Kiteboarding - Squamish Ocean Culture

Posted on: June 1, 2020

Kireboarding Squamish
D'Arcy McLeish

Guest Blogger: D'arcy McLeish

Squamish is famous for lots of things. World class rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater paddling, hiking. We’re lucky that our list of epic things to do is long. But another sport to put on that list is kiteboarding. Kiteboarding or Kitesurfing is fast becoming one of the most popular watersports in the world. What is it? Well it sounds much like it is. You have a kite, in this case a highly advanced inflatable aerofoil (fancy word for a kite) that behaves almost like a parachute. You are harnessed into it and then at your feet is a board. With wind in tow, you can basically surf your way around the water. Kiteboarding requires two things. The first is a body of water. The second is consistent wind. Squamish has both in abundance. 

Kiteboarding in Squamish
Some of the most consistent winds in the world are in Squamish. 
Photo - D'Arcy McLeish

Howe Sound is one of the best places in the world to kiteboard. That’s right. One of the best places in the world. I doubted that statement until I actually went down there one day and met kiters from around the globe. I’m no stranger to adventure sports in the Squamish area and each has their own subculture. But what struck me was how different the kite culture is from everything else in Squamish. We’re known for mountain sports, so it was almost like stepping into a tropical beach culture. Hundreds of people, hanging out in wetsuits or boardies, chatting, hanging out, and each taking their turn in the water. The wind that day was howling and folks were screaming back and forth across the Sound. Some were even catching air, huge air. One woman I watched was launching 20 plus feet in the air at every turn. 

I chatted with two locals and a couple of their friends. The locals hail from Squamish and Whistler, but their friends were from from Hawaii, which definitely has some awesome spots to kiteboard. I asked them how Squamish compared to their home and any other places they’d visited. Their answer was telling. “We’ve been kiting all over the world. Sure, where we live it’s all time, with big swell, but one thing Squamish has that probably makes it one of the best places in the world is the consistency of the wind. It blows here every day.” One of the locals chimed in, “It’s awesome here. The wind is just more consistent than so many other places. We’re pretty lucky that way. Pretty much everyday, all summer long, we have awesome wind.”

The only thing Squamish doesn’t have, which the visitors from Hawaii pointed out were, “Waves. There aren’t any swells here. But that’s ok. Not everyone can ride big swell. Besides, who needs waves when you can do that?” At which point he directed my attention to the water and someone launching themselves into the air. 

Squamish Kitesurfing
The views here are all time. Especially when it's blowing and 32 degrees celsius!
Photo - D'Arcy McLeish

Howe Sound an awesome place to spend the day kiting. The vibe was relaxed and easy, with folks hanging out, offering support to each other, coaching, and everybody was just stoked to be there. And why not? It was a gorgeous day, the wind was howling, the temperature was over 30 and the waters were a deep blue. 

Be safe, kite hard. 

Interested in learning to kite? Squamish Watersports is based in downtown Squamish, contact them for lessons, rentals and shuttle info.

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