Kite Surfing

Kite Surfing in the Sun

Kite Surfer Gets Air in the Sun

Among the many different, fun and exciting activities you can do in The Baja when staying at the Inn at Rincon is Kite Surfing.  Here you’ll find out about some of the areas on our side of the Baja where people love to kite surf and more on how to kite surf with some tips on the weather, getting started with kite surfing and finding the perfect kite surfing spot when staying at the Inn at Rincon.

There are a number of areas to catch the wind and the waves in kite surfing.  One of which is San Felipe.

San Felipe is blessed with lots of wind. There is rarely a day when the area does not get at least a 5 m.p.h. steady breeze, however some times of the year are much better than others. here is a brief synopsis of conditions:

In winter which is basically mid November through early March you’ll find periods of very strong wind which is enough to keep you ‘surfing’ for most of the day.

Winds are mostly  from the North from around 9 a.m. through late afternoons. Typical wind speeds are in the 5-8 mph range. If Santa Ana conditions develop over Southern California (high pressure areas building over the Southwest United States) then it gets very windy in San Felipe. The Santa Ana conditions last for as much as a few days at a time and may follow one another at weekly intervals. These are the days when we can get 15-30 mph north winds for several hours at a time, sometimes they rage all through the night. Light breezes start at sunrise but may reach 10-15 mph by mid-day. They will blow strong and steady till late afternoon and often into the night. The sea is choppy and covered with wind-driven waves that can be 2-3 ft high. During very strong Santa Anas, wind gusts in excess of 30 mph occur and the sea is extremely rough with sand-filled breaking waves at the edge. This can be a time when a lot of beach erosion occurs. During the December through February time period, water temperatures hover between 60-65 F which is pretty warm compared to other areas in the oceans and seas.

Winter is the time of year when the town is taken over by snowbirds from Canada and the Northern states. In general, they have mobile homes and RVs and occupy the trailer parks that are in the wind shadow of the mountains surrounding the town.  One thing to remember is that you need to be away from the town center in order to get good wind. It is therefore a big advantage if you stay at places south of the harbor. you have the beach at your doorstep and you also get good wind here.  The wind is also more or less parallel to the shore which allows you to get good runs without having to tack way out into the bay.

The beaches north of town also get good wind but it is more directly on-shore. You will also have to cart your equipment down the cliffs to the water.

The beaches south of San Felipe are also great for wind sports. You need to go at least as far south as Bahia Santa Maria in order to get away from the wind shadow of the mountains at Punta Estrella. Watch for submerged rocks! They can be quite dangerous!  The road south of San Felipe is good as far as Puertecitos, and there are campos catering to retirees all along the coast along this road. You can go to any of these campos and, provided you are courteous, you will be welcomed and will have no problems launching windsurfers.

Weather during Spring which is March through May you’ll find lighter winds

Winds moderate and become North to East. Again, the strong winds are caused by the developing of high pressure over California and we get Northerly breezes that will reach 10-15 mph during these episodes that tend to last around 3 days. When low pressure forms over California, then San Felipe tends to be quite calm but much warmer. Sea temperatures rise from the mid 60’s to around 72F during this time. Town is crowded on weekends and there are a lot of ATCs and ATVs that roar up and down the bay beaches on weekends.

Summer (June- September) – baby winds, except when storms come

Warm and humid. Sea temperatures rise to around 90F by August and the typical winds (also 90F) are out of the East at 5-10 mph in the late mornings to mid-afternoons. The sea has a gentle chop with occasional whitecaps. In late afternoons (4 p.m.) there is a sudden shift of wind and it blows strongly from the south for a couple of hours. This is a very dry wind and the air temperature may shoot up over 100F for this period. Out on the water it is no problem but sailors should be aware of this sudden switch in direction – it occurs fast, often shifting from East to South in under 10 minutes, then blowing quite a gale. Beach people have to grab their umbrellas and bags and rush to their hotels to avoid being sand-blasted. Mornings can be dead calm and intolerably humid so you can plan to sleep late. You definitely need accommodations with air conditioning for sleeping during this season.

