Kiteboarding in Cabarete
wind conditions, spot map, choosing a school, and right of way rules
With consistent trade winds 330 days a year, Cabarete provides some of the best kitesurfing conditions in the Caribbean! With a mix of flat water and wave spots, it’s the perfect location for all kitesurfing disciplines. In the 1980’s by Canadian windsurfer Jean Laporte who was blown away (literally) by the reliable trade winds. Cabarete was on the wind map! Since then, Cabarete has hosted many kitesurfing World Cup events and attracted countless professional, amateur and beginner kitesurfers all looking to improve without having to wear a wetsuit.
So when is it windy here in Cabarete? Pretty much all the time! Our warm climate blesses us with consistent thermal trade winds providing the perfect conditions for pros and beginners alike. The wind blows Easterly providing cross-onshore kiting conditions, which normally kicks in around midday, so you don’t have to give up sleeping-in! Check out our detailed Cabarete Wind Guide, which includes charts for the windiest months and weather maps.
Cabarete Kite Spots
Apart from the constant trade winds, Cabarete is a great town for kiteboarding as it has a wide range of locations and beaches you can ride depending on what style you enjoy. The main ones are:
Kite Beach is the most popular here in Cabarete and offers a mixture of conditions. The reef located 300m from the shore provides waves for the strapless wave riders, but it also offers protection to inside the reef keeping the chop relatively tame!
Cabarete Bay is much larger than Kite Beach and offers many different spots to launch. In general, the water is much choppier in the Bay and the reefs out back offer some great waves and kickers!
Encuentro is extremely popular with the strapless riders and surfers. Once the wind picks up and the surfers leave, the kiters move in! Encuentro has various different breaks suited for different levels, however the waves can be a lot heavier here.
La Boca is THE flat-water spot in Cabarete, located at the mouth of the Yasica River. Many of the pro riders ride here to train for freestyle.
Cabarete Kite Schools
There are various kite schools located along Cabarete beaches such as Cabarete Windsports Club, Kite Club Cabarete, Dare2Fly, Big Willy’s and many more. All the schools and locals here are incredibly friendly and willing to offer a helping hand. Advice for choosing the right school: Don’t price shop (they are all similar in price and your safety is not cheap), instead feel the vibe. Make sure the school has an instructor that teaches in your language. Check out the equipment and make sure they have a range of sizes for all equipment (helmets, life jackets, harnesses, kites). There is nothing worse than having equipment that doesn’t fit you or the conditions well.
Right Of Way Rules
The same as on the roads, we get traffic here on the beaches in Cabarete. To manage this, there are a set of universal right of way rules that are known across the globe to help avoid collisions. Many are similar to sailing and windsurfing and include all other water users. These rules are more of a guide, as it is all water user’s duty to prevent a collision, whether it be your right of way or not. It is also important to remember that some people may not be aware of the rules, so just avoid getting too close to others, just in case!
1. On The Beach
The outgoing rider has right of way over the incoming rider. As the wind is often gusty on the beach, the rider who is on the beach is the one at more risk, therefore has priority.
2. Head On
When two riders are riding head on, the rider on the starboard tack (right foot forward) has right of way and the rider on the port tack (left foot forward) must give right of way and pass downwind with his kite as low as possible. This rule originates from sailing and other nautical activities.
If a rider is going faster than another in the same direction, the faster rider must give way to the slower rider as he can see and judge the situation better than the slower rider. (The slower rider may also be a beginner, so always give plenty of room).
4. Upwind Vs Downwind
The rider passing upwind from another kiteboarder must fly his kite overhead and the kiteboarder downwind must fly his kite as low as possible to stop a tangle!
If you pass UPWIND, keep your kite HIGH.
If you pass DOWNWIND, keep your kite LOW.
We get awesome waves on the reef here in Cabarete, but wave riding has it’s own rules too. The rider surfing a wave, has the right of way over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction. This is because whilst surfing a wave, the kite is less easy to navigate and being pushed by a wave at the same time, there is lesson room for manoeuvres.
Whether you’re boosting off the waves or inside on the flat water, you must make sure you have a clear safety zone of 50m downwind of you. That way, you will always have enough room and a clear rideaway!
Right of way must be given to all other beach users as the beaches here are enjoyed by everyone. It’s also important to remember some people/ beach users may not have seen a kite before, so be extra cautious when they’re around. First impressions are the most important!