Kitesurf at Sal, Santa Maria

3 x GKA Wave Tour competition spot

  • Overview
  • Good to know
  • Getting there

Overview

Out in the Atlantic, located nearly 600km west of Senegal, North West Africa, Cabo Verde’s archipelago of 10 volcanic islands enjoys a great combination of warm climate and almost constant wind for 8 months a year. With only a 6 hour flight from most European countries, this is a location that should be on your radar as it offers a range of conditions for all riders. For beginners visiting Sal, kite schools operate at the south of the island, based from Santa Maria, and to the east at Kite Beach where cross-onshore winds and small waves create fun conditions for every rider. To the west, Ponta Preta offers up world class waves for expert riders comfortable riding in offshore conditions with large, fast and powerful waves. Sal is not only the most populated island, it is also one of the main destinations for kitesurfing in Cabo Verde and has hosted the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup at Ponta Preta each year since 2018. The small town of Santa Maria, which runs along the southern strip of the Isle of Sal, is vibrant on the evenings as the nightlife moves into the streets throughout the town. During the daytime, the atmosphere is relaxed and through the middle of the day you can see a community working together as fishermen bring their daily catch into the pier and local women join them to clean the day’s haul. There’s lots to do on Sal besides kitesurfing; water lovers can continue to get their fix by Surfing, Stand Up Paddleboarding and Scuba Diving and, when you’re ready for some dry land adventure touring the island is highly recommended to visit the dormant volcano and grotto and to take in Cabo Verde’s colonial heritage.

Good to know

VISAS: All visitors to Cabo Verde (except holders of some African passports) require a visa. The one-month tourist visa for Cabo Verde is available on arrival at the airports and at the ports of Praia and Sal. The €25 fee is payable in euros only – it helps to bring the exact money. CURRENCY: CVE (Escudo) / Euro PRICES: Beer: 300 Escudo (€2.70) Food: Lunch: 750 Escudo (€7) Accommodation: €24-170 per night Kite Lessons: 6hrs Private €460 Kite Gear rental: Approx €55 per day LANGUAGE: Portuguese INTERNET: Many cafes provide free WiFi, for better internet connection buying a local SIM card is recommended. You can buy a SIM card for €2 and 1GB of data for €3. TRAVEL ADVICE: It is advised not to leave your belongings on building terraces at night (even upstairs) and to close the windows when you sleep.

Getting there

VISAS: All visitors to Cabo Verde (except holders of some African passports) require a visa. The one-month tourist visa for Cabo Verde is available on arrival at the airports and at the ports of Praia and Sal. The €25 fee is payable in euros only – it helps to bring the exact money. CURRENCY: CVE (Escudo) / Euro PRICES: Beer: 300 Escudo (€2.70) Food: Lunch: 750 Escudo (€7) Accommodation: €24-170 per night Kite Lessons: 6hrs Private €460 Kite Gear rental: Approx €55 per day LANGUAGE: Portuguese INTERNET: Many cafes provide free WiFi, for better internet connection buying a local SIM card is recommended. You can buy a SIM card for €2 and 1GB of data for €3. TRAVEL ADVICE: It is advised not to leave your belongings on building terraces at night (even upstairs) and to close the windows when you sleep.

  • Beach
  • Wind
  • Rules/Hazards

Beach

Kite Beach Kite Beach is the primary kiting spot on Sal due to it being suitable for riders of all levels and it receives consistent onshore and cross-onshore winds which ensure that riders will always end up back on the beach. Although Kite Beach is the busiest spot on Sal, the 3km stretch of sandy beach provides space to accommodate kiters visiting during peak months and the kite schools who teach there. Water conditions closer to the beach are typically some wind blown chop and sometimes a shore break; further out there is a long reef forming waves. Santa Maria - Ponta Leme & Ponta Sino To the east of Santa Maria, Ponta Leme is a flat water spot with cross-offshore wind. As wind is coming over land it gets more gusty than Kite Beach. Turbulent wind and a rock scattered launch area make this spot a challenge to start from though it is possible to start downwind and tack up to the spot. When there is a southerly swell, Ponta Leme gets a clean break of waves that are easy for riders getting into strapless kitesurfing. At the western end of Santa Maria, the bay curves to face south-east and gets cross-shore and cross-onshore winds and is less gusty than at Ponta Leme. The final spot at the western most end of Sal’s south coast is Ponta Sino which faces south and gets cross-shore and cross-offshore winds. Past the point of Ponta Sino is open ocean so riders should be cautious not to ride out too far. Ponta Preta A spot for advanced and pro riders only. Ponta Preta is one of the most famous spots in the world for kitesurfing due to it being a competition spot for the GKA for 2018-2020. The wind is offshore and the waves typically range between 3-6metres high and come in fast.

Wind

Cabo Verde has excellent wind statistics and a long peak season which runs from November to June as North Easterly trade winds blow 15 to 25kts almost daily, sometimes stronger. When it is windy it tends to be all day, though it is usually strongest between about 9am and 3pm leaving plenty of time in the afternoons to do other activities. Although there is an array of spots on Sal, the main spot for kiters is Kite Beach due to it facing East providing less turbulent, onshore wind. Most other spots on Sal are South or West facing and have more turbulent wind conditions. During winter months, air temperature is around 22ºC and water temperature a only a couple of degrees cooler. For most a 3/2mm shorty wetsuit will be enough to keep the chill away during a full day of kiting and on warmer days, later in the season, board shorts will suffice. No matter the time of year, suncream is always required. WIND DIRECTIONS: NNE, NE, E WINDIEST MONTHS: November, December, January, February, March, April, June

Rules/Hazards

During peak season kite beach can get a little crowded with approximately 150 kiters on the water. Consideration towards other riders and rights of way is all that is needed to keep everyone happy on the water. Beaches to the south and west are offshore or cross-offshore on a typical forecast. Riders who cannot stay upwind should stay upwind should stay at kite beach for cross-onshore conditions. Not all spots have rescue. If in doubt, don’t risk offshore or cross-offshore conditions. Kite Beach is shallow as low tide. Be cautious of depth across the bay when jumping or riding freestyle. The south coast is busier with tourists than kite beach. Be wary of other beach users when launching. * If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance please contact with the locally operating kite centre or camp. ** We always recommend seeking for additional knowledge about the spot from local kite school and qualified instructors.

Info

Rider Level:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Discipline:
freeride, waveriding, foiling
Spot Type:
Beach, Open water, Small waves (Up to 1m), Medium Waves (Up to 2m), Large waves (Over 2m)
Launch area:
Sand
Tidal:
yes
Windiest Months:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Nov, Dec

How it measures up

RATED
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Beginner Friendly
Wind quality
Non-kiting activities
Nightlife
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