When everybody in Europe dreams about sunny beaches and hot weather, we complain about heat and mosquito-bites. But then, let’s go kite!
Do you plan a kite trip in Sri Lanka? We do. We book a flight to Colombo. We have a place to stay. Transport to Kalpityia, rent a tuk-tuk, get to a bank for cash – everything is set. The ProRider – George has been wintering in Sri Lanka’s kite-spot near Kalpityia since 2014. Since that time some friendships have been built and every year we return we feel more at home.
Kite-surfing did rise as a sport for the past 15 years so it will be the first extreme water-sport to be included in the Olympic Games in 2024 as a permanent discipline! So did Kalpitiya become one notorious place to kite since 2010… This is a perfect kite-spot for so many reasons. Here we will tell you just a few. If you are kite-surfer you should give a though to go, see and discover all the rest for yourself!
...the spot conditions
What are the kite conditions in Kalpitiya? Good for everybody no matter the skills or the preferences for kiting. Each kiter will find his happiness.
- Level of kiting: beginner + intermediate + independent + advanced;
- Spot type: flat to choppy water on the lagoon & small to medium waves in the open ocean;
- Discipline: free-ride; freestyle; foil;
- Launch zone: sandy beach
When is the best time to go kite in Kalpitiya? We identify two kite seasons in Sri Lanka:
- high season in summer (from May to October) during the south-west monsoon;
- low season in winter (from mid’December to mid’February) during the north-east monsoon.
Note! about the dream…
The water is more of blue-green-grey colours of the rainbow. It is not as clear and turquoise dream blue that people are expecting from tropical destinations with palm trees on the beach.
Still, the beach is beautiful and the exotic spirit is everywhere.
What dangers to expect? Be aware of the falling coconuts.
The hazards of the lagoon in Kalpitiya are those spiky seashells which can seriously hurt if you step on one (said out of experience).
Also, somewhere in the center of the lagoon, a gusty corridor of wind can surprise a less skilled kite-surfer while free riding or preparing a trick.
...the kite options
Where to kite when in Kalpitiya? The spots for kiting are quite varied in the area, so every rider can find his happiness there:
- The Kalpitiya lagoon spans around 800 m wide and exceeds 2 km in length, giving you a giant playground of flat water to play in. The launch spot is located on the wide sandbar which separates the lagoon from the Indian Ocean. This is the opposite side to where you find the resorts and hotels, so you will need to take a quick scooter ride over (5-15 minutes, depending on where you are coming from) or use a ride with the bus or the boat of the resort you stay in (5-6 $ / ride). This is also the cost of the safety boat.
The water is shallow (1.5 m max) even in the center of the lagoon. Yet the bottom is muddy and there are those spiny seashells to be careful not to step on.
It is perfect for beginners to discover the kite-sport, improve their skills and become independent riders. The wind is side-on-shore so you get those 800 m large to do your line and you have 2 km long free-ride once you go upwind. All advanced riders can practice tricks on that warm nice flat water.
- The Indian Ocean is wide and nearby. The warm sandy beach is reachable from everywhere. A lot of resorts and hotels are located on the side of the ocean, so depending on your choice – 15mn to the lagoon by tuk-tuk could be also shortened to 5mn to launch your kite and reach the lagoon by free riding in the ocean.
The water is deep fast because it is the ocean, but it is still warm. A little choppier – waves can be bigger still possible to ride. The wind is side-on or perfect onshore which allows even beginners to start kiting in the ocean. It is safe.
- Vella Island or any island north from the Kalpitiya lagoon is offering a great opportunity for some tricks and fun on perfect flat crystal blue water. Then a great downwind adventure back to the main land at the end of the day. A one or two-day trip with a boat to the island is also a nice addition to the list of experiences to live on a kite-trip.
There are a lot of uninhabited islands north of the lagoon. Local fishermen use them for fishing and resting, yet the only food and water you get is the one you brought with you. It is a super opportunity for some skills-improvement on the offshore wind. Still, as the island is more of a sandbank 20-30 m large, the onshore beach is close too.
- The “Donkey point” we have not yet discovered, but it seems to be a good spot for riding on some waves!
As we mentioned in the beginning – the Kalpitiya kite-spot is perfect because it offers choices for all the tastes – levels of advancement and types of riding.
Pure freedom for all kite surfers!
