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Swept by winds throughout the seasons, the Wild Atlantic Way's coastline is dotted with long sandy beaches and flat-water lagoons that are perfect for folks who want to learn to kiteboard. We caught up with some experts and locals to get their tips. 

A mix of surfing, wakeboarding and windsurfing, kitesurfing - more broadly known as kiteboarding - is a flourishing sport known for its colourful parachutes which seem, when caught by a steady gust of wind, to freeze in time, creating a mesmerising image against a backdrop of sea and sky.

  • Kitesurfers heading out

The mechanics of kiteboarding are simple yet clever: using a kite anchored securely to a specially-shaped board, surfers move across the water with the power of the wind, changing direction and speed with the help of a series of pulleys. Unlike in surfing, you do not need waves to learn to kiteboard; as long as there are strong sweeps of wind over the water, you can glide along the surface of virtually any kind of ocean condition. 

The Wild Atlantic Way boasts many wide, flat beaches, marking it out as one of the very best places worldwide for kiteboarding beginners. If you’re new to the sport, lessons with a qualified instructor are absolutely essential for safety, and out here you're in luck; fantastic schools with experienced and friendly staff are dotted throughout the regions to help you get started. After that, it's simply a matter of seeking out the best kiteboarding locations for your tastes and growing skill level.

Kitesurfer at Achill Island, County Mayo

“I was brought to Achill Island once for a competition,” says Francois Colussi of Pure Magic. “Between the lakes, the beach and the romantic scenery… it was just the perfect place to set up a new school. You can go to Europe in search of flat water and find it, but that’s it. You can go to Africa in search of big waves, but that’s it. In Ireland, between the lakes and seaside and the different orientation, you really have a huge range of different conditions for all sorts of board sports.”

Francois says the number of kiteboarders is growing rapidly. “Every year, more and more people get into the sport. It’s really the evolution of surfing, windsurfing and wakeboarding; a mix of all different sports and a very visual one too.”

It may look difficult, but Francois insists that it’s extremely easy to pick up. “The elements in Ireland can be quite wild but it’s great for the sport. The wind is often blustery, so sometimes it can be challenging, but that’s also the big draw for a lot of people.”

  • Kitesurfers enjoying the setting sun

“The north shore of the Dingle peninsula has everything,” says kitesurfing instructor Jamie Knox from his base in County Kerry. “Castlegregory Beach (below) is recognised for being both a beginner’s and advanced surfer’s spot. The whole of Brandon Bay is ideal for new starters and for improvers to advance.”

Castlegregory, County Kerry

“Wherever you decide to go, each spot will be different depending on the wind and size of the swell,” says Michael Fitzsimons, who served as President of the Irish Kitesurfing Association for two years. “We only go kitesurfing in an onshore wind so that means you move from location to location. Throughout the Wild Atlantic Way there are great spots including DunfanaghyRossnowlaghRosses PointBelmulletSilver Strand in Galway, FanoreLahinchSpanish Point and more.”

  • Kitesurfing can be done on waves or flat water

Michael is keen to stress safety when learning to kiteboard. “No matter where you are, it’s important to take the appropriate safety measures. Lessons, lessons, lessons. Never kite on your own. Carry a pocket knife to cut yourself free from the lines and always wear a life vest. Don’t go out in the wrong conditions and remember to safety check your gear before each session.”

For safety, you need to learn how to control a power kite, how to read the wind and how to launch and re-launch. To get started, check out the Wild Atlantic Way’s top kitesurfing schools and instructors below. 

Interested? To start exploring the surf schools of the Wild Atlantic Way, click here

There’s much more surf action to discover on the Wild Atlantic Way. Get inspired by the Surf Coast and discover the best places to learn how to surf.

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