You might remember me whining about my struggle to learn to ride a kiteboard. After finally getting out of the water, on top of the board, and to the point where I could ride and (usually) stay upwind, we promptly took a 6 month break from kiteboarding.
When we returned to the Tuamotus, I struggled to retain my gains in the face of gusty wind, sharp coral rubble beaches, coral heads and currents ripping through false passes. I had fun but in order to have fun I had to pick and choose my conditions carefully to match my skill level and I didn’t get a lot of time on the kiteboard. When I picked poorly I reached that special level of frustration people get to when they know they could do something if the conditions would just freaking cooperate. That is…until we reached Rangiroa.
SE Rangiroa is a kiteboarding dream. Miles of knee deep water, over true sand (not coral bits), with no obstructions and a clear unobstructed path for the wind. You ride with the sun reflecting off the white sand, warm clear water, occasional strips of brilliant blue when the water rises above knee deep. The area appears to be a nursery for various aquatic life and we kited with absolutely adorable 1’ long wee black tip sharks and meandering sting rays (both easy enough to see and not numerous enough to worry too much about).
After a brief reconnaissance visit, we loaded up at the village and headed back to weather one of the longest mara’amu blows we’ve seen while anchored in the SE corner of Rangiroa at the base of the kiting spot. We kited 9 out of 11 days and the 2 break days were because the winds were too strong for our smallest kite. We were grateful for the break days because we were bleary eyed from exhaustion, sun and salt and wobbly from extra long kiting sessions.
I spent the time with a grin permanently etched on my face. The sound of the wind, the hiss of the board over the water, the amazing beauty of my surroundings, the more-than-mile long tacks before turning was necessary, moved me into this dreamy state of moving meditation that I haven’t felt since rock climbing. Not only did I get hours of silky smooth riding under my belt, I worked on my carving turns and tried (and landed) my first jumps.
If you are a cruiser kiter and bring your boat to the S Pacific, get yourself here for a set of good windy days. Even in very strong wind the sand banks keep the water flat and so the anchorage, while somewhat exposed to the wind (depending on how far S the angle), is flat water.
Does. Not. Suck. Definitely a new favorite place (nfp).