...the kite needs
What kite-equipment to prepare? Various options are to be considered when you decide which kites to take:
- If you have your own gear: in summer small sizes of kites mostly used vs. in winter the medium to big sizes. Still, you need to take in consideration your own abilities.
- If you would like to rent a kite: you could subscribe in advance with us when you join us on our winter trips around Christmas. Also, the resorts and permanent kite-schools do offer equipment for rent. The unfortunate detail being – you are never sure of the state of usage of the material they provide.
- If you are interested in learning how to kite: again you can subscribe with our kite-school and join us on a Christmas holiday to a tropical country for discovering both the Beautiful Sri Lanka and the best sport that is kite-boarding.
- If you are interested in buying: you can start by checking our online store here. To buy a kite in Sri Lanka would be like to buy from anywhere in the world – second hand, only if you see it and try it first.
Note! about the kite-shops
Interesting fact about the Kalpitiya as a kite-spot: there are very few kite-shops. The one in the centre of Kalpitiya-city, we have never seen open on any of our Christmas visits. And in the resorts like “Kitesurfing Lanka” or “Sri Lanka kite” – the choice is quite limited. They offer mostly accessories…
What to bring for the trip? The kite-equipment being set, you still need to think about what to wear? Board-shorts and lycra may be enough even in winter. A 2 mm neoprene is the maximum you should pack if you are skinny and easy to get cold. And remember to take protection for the sun: your cap and sunglasses!
Note! About those spiny seashells
As we mentioned earlier, no socks or shoes will save you from them. The spines pass trough. Still, if you would fill safer, take the boots.
What else do you need to know?
- Transport from Colombo to Kalpitiya: we know a guy 😉 a friend and reliable driver (70$ / car for 5 pers.), also you can find at the airport on arrival or negotiate with your accommodation manager;
- Access the kite-spot in Kalpitiya: we know a guy 😉 to rent a scooter ($5.5 / day) or a tuk-tuk ($14 / day) is the best option for mobility in the area. The price also can be lowered if you rent for a longer period (>3 weeks). And to reach the islands – you rent a boat (~75$ / boat for 6 pers.)
- Food & drinks at the kite-spot are available: most of the permanent kite-schools have a spot on the shore of the lagoon where they offer water and refreshment drinks, an ice-cream-man and an ice-cream-tuk-tuk pass by very often, another tuk-tuk passes by with fresh coconuts to drink, some local donuts can satiate your hunger until you get a real meal.
- Party? The nightlife in Kalpitiya is not the most developed. Some resorts have a bar with awesome music and cocktails. You will fill like home (prices being also like at the disco’).
What else can you do if not kiting?
- A wake park opened recently on a small private lagoon near the kite spot.
- A safari in the Wilpattu National Park is very interesting activity if you are curious to meet the local inhabitants of the none-human kind.
- A safari on water to see the dolphins and/or whales is also particular experience to add to the bucket list if you are ready to wake up and leave very early in the morning.
- Scuba diving is also happening in the area.
- Wind-surfing is always present where kite is, so if you want to try – you are welcome to have that different ride of the wind too.
- Touristic destinations to discover in a day trip are just 3-4h drive (by tuk-tuk or bus). You may reach ancient sites like Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Kandy. (We have a story with more details you can check!)
NOTE! Some general information and advises about this destination to give you a better idea budget-wise…
- Are you curious about life in Sri Lanka? We have that story with more details about Sri Lankan food, way of life, culture, customs and tourists sites we like to visit: TO READ HERE
- Visa : free, but an online application to fill in (INFO HERE);
- Cheap flights to Colombo: follow the offers with Qatar; Turkish Airlines; FlyDubai to find the best price to fly to Sri Lanka starts at $500.
- Accommodations: hotel or resort or villa? The longer you stay, the better the price is. The offers are variable and depend on your budget. The conditions are good. We can help to book a place to stay in Kalpityia any time, any season (MORE INFO HERE).
- Cash: there are ATM-cash machines, there are a lot of banks in Sri Lanka – you are covered.
- Cost of life is low as in not expensive, especially if you are open to less fancy restaurants. At local fast-food you can have a very satisfying delicious yet spicy meal for $3. Alcohol is the expensive one: beer starts at $5!
- It is safe! People are friendly and warm welcoming.