Parts of the day I remember clearly. Others not so well. I don’t remember why my kite started spiraling. I obviously did something wrong, but I can’t recall what. I definitely remember thinking, “this is not good.”
Allenwood Beach witha strong northwest wind is a seriously fun place to kiteboard. Waves come rolling in, with six-to-eight-foot swells out beyond the white buoys. The onshore wind means you’re always going back upwind, beyond the buoys and away from people swimming and enjoying the show the kiters put on.
When my kite started spiraling on me, it wasn’t one of these days. Instead, it was cold and miserable but perfect for kiting. The beach was empty. The town was empty. But, looping directly downwind, my kite yanked me violently forward, out of my board straps and into the air. I skimmed across the water for fifteen feet before plunging in again. As the power of the kite subsided for a second, I debated letting go of the bar and killing the power, but didn’t. Knowing there was no one downwind, I decided to test my strength again. Holding the bar tightly, I braced against the soft sand bottom, ready for it to power up again. At this point it lifted off the water and went spinning for another two full rotations, dragging me across the water. It yanked on me once again, this time into the shallower water and up onto the beach on my elbows. It was there the kite crashed and I let go of the bar, sending my kite limply onto the beach. I laughed at myself for being such a kook. I laughed at myself for once again getting humbled. And I laughed at myself because the only casualty was a bit of skin on my elbows.
I’d made this mistake after weeks of lessons. But I’d made the judgment call: No one was downwind. And I knew I could kill the kite’s power at any second.
Kiteboarding is not the kind of sport you can teach yourself. There’s a lot to learn and machismo really has no place in the sport. Everyone needs to take lessons.
It isn’t like skateboarding or surfing, where you can go out and flounder around for a while and eventually pick it up. Kiteboarding is more like rock-climbing or hang gliding, neither of which any sane person would attempt without a lesson. It’s a sport where you need to learn from qualified instructors. It’s a sport where common sense and respect for the power of the wind prevail.
So where can you learn to kiteboard in Ontario? There are a number of different instructors and schools throughout the province. Here are a list of some of the most reputable ones and the beaches they operate from.
- Sauble Beach
I don’t think anyone can argue that Oliphant, just north of Sauble Beach, is one of the best spots to learn kiteboarding. With wind coming in almost daily from two different directions, the water here is about two feet deep for as far as you can see, making it safe and easy to learn. Daniel Medysky and his son, Sam Medysky (who is now a professional kiteboarder), have been in the game as kiterider.ca since 2001. They do lessons almost every day all summer long.
North Coast Kiteboarding School
- Wasaga Beach
- Sauble Beach
Mark Does, owner of North Coast Kiteboarding School, is a staple of the Wasaga kiting scene. He’ll also travel to Sauble some days to work with students.
- Cherry Beach
- Ashbridges Bay
PBkiteboarding has been teaching kiting to Torontonians for years. They’ll travel, they’ll meet you where the wind is, and they’ll passionately get you as addicted to kiting as they are.
Ontario Kiteboarding Association
The home of the Ontario Kiteboarding Association, the OKA is a great resource for learning about beaches where kiting is permitted, the rules of the beaches and how to find instructors.