Kitesurfing, or kiteboarding, is the newest extreme water sport. It is most popular in the north coast town of Cabarete, the mecca for extreme waters sports in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. The Kite Beach Hotel, “the first kite hotel,” is situated on Kite Beach, the beach that kite experts believe offers the perfect combination of wind and waves for this challenging and exciting sport. Kitersurfing currently attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. The hotel is also home to Kitexite, the country’s most popular kite school run by Stefan Karl Kwther.
Cabarete first became popular with surfers, and then with windsurfers. But, in the 1990’s the coastal village became a regional mecca for kitesurfing.
While in the 1980s and 1990s the nearby ocean was dotted with dozens of colorful surfboards and windsurfers, today the skies over Cabarete are filled with kite flyers.
Most kitesurfing in Cabarete takes places in “Kite Beach.” The beach was given this name in the 1990s by French enthusiasts of the sport who found that the conditions offered by this particular beach were the best in the region. Kite Beach is situated some three miles from Cabarete’s vibrant downtown area, which is also home to many small shops, restaurants, bars and hotels.
The Kite Hotel
At the very center of Kite Beach, visitors will find the Kite Beach Hotel. “This was the first kite hotel in the entire region,“ said Thomas Calender, the facility’s young manager. He also explained that the hotel got its name from the person who introduced this sport to the Dominican Republic.
The Kite Beach Hotel is a modest, but comfortable facility offering 49 one and two bedroom apartments right on the beach. There’s a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, wireless internet and other services. Visitors from all over the world visit the region frequently, always on the lookout for the perfect winds that have made Kite Beach famous.
The hotel caters to all ages, including professionals and business executives, who love and practice this challenging sport.
Kitexcite Kitesurfing School
There are several kite schools operating in Cabarete, but the most popular by far is Kitexcite, situated right on the premises of the Kite Beach Hotel. Its owner and director is Stefan Karl Kwther a film professional who came to Cabarete in 1993 to take a break from his job. He fell in love with the land, the breeze, the ocean and everything else that is Cabarete .
Karl used his experience and created a the professional “Cabarete Windsurfing School.” When kite flying also became popular, he began offering classes in this discipline. Today, thousands have taken classes at the school. A basic training course can be taken in three days but, ideally, the recommended period for training is from 6 to 12 days.
The basic course runs about US$500, or US$100 per day, which includes the use of the necessary equipment.
Karl explained some of the reason why kitesurfing has become so popular, in relation to its sister sports (surfing and windsurfing). According to Karl it is easier to transport the board on airplanes, because it is much smaller than surfboards, and because the sport needs less wind but offers much more excitement and thrills.