has the longest beach of the hotel zone of the island (Playa El Paso) with more than 1.2 kilometers of fine sand.

There is a new player in Cayo Guillermo, the Gran Caribe Club Cayo Guillermo (formerly Allegro Club Cayo Guillermo and Villa Cojimar) that allows and promotes kite surfing in the hotel.

Note that Kitesurfing is prohibited at the hotel Melia Cayo Guillermo.

Please note that passengers traveling with Kitesurfing equipment may have to pay additional charges for the transfer from the airport to the hotel. You must notify the tour operator (or your travel agent) while booking. A 18 CUC fee (per stay and payable locally) is now charged to kite surf in Cayo Guillermo. If you do not pay this fee, the authorities will not let you leave the country. Be advised!

What is the kite ?

The Kite or Kiteboarding is a sport of surface water using the wind to pull a person in the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a board).There are different styles of kiteboarding including freestyle (most common), wake-style or wave-riding that focuses on big waves using a board designed for this purpose. A kitesurfer or kiteboarder uses a board with or without fasteners (foot-straps), combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel the surfer and his board on the water.

In 2006, the number of kites has been estimated of about 150.000 to 210.000, with over 115,000 inflatable kites sold during the same year. This sport is getting more and more popular with years. This sport has become a little safer thanks to innovations in the design of the kites and release system. Still, every year numerous deaths and serious injuries have been reported due to the drag of the body on land and water, hitting obstacles on the ground or water or become entangled in the ropes.

It is strongly recommended that anyone wish to start the kite to do so through a school. Safety rules are essential and must be followed to avoid serious accidents or fatalities.Improper use of kitesurfing equipment can make the sport extremely dangerous for both the user and his environment.

During his introductory course that lasts about a week, beginners learn the basic safety rules.

The wing

Thanks to the wing, surfers can jump up sometimes up to 20 meters above the water. The wing surface is usually between 5 m² and 18 m².
Both types of wings are used:
» The dimensional wing: flexible profiles inspired paragliding. The cells of the wing inflate by themselves)
» Wing width (C-shape, flat or hybrids): inflatable structure with a pump, which model the profile of the wing and allows the surfer to go around the water.

The bar

This is the part which is controlled by the movements of the wing. It is more or less depending on the size of the wing. It attaches to 2 or 4 line kite control and manages power.

The board

This can be directional or bidirectional.
» Directional boards are relatively thick and require a rotation of the board at every turn while bidirectional boards (called twin-tips or tt) are perfectly symmetrical and often much finer.

The feet of kiting are connected to the board by the so-called foot-straps and rely on a layer of foam called pad. The twin-tips have four fins usually with a size ranging from 3 to 7 cm.

The harness

The harness is an essential element in kitesurfing. There are two types of harness:
» Belt, or backpack: this harness does pass around the hip and not in the buttocks.
» Panties: like a climbing harness, it passes under the buttocks and often avoids back pain to the rider. It is generally recommended for beginners for this reason.

Kirsty Jones set a kite distance record in May 13rd, 2006 when she traveled across 225 km from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to Tarfaya in Morocco in nine hours.

(source: wikipedia)

Click to see few photos of the Kitesurfing in Cayo Guillermo.

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About the authors: We are Lily and Normand, globetrotters and Cuba lovers. Our travels took us to many wonderful countries around the world, but Cuba will always have a special place in our heart. We have been there more than fifty times. We like to call it our « segunda casa ». We are Canadians and we need to escape our harsh and long winters once and a while! Traveling and building personal websites are our greatest passions.

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