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July 30, 2010

Kitesurfing in Cape Town keeps growing

kitesurf

Kitesurfing in Blouberg. Photo courtesy Marti McFly

Cape Town is becoming one of the most popular kitesurfing destinations in the world, with thousands of enthusiasts from countries such as Germany, Italy and the Netherlands flocking to the Mother City every summer.

Some of Cape Town’s most popular kitesurfing spots are Blouberg, Muizenberg, Big Bay and Melkbosstrand.

Cape Town Tourism spoke to kitesurfing experts Olaf Martin and Vaughan Harris to find out more about the sport that is literally taking off in the Mother City. Martin, a keen kitesurfer and well-known equipment supplier, has done extensive research into the benefits of kitesurfing, while Harris runs the website Kitespotters, which provides information about the best kitesurfing spots in Cape Town, as well as accommodation options. Harris also produced a DVD entitled Cape Reels, in which former world champions Kevin Langaree and Aaron Hadlow enjoy Cape Town’s excellent kitesurfing conditions.

Martin explains that, in addition to its superb kitesurfing conditions, Cape Town is on the same time zone as many European countries, meaning travellers needn’t suffer from jet lag and lose time when they visit. The city also offers a range of extra activities for the partners andas much. children of kitesurfers. “There are plenty of great kitesurfing spots around the world, but they are often far out. Cape Town offers great shopping, a variety of restaurants and coffee shops and so on.”

The kitesurfing season runs from November until April, when Cape Town is warm and windy. Harris explains that some professionals will come and stay in Cape Town for those six months, and many have bought property in the region as a result.

Harris estimates that kitesuring already brings in R40-million a year to the South African economy and hopes that with increased interest, sponsorship and local events, the sport can develop even further. “I think there is potential for that revenue to double,” he says.

Kitesurfing could become an Olympic sport by 2016 and Martin believes this would give Cape Town a boost, should they bid to host the 2020 games. “Imagine if Cape Town wins the bid to host the 2020 Olympics and we produce an 18-year-old kitesurfing medalist for those games,” he says.

The Kitesurfing World Cup has not yet been held in South Africa, but Martin and Harris both believe Cape Town is the right city to change all that.

Kitesurferes in Europe who are planning to visit Cape Town this summer can search Cape Town Tourism’s accommodation database to find establishments in kitesurfing areas.

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