Kite Surf 101 (Tarifa)

Arriving to Tarifa

Connection from Zurich: ZRH – Malaga: Swiss Airlines

Malaga – Tarifa: Bus: (3x per day) or you can get a car for 100 EUR/week on or similar.

Kite School: (Dominic, experienced & solid, high quality, use their own Bull Kites) (Wladimir, young & cool, awesome vibe, be part of the surfer dudes)

A new guesthouse opened its doors next to the Old Town of Tarifa in Summer 2014:
Tarifa Hostel (Fernando) Fernando is an exceptional host and the guest house incl. kitchen is modern, high-quality and spotlessly clean. The crowd & the vibe there is very cool.  Doesn’t have private rooms.

Arriving at the beach

  • Check for surfing restrictions with other kite surfers
  • ask other kiters for kite size
  • ask for off shore currents
  • Setup Kite downwind

Wind 101

Wind directions

  • Onshore
  • cross onshore (safest) Tarifa: Poniente
  • cross shore (safest) Tarifa: Poniente
  • offshore Tarifa: Levante (no waves)
  • cross offshore Tarifa: (safest) Levante (no waves)

Best conditions for beginners: 12 sqm / 15-25 knots, delta hybrid kite, cross onshore
Stronger Wind: Release trim, if trim is maxed out, get out of the water
Wind gradient: wind is slower in height than closer to land / water

Venturi Effect: Tunneling Effect between Marokko and Spain land masses and mountain massivs: boosts wind up to 35 knots in Tarifa. Only with eastern wind (Levante).

Wind Analytics


Cyclonic wind situation: GFS ( good for wind directions, not so reliable for wind strength
Watch out: windguru uses nautical miles (1.8 km per mile), windfinder kilometers.
Poniente: wind from the west.
Levante: wind from the east


Perturbated areas: 7x height of obstacles downwind, 3x height upwind with obstacles being trees and houses
See breeze: land/water temperature: In Tarifa, sun can heat up mountains quickly, on top of macro can mean stronger onshore wind ( difference more than 10 degrees) needs at least 6 hours of sun, check sand temps below. (WRF)

Prepare a wind briefing:

  • Check cyclons (macros)for wind directions on the web.
  • Check a local model on the web
  • Look out of the window to check for sea breeze conditions (sunny day?)
  • If in doubt get to the beach in any case and decide on the spot!

Tides: Low Tide means lesser shore break, however might increase currents. If you can, have a look at the spot on low tide so you can see obstacles below the water.

Kite Trimming:

  1. Prep: Use different knots. Longer Control Lines and shorter middle lines mean less power.
  2. In Operation: Use trim for middle lines during riding (see above)

Back Stalling: Dont pull, release the bar to get more uplift.

Behaviour on the water

Right of way:

  • Entering surfers: Its more dangerous to fly a kite on the beach than in open water. Least respected right of way, if in doubt launch elsewhere.
  • Collision course: downwind wins again upwind.
  • Collision course: right shoulder wins over left shoulder. left shoulder lowers kite, right one increases height of kite.
  • Same direction, speed difference: faster kiter passes downwind, upwind kiter heightens kite, downwind faster kiter lowers kite.

Water Start

  • Power Zone is between -1 and +2!
  • Stretch front leg to get out of the water and gain sidewards direction and then release a bit to maintain speed and go downwind (100-110 degrees).