by Kristy Aleksich
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh ocean breeze, the wind in your hair as you glide across the water, the salty mist from the sea gently coating your skin as seabirds soar overhead. That’s the ‘movie’ version of kiteboarding. A more realistic take on the sport is slightly more dramatic. The wind can whip the ocean into a frenzy, its salty waves adorned with white tips, and the ocean spray is more like a hefty dousing of seawater. To a newcomer, this might be intimidating, but to a seasoned pro, these are the days they live for.
Being perfectly placed at the northernmost tip of Howe Sound, Squamish has a breeze that can fiercely funnel between the mountains and turn the waters into the ultimate location for windsports. It’s no wonder people travel from around the globe to surf the waters here, our remarkable reputation is undisputed the world over. Squamish has more days with sunshine and steady wind that provide ideal conditions for kiteboarding and windsurfing than most any other place in North America. And did we mention windsports are the perfect social distancing pastime?
Squamish Windsports Society (SWS) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain safe access to windsports in Squamish. Managing the hub of windsports, the Squamish Spit, SWS is on track to launch the windsport season on May 15, 2020. The SWS will be incorporating the recommended COVID-19 distancing requirements at the Squamish Spit, as well as a few additional changes. Access to the Spit will be for members only – there will no longer be a non-member access fee available. Memberships are available online for purchase. On busy days, be prepared to wait to enter the Spit so that everyone can remain the required safe distance apart.
If you’re keen to learn to kiteboard this may not be your year. Most lessons require proximity with teacher and student, though fundamental classes to get your started are still available. Local kiteboarding school Aerial Windsports will continue to offer classes where available and will adjust their class dynamics to adhere to the current COVID-19 requirements. Typically, Squamish’s leading learning center offers introductory classes, hourly private lesson packages, semi-private and group lessons, but it might be best to call and speak with them about what you’re looking for and what’s available. If you don’t own your gear you can also arrange to rent equipment from them.
With another sunny and windy summer on its way, windsport enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the steady wind and incredible views that Squamish has to offer. PLEASE remember to follow the rules set out by SWS and our government, keep a safe distance and respect your fellow kiters and windsurfers!
Follow Kirsty on Instagram @kfm_aleksich