history, spots, windy months, and basic rules
Located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete is a small fishing town turned wind sport mecca! During this article, we are going to tell you everything we know about kiteboarding in Cabarete.
A Little Cabarete Kiteboarding History
According to legend, Canadian windsurfer Jean Laporte came here in the 1980s and was quite literally blown away by the consistent and warm trade winds. The windsurfing community in Cabarete exploded and began to appear in the most popular windsurfing magazines of the time. T shiny pages popping with action shouted the name of future Cabarete Icon, Marcus Bohm all the way from Germany. Before anyone knew it, Marcus was one of the first few resident kiters making a spectacle out of the skies. It wasn’t too long before the grande Rubio felt compelled to spread the stoke and share his skills with locals like Wilson Tavares and Luciano Gonzalez.
Since then, Cabarete has hosted many prestigious kite competitions. From the PKRA to the WKL our local pros are either winning or on the podium! Thanks to awesome conditions, tranquilo culture, and inexpensive travel, Cabarete has maintained its status as one of the top kiting destinations in the world.
Kite Spots in Cabarete
Live From Villa Taina
Conveniently located right in front of our hotel, Cabarete Bay is spacious with lots of room to launch, land and more than enough room on the water! Cabarete Bay is also a favorite spot for windsurfers and sailors so stay up to date on your right-of-way rules. The water inside the reef can be choppy with good waves out on the reef. The shore break can get a little bigger as you progress down the bay, but this provides the pros perfect ramps to practice tricks. There are a variety of schools in The Bay, including our very own Cabarete Windsports Club, which offers lessons and rentals for kiteboarding, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, and surfing – oh my!
You’ve probably guessed it from the name, Kite Beach is the most popular kitesurfing spot in Cabarete offering 300m of protected flat water out to the reef where you can find perfectly peeling waves. This beach is smaller than Cabarete Bay. Therefore it can get busy. So, be sure to keep your eyes peeled and check over your shoulder before moving your kite back. Kite Beach has several kitesurf schools that offer lessons, rental, and storage.
Encuentro is paradise for strapless riders searching for the most consistent waves in the Dominican Republic. It has numerous breaks suited to for all levels. However, we recommend only intermediate and advanced riders take on a swell since the waves can get heavy and the reef can get shallow. The beach is relatively small, so it’s a good idea to take a buddy for launching and landing help. Since it is not such a great spot for beginners, you won’t find any there are no kitesurf schools here. Instead, you will find a plethora of surf schools taking advantage of the windless mornings.
Located 10 minutes east of town, the mouth of the Yasica River, a.k.a. La Boca, is the home to almost every pro video you have seen in Cabarete. This spot is the perfect place to practice freestyle with its butter-flat water. It also makes for a great beginning for a downwinder to Cabarete. There are no schools here since the river mouth is small and lined with mangroves. It is not a spot recommend for beginners.
Wind in Cabarete
Cabarete is windy year round thanks to the warm climate and thermal trade winds. The wind blows easterly, so for all of our spots, the wind blows cross onshore which is technically the best direction. Additionally, the wind typically picks up around midday so you can spend your morning sleeping, surfing or exploring – then you can kite until the sun sets. Perfect!
May – August: 16-30 knots WINDIEST SEASON
September – December: 10–20 knots WAVIEST SEASON
January – April: 14-24 knots SOME WIND, SOME WAVES
Right Of Way Rules
Popular kite spots can get busy, and Cabarete is guilty. Fortunately, right-of-way rules exist and when everyone uses them traffic moves freely and safely. It’s important to note that beginners, usually sporting a helmet and life jacket, will not know the rules. So, it’s the kind thing to do to give them some space to make mistakes like we all did when we were beginners. To ensure a happy kiting experience, we have outlined the basic rules as a reminder below:
1. On The Beach
The wind can be gusty on the beach, so the rider who is on the beach takes on more risk and therefore has priority. In other words, the rider entering the water has the right of way over the rider exiting the water.
2. Head On
If you are riding towards another kiter, the rider on the starboard tack (right foot forward) has the right of way, and the rider on the port tack (left foot forward) must give priority by heading downwind with the kite as low as possible to avoid a collision or tangle.
The faster rider must give way to the slower rider as he can see and judge the situation better than the slower rider. (The slower rider may also be a beginner, so always give plenty of room).
4. Upwind Vs Downwind
The rider passing upwind from another kiteboarder must fly his kite overhead and the kiteboarder downwind must fly his kite as low as possible to stop a tangle!
If you pass UPWIND, keep your kite HIGH.
If you pass DOWNWIND, keep your kite LOW.
The waves here in Cabarete are pretty spectacular, but wave riding has its own rules too. The rider surfing a wave has right of way over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction. As you are surfing and being pushed by a wave, you have less room for maneuvers, so it’s important to give lots of space to a wave rider if you are on a twin tip.
Whether you’re boosting off the waves or inside on the flat water, you must make sure you have a clear safety zone of 50m downwind of you. That way, you will always have enough room for a clean ride away!
It’s everyone’s job to avoid a collision so even if someone isn’t abiding by the rules, then it becomes your role to avoid them. We also have a lot of beach and water users here in Cabarete, so it’s important to respect them especially since they might not know anything about kiteboarding.