This past February, I had the opportunity to go to Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. These sister islands are the most southern in the Caribbean, located just off the coast of Venezuela, and host to one of the most acclaimed and anticipated Carnivals in the world– some say it’s better than Rio. I could write an entire blog about the spirited vibes, endless dancing, breathtaking feather and jewel-adorned costumes flaunted by masqueraders of all ages, but I want to focus on what came after the 5-days of non-stop revelry– Kiting in Tobago.
Tobago is the smaller, quieter island of the two that draws vacationers and eco-tourists from all over the world to sample its untouched natural beauty. It was the perfect place to be for many reasons. One, we needed the rest and the detox. Two, as a beginner, I was told that Tobago would be an ideal place to ramp up my skills since it was mostly flat, shallow water with possibility to take a boat further offshore for long downwind practice runs.
In comparison, kitesurfing beaches located on the South Coast of Barbados generally have wavier and deeper water, and shorter stretches of beach. This makes it a more challenging learning environment. On the plus side, many say if you learn to kite on shores similar to Barbados, it will be easier to kite anywhere.
When I contacted Radical Sports Tobago, I already had a few sessions under my belt, so I was excited to experience the so-called idyllic ‘flat water’. Radical Sports Tobago has a great little spot on the tip of Pigeon Point beach, a white-sand beach protected as a national park. The shop has exceptionally helpful and friendly staff, all gear rentals on site, a turfed pumping station on the beach, and a chill lounge area with funky surfboard showers, drying lines, a hammock, and some comfy seating. The shop caters to kitesurfers, windsurfers and has contacts for other watersports activities.
My instructor Nigel greeted me with a big smile on the first day. I’ve had a few instructors already in my learning experience, so there is usually an acquaintance period. They want to see your skill level, and you want to get a feel for their teaching style. It didn’t take long before we were in the waist-deep water, practicing some basic skills such as controlled movements of the kite from left to right in the wind window. In all, I spent three days kitesurfing in Tobago.
Check back for part two of this blog, when I share my experience as a beginner learning to kitesurf in Tobago. I know… the suspense!!
UPDATE: Check out part 2 here – posted May 3, 2016.