Kiteboarding – Coastal Sussex Weekly

by Dave on April 16, 2009

This article originally appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, April 16, 2009:

Drive down Coastal Highway south of Dewey Beach on any blustery spring day, and you are likely to see a variety of colored, crescent-shaped kites flying off to your right in various parts of Delaware Seashore State Park. If you pull over and pay closer attention, however, you’ll notice that those kites are moving rather quickly. That’s because they are attached to people on boards participating in one of the newer crazes to hit our waters: kiteboarding.

Kiteboarding Magazine says that Dewey Beach is a “mecca for kiteboarders in the Mid-Atlantic,” featuring winds strong enough to “make you cry for Mommy.” No one who lives here during the peak wind months (March through June, September through November) would successfully argue that point.

Kiteboarding dates back to the mid-1990’s, with the first competition being held on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 1998. It usually takes a few lessons to learn the sport, due to the dangers involved.

In our area, most riders use 11- to 17-meter kites attached to a harness that wraps around the rider as they glide along the water, and sometimes above the water, at high speeds. The speed record, set in Namibia in October by Alex Caizergues of France, is 50.58 knots (about 58 miles an hour).

So what is it about Dewey Beach, Cape Henlopen and other coastal Delaware spots that attract kiteboarding enthusiasts from the Mid Atlantic?

“You have easy access to the water and the wind is more reliable so you’re going to have people from Washington, DC and Annapolis drive the extra two hours for a more reliable wind,” says Valentin Puscasu from, a regional kiteboarding web site. “Plus, it’s easier for people to learn there, with the shallow water.”

Interested? Beginners in the Delaware Beach area can call H2Air (, 227-1105) or East of Maui (, 227-4703) to get started.

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