Kiteboarding is the New Wet and Wild Way to See Cozumel on the Fly

In Mexico writer Patricia Rodriguez reports that on a deserted beach on the untamed eastern side of Cozumel, Adrian Angulo Romero drew a half-circle on the sand.

“The half-circle, he said, represents all the places the kite might drift,” said Rodriguez, speaking of kiteboarding. “The show-offy stuff would have to wait.”

Better known for its underwater attractions Cozumel also has ideal conditions for kiteboarding, according to Rodriguez.

A recent article read that “Cozumel has everything,” enthused Trip Forman, an owner of Real Kiteboarding, which began an annual series of instructional kiting camps in Cozumel in 2004 and books kite trips there year-round.

“It’s easy to think of kiteboarding as an extreme sport, something reserved for those under 25, the beach’s answer to skateboarding or snowboarding,” stated Rodriguez. “When kiteboarding first started evolving about 20 years ago, that extreme reputation was somewhat deserved.”

But as the sport has grown more mainstream, the equipment has gotten more sophisticated and instructors are better trained, according to Forman in an interview.

“The first time my husband Glenn and I saw kiteboarding along a Cozumel beach more than a year ago it looked easy,” wrote Rodriguez. “It looked, well, fun. Glenn tried it. Not wanting to be left out, I tried it. Before hitting the water on a board, which is bigger than a skateboard but smaller than a surfboard, kiters must learn to control the kite.”

Angulo, who has since been certified as an instructor by one of the international agencies that tries to regulate kiteboarding, had two other students out on the beach, nicknamed Wave Ranch by kiters, according to research.

“One returning student got his kite in the air immediately,” said Rodriguez. “I, on the other hand, kept Angulo running. ‘Small movements,’ he told me again and again. It took almost an hour but I sort of got it. Cheerful and encouraging, Angulo didn’t want me to give up. ‘Your playground is the whole ocean and it’s so great,’ he said.”

If you go, Rodriguez advises, in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, there are fewer direct flights from Cozumel from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport if you live in that area. Rodriguez said that more direct flights land in nearby Cancun, on the mainland of the Yucatan Peninsula. Rodriguez gives this tip for where to stay: Cozumel has hotels, condos, and bed-and-breakfasts in all price ranges and all over the island but most kiters will probably want to stay on the north side of the western coast, close to several of the best beaches for the sport.
Some of Rodriguez’s recommendations include a friendly inn run by two transplanted Californians, both of them kiters, called the chic Casa Viento, which is just steps from a fine beach and close to a great beginner’s kiting area.

Another good spot according to Rodriguez is the Hotel Playa Azul, which is one of Cozumel’s few boutique hotels with so tastefully decorated, air-conditioned rooms, a freshwater pool, beach bar, and two restaurants, and a small but appealing beach.

For kiting lessons, you can call Raul de Lille, the Cozumel representative of Real Kiteboarding, who gives private and small-group lessons year-round, at 011 (52) 987 878 4537.

Angulo, certified as an instructor by the Professional Air Sports Association, gives private and group lessons; get information and make reservations at cozumelkiteboarding.com.

Rodriguez recommends checking out tear at Pakal Kites for kites and equipment, the kite store just opened by Angulo.

For official Cozumel tourist information, try islacozumel.com.mx.

Rodriguez also recommends five other coastal hot sports for kiteboarding like Corpus Christi, TX which has a shallow bay, steady winds, and mild year-round temperatures, making this a popular destination for both windsurfers and kiteboarders.

“Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is a good place to learn the sport or just practice new tricks; there are lots of easy-to-reach entrances to the shallow water, courtesy of the largely undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore,” she said. “Cabarete, Dominican Republic is one of the first Caribbean locales to attract kiteboarders and still probably the best known; lots of budget lodging and dining choices cater to young kiters.”

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