Mar 20, 2012
Author: SBC Kiteboard magazine
South Padre Island off the coast of south Texas sees a steady flow of kiteboarders from around the globe. The sub tropical barrier island offers a variety of riding conditions for beginners to advanced kiteboarders. It's the perfect place to learn and advance your riding skill, or try out new gear. No matter which way the wind blows, the waist-deep waters of the Laguna Madre stay nice and flat, and the downwinders on the gulf side offer a wide variety of waveriding conditions ranging from sloppy small surf to big side-off perfection.
South Padre Island, Texas
Closest Airport: BRO
Average Kite Size: 10-12m
Best Months: March-July, mid-October-November
Cost Factor: $-$$
Family Friendly: Yes
Naish Camp and Demo: May 3-6, 2012
South Padre Island runs almost straight north to south and is less than a mile wide, so it handles most wind directions well. During the fall, winter and spring months, wind is frontally driven and can range from 12 to 50 mph. The prevailing winds are typically southeast 15-30 mph. When cold fronts pass the winds usually howl for several days out of the north, so don’t forget to pack your small kite. During late spring and summer months the winds are ridiculously steady thermals blowing 20-25 mph every afternoon.
Where to stay
The island is a destination resort with every major motel chain you could name available such as La Quinta, Travelodge, Holiday Inn and Best Western. Wind Water Hotel and Resort is located next to the Air Padre Kiteboard shop.
Wind Water Hotel and Resort
Casa Bella Hotel and Resort
After spending all day riding, drive down Padre Boulevard; you’ll see most of what the island has to offer. Padre Island Brewing Co. and Captain Roy’s are local favourites for dinner. Kohnami for Sush. Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Gril is located right on the beach. Ted’s make the best lunches on the island. For an all-day breakfast fix, search out Manuel’s in Port Isabel and order a breakfast taco con todo, or try Ted’s.
Other tips and things to do
- Mexico is only 30 miles south for shopping, fiestas, lunch and/or dinner.
- Surf or boogie board, ride bikes on the beach, fish inshore or offshore.
- In season, Schlitterbahn Waterpark for big or little kids.
- Wait for the wind, relax into island mode. You won’t have to wait long.
- Check out the local history and marine life.
- Spring Break is in March. But don’t let that scare you. March is still a great time to kite. Breakers, for the most part, are nowhere near the kite beaches. Tip: they seem to be nocturnal anyway.
Wind and surf forecast
The North Flats just outside of town is 500 acres of wide-open tidal flats, sand dunes and smatterings of grass leading to the waist-deep, tranquil waters of the Laguna Madre. The wide-open, uncrowded spaces of this private beach are hard to believe.
And then you have The Ranch, a.k.a. Holly Beach, on the mainland side, which is probably the steadiest winds for flatwater kiting on the planet. For the more adventurous, the Gulf of Mexico offers waveriding and endless downwinders, and plenty of two- to six-foot surf.
Check out this great riding location map from Air Padre Kiteboarding.
View South Padre Island Kitesurfing in a larger map