Late September brings the hurricane season. Low pressure centers move from the Pacific over the Baja peninsular and into the Sea of Cortez. This can result in big swells and significant on-shore winds. Watch our weather page for imminent storms. When it rains it pours and we do have flooding in town and also on the highways across the desert to Mexicali. After any major rainfall in this region watch out for water pollution.

During Autumn which is October through mid-November you’ll find increasing wind, however, fall is a very short season here. Generally it is clear, cloudless and relatively calm. Days start calm and easterly breezes pick up in the late morning. Typical conditions are to see 5 -8 mph breezes from mid-morning through late afternoon. Good for light sailing but not for extreme sports. Water temperatures cool rapidly from their summer highs to the mid 70’s.

Another popular Kite Surfing area is La Ventana.

La Ventana is a tiny hamlet in the south coast of Baja, 30 miles from La Paz, on the Sea of Cortes side of the peninsula and has become a kite-boarding enclave in the winter months. It is situated on a small bay with long stretch of sandy beach and ideal northernly side shore wind.

The beach is studded with kite school out-fittings, houses for rent and small scale resort like guest houses, catering to kite-boarders mainly and some to wind surfers. The surrounding scenery is spectacular. The beach is surrounded by a thick cactus forest that extends all the way to the near by mountains. The water is clean and clear, and at this time of the year still warm in the 70’s

Wind is mild to moderate and not enough to get you on board but using a 12 meter kite it is enough to get the kite up and do some practice on the beach. Professional kite boarders and instructors tend to travel with the wind. In the summer: in the Columbia gorge; in the spring and fall in the South Padre Island, and in the winter, here in Baja.

If you are learning kite surfing you’ll probably begin with a helmet equipped with a receiver head set so you can be coached while you are working the kite in the water.

But before students get in the water, they must first learn how to handle the kite on shore to a get a feel for how to work it in the “wind window.” The concept is basic. If the wind blows in at an angle from the north, the wind window stretches 45 degrees from the actual direction of the wind on either side. So the kite will have to face either 45 deg to the left away from the shore, or 45 deg on the right towards the shore. The key is learning how to position the kite in these regions to nicely exploit the wind to pull your body. Kite is connected to a bar through two pairs of very tough and long strings, and the bar in turn fits into harness worn by the kiter, so as the wind moves the kite, it also pulls the body. The bar is mainly a steering wheel. By learning to work the bar you can control the amount of wind exposure to the kite and the power you need to get pulled on the water.

In the beginning by far is the hardest part is learning how to position your kite on the water and once this is done the rest flows more easily. This is tricky because when you do all this you must maintain the kite at the 11:00 position. You’ll have to put your feet into the proper slot on first try without losing the board or dropping the kite. It is an encouraging to get your kite to pull you along and then position your self between the kite and the wind, which is a very comfortable and stable position. You can maintain that for hours if you have to, without getting tired. Because the kite pulls you up by the harness you can rest comfortably to get your breadth back, and get your head ready for the final step.

With enough practice with 11:00 o’clock position, soon you’ll be ready to ride. All you’ll have to do is the work the bar to create a pull on your harness at the 11:00 position to lift myself up, and forward. At the same time I also have to turn the front edge of the board with

Kite Surfer II

Kite Surfer

the right leg forward in the direction of the wind at 11:00. So I do this and suddenly see myself gliding on the water for a few seconds. At this time I frankly don’t remember how it happened but within a second I had crashed the kite and let go of my board. I took a while to re-launch the kite because of low wind, but when I managed to do it, the board was swept down wind and I could get to it in time.

Once you manage to stand on the board and are being pulled by the wind, you lean back let your weight be carried by the ropes. To wrap it up, kite-boarding is a difficult and vigorous sport but not necessarily dangerous if you play it safely. To minimize the fatigue factor it is essential to develop the upper body and arms. You have to allow many days and multiple tries in a row to shed the  fear of the wind, the ropes and the water.

There are is a lot more to learn about kit surfing that you’ll want to keep coming back, trying kite surfing different areas, getting more kite surfing fun!