For many, Tarifa is seen as little more than a crossing point from the Southernmost tip of Spain to Tangiers in Morocco. But in reality, Tarifa is looked upon as one of the world’s top destinations for kitesurfing. So what better place to learn than amongst the world’s international elite. Not only do you have access to one of Andalucia’s longest beaches, but you also have the charm of Tarifa’s Old Town to enjoy after and exhilarating day on the water.
What exactly is kitesurfing?
Lets begin by running through the basic of kitesurfing and what it is. Essentially kitesurfing involved wearing a board on your feet and using a large kite to propel you through the water. Many people think that you need immense upper body strength to do this but in fact the sport is accessible to anyone that can swim and only a basic level of fitness is required….so no excuses!
Where is Tarifa?
Tarifa is at the Southernmost point to Spain and within shooting distance of both Gibraltar and Cadiz. It’s geographic location at the mouth of the mediterranean as it enters the Atlantic Ocean means it enjoys relatively consistent winds. This in combination with expansive sandy beaches makes it the ideal hotspot for learning to kitesurf.
Tarifa is so close to Morocco that the Atlas mountains form a breathtaking backdrop to the Atlantic as you enjoy sundown beers in one of the town’s many beach bars. The Old Town itself sits right behind the beach and is the perfect place to explore as you get lost in the myriad of cobbled streets and squares. There’s an overwhelming choice of restaurants and bars and in the summer the town is buzzing until the early hours.
If your a steak lover be sure to visit the town’s Vaca Loco restaurant which serves fantastic flame grilled steaks which you can wash down with a tasty Rioja.
As you would expect, there is no shortage of kitesurfing schools who are more than willing to speak to you and offer advice and lessons. KTS Tarifa is a long established kitesurfing school with a great reputation and English speaking instructors.
The centre of the kitesurfing action tends to be out of town so you will need a car or grab a lift from your instructor to visit one of the many beaches that are a 10 or 15 minute drive from the town. There are plenty of beach bars and Chiringuitos where you can grab a drink or lunch on the beach in the summer months.
How long does it take to learn to kitesurf?
You most certainly will need lessons when you learn to kitesurf so do some research and pick the school which makes you feel most comfortable.
Usually your lessons will include equipment rental so all you need is flip flops, hat, suncream, water and a wetsuit if you don’t want to wear a rental.
Normally learning is broken down into 4 main stages with the first being focused on theoretical and safety aspects and learning to fly the kite on land.
Once you have this down, normally after half a day, you will take the kite into the water and learn to ‘body drag’ which essentially involves getting a feel for the power of the kite as it pulls you through the water. Again this stage will usually last half a day.
Once you are comfortable with body dragging and have good kite control, you will move to the third stage which involves the addition of a board. You will start practicing getting the board on your feet and getting up and riding. This stage can take a few days but once you are up and running, that’s it….you’ve caught the bug!
Accomodation in Tarifa
There’s no shortages of choice when it comes to accommodation in Tarifa. You can check Airbnb as well as Tarifa Direct who often have a lot of apartments listed. There are also a number of hotels in the town which you may be interested in.
Visit Tarifa and you’ll see why it’s become so popular. The golden beaches, quaint Old Town, beach bars, restaurants and myriad of kitesurfing schools make this a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to give this amazing sport a try!
About the author: Jonathan Hedger
Jonathan Hedger has been kitesurfing since 2005 and is owner of Kitesurfshack, a website for kitesurfing t-shirts and gifts.