Cape Hatteras has become synonymous with kiteboarding sessions. Not only is it the most consistent wind destination on the East Coast of the USA (possibly the whole continent) but, it has the enviable geographic setup to take literally any wind direction. At REAL we take as many sessions as we can and this means being at the right place in the right wind to get the most out of the sessions. Here are REAL’s top 5 choices of where to go when the wind is up and it’s time to session!
1) Kite Point
Kite Point has to take the top spot for number one place to go when you first land on Hatteras. This shallow sandy spit sits on the sound side and is the go to place when we have a Nor Easter blowing. Kite point will often be the focal spot of the daily session as kiters congregate to help each other out and find their feet. Kite Point is a great place to head if you want to kite with others or just get your first session in before striking out to alternative spots.
Ideal Conditions: NNW-NE wind offers up butter flat water in behind the sandy point. It can be a little gusty but in a NE wind this place has the cleanest wind on the sound side. SW summer conditions offer up clean winds and good sound side riding
Hazards: Power lines run down the road side and are close to the launching and landing spot. Keep your distance from these as mishap could lead to a little singed hair and rather an unhappy island community!
2) The South Side
The South Side refers to the Coastline of Cape Hatteras that faces south. Bathed by the Gulf Stream, this area of the coast is warming up fast in the spring and offers up perfect ocean riding in the predominant SW winds. A popular weekend spot when SW winds are in. Locals and visitors alike setup near the Hatteras Ferry Docks and do long ocean down-winders to Frisco Pier. When there is good SW wind swell this can be unreal with endless carves possible as you smash wave after wave! Definitely a great place with the cross-onshore wind to master surfing with kites whether strapless or strapped. Grab a buddy and get on this session its one of the all time Hatteras greats.
Ideal Conditions: SW winds are the best for this as you are safe and will always end up back at shore. In the later season a good W wind with a tropical storm swell can deliver perfect down the line kiting.
Hazards: On the downwinder be prepared for kites down by taking a pump with you. It can be along walk if you dump in the middle! Hitch hiking however is not a problem. It’s warmer here so expect amazing sea life inc. Turtles, which take you by surprise when they surface. Frisco Pier needs to space to get round.
3) SDA – Salvo Day Use Area
This spot has a special place in most beginner/intermediate kiters minds. Whether you are taking to the water, up and riding or just want endless waist deep water to practice in, SDA is the spot. Rig up your kite on the sandy beach and head out into the lagoon where you will be greeted by steady winds, flat water and lots of space to go out and play. Windsurfers usually frequent this spot also so it can be fun to race them out and back (but don’t get too close). The community of kiters that session here are really mellow and will be only too happy to get you launched and out on the water. It’s a great place to check out gear you might want too as most people test their new kite equipment here before going further afield. Summer sessions here are the best and if you have a family it’s the ideal place to go for the day to suit everyone.
Ideal Conditions: Summer SW winds are classic here. NW can also be good later in the season.
Hazards: Can get busy in the high summer but there is so much space. The sandy beach is small so get some help the first time you launch here. If you go far downwind there are some properties so best to stay out in the sound and walk back.
4) Rodanthe-Salvo Downwinder (Ocean)
Starting the downwinder in Rodanthe and heading South in perfect NE conditions is going to be one of the highlights of your stay. Pump up on the beach just North of Rodanthe town and you will be straight into the action. When conditions line up, roping lefts peel off the outside bars and reform on the inside. For the goofy footer this run is a dream as you will be given ample practice ground for big hits. For regular footers, this is rare time to really hone your backhand. Works from knee to over head high. Land anywhere in town depending on your plans. One suggestion would be to drop a car at Ramp 23 and take on the whole Tri-Village downwinder. Waves abound in this kitesurf park!
Ideal Conditions: NE Wind with NE swell is perfect. If the wind has slightly more N then unhooking can be amazing. If you prefer to stay in one place then S-Turns (Rodanthe) itself offers shape in most swells.
Hazards: The main hazard will be houses close to the water at the north end of Rodanthe. Make sure you give Rodanthe Pier a good amount of room too and watch out for fishermen on the pier! Bailing early on the session could mean a long walk but you can always hitchhike. In the summer be aware that the beach will be busy with tourists so remain respectful and get out of their way quickly when you land.
5) The Slick
We could not go through the top 5 kite spots on Hatteras without mentioning the Slick. This famous little island and its resulting flat water have been responsible for more advancement in the sport of kiting than most other places on the planet. Whether you are coming to Hatteras for the first time or have been here many times you can always drop by the slick and watch some of the best kiters in the sport throw down in the REAL Slider Park and Kickers. Working best on a SW wind the Slick is a great place to stop off during a sound side down-winder or drop down to from Salvo Day Use Area (SDA). You will be met by buttery flat water even if it’s nuking 7m weather. Rip through the slick on a speed run, send a huge jump or perfect your latest wakestyle offering, this is the spot to push it!
Ideal Conditions: SW Summer time sessions with the sun setting are when the Slick offers up truly memorable sessions. W winds also deliver a long smooth run up the north to south island.
Hazards: The Slick is best during midday when the evening work crowd is sitting at their desks. Evenings are busy with the REAL crew and other local kiters. It can be daunting to drop through there with everyone in rotation and pushing the limits. Docks and pilings are getting more numerous in this playground too.
Obviously a little exploring as always will yield some stellar locations that we dare not mention. If you are new to kiteboarding then it is best to get lessons to really take advantage of the safety and skills that you will learn. You will always feel way more confident than if you try and wing it! Remember, respect the Park Service and if you are heading out by yourself then let someone know. Have fun out there and get after it!