After taking a long hard look at what the world of kitesurfing has to offer, you've come to the conclusion that you definitely want a piece of the kite-based action. You can't really put your finger on it but you're now overwhelmed by the urge to get in the water, while attached to the necessary kitesurfing equipment, and use the wind to satisfy your thirst for adrenaline. But, of course, now you need a place to do this. Sure, you could try it in your garden pond but that might end up disturbing/killing a load of domesticated fish (nobody wants that). And so, branching things out so that the question covers a wider area than just your back garden, where exactly are the best places to go kitesurfing in the UK?
From its most northerly tips in Scotland to its overhanging toenails in Cornwall, the UK is bursting at the geographical seams with excellent kitesurfing locations. You might have noticed, if you've looked at a map recently, that the UK is an island. This means the UK has way more coastline than, for example, the landlocked Central European country Hungary. Now that's not intended to do Hungary down, we've got a lot of love for Hungary, it's just stating a difference regarding the availability of coastline that's suitable for kitesurfing.
Factor in strong North Atlantic winds and some first-rate teaching facilities, and you've got yourself a destination in the UK that's effectively tailor-made for kitesurfing. Oh and, while we're at it, Ireland is not too shabby either. Surfers! Grab your kites, and assemble.
There's a reason Poole, in Dorset, is considered to be the UK's capital of water sports. Hint. It's because the kitesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, and windsurfing opportunities in and near Poole are all pretty great. Beginners and intermediates here are able to develop their skills in the harbour's shallow embrace, while those more advanced kitesurfers can push themselves by exploring the challenging seaside swells further out. Those looking for lessons should check in with the Poseidon Kite School.
Clacton On Sea, Essex
Clacton On Sea, not to be mistaken with Eric Clapton - Chartered Account (Leigh On Sea), is an ideal location for those wanting to get to grips with kitesurfing for the first time. Flat waters, sheltered bays, and decent south westerly breezes all combine to make learning in this part of Essex an absolute joy. PUSH Kiting and Zenith Kiting both offer lessons in the area, and should be able to set you in the right direction if you've never done kitesurfing before or are just generally feeling a bit rusty. Essex! Essex! Essex!
Shoreham, West Sussex
The windsurfing and kitesurfing on offer at Shoreham, in West Sussex, is the perfect tonic for people who've earned their stripes and are looking to kick on a bit by hitting up some spots with more advanced conditions. The fact that this is a popular location for some of the UK's best windsurfers and kitesurfers should tell you all you need to know about the type of action of offer. Those looking for lessons should have a word with the Kite Surf Kings.
Gwithian Beach, Cornwall
With its north west-facing beach, Gwithian absorbs some of the Atlantic's best and most enjoyable swells. Those looking to learn kitesurfing, or windsurfing, in this beautiful part of Cornwall could check in with the well-reviewed Pasty Adventures Kitesurf School. When you're not kitesurfing here, feel free to eat your own bodyweight in Cornish fudge.
This corner of Wales is a don't-touch-without-oven-gloves hotspot for some of the UK's finest windsurfing and kitesurfing talent. Nice scenery aside, this is primarily because of the consistently superb winds in the area. If your kite had a face, one day here would be enough to have it smiling from now until the end of eternity. Lesson-seekers should make contact with local shop and tuition centre FunSport. Rookies should be aware that the entry-level lessons only take place when conditions are suitably calm.
Isle of Tiree, Hebrides
Situated on the west coast of Scotland, just north of Glasgow, the Isle of Tiree is a place of pilgrimage for those looking to go windsurfing and/or kitesurfing in the UK. Believe it or not, but this small Scottish island (the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides) records some of the highest levels of sunshine of any place in the UK. Its unique geographical location means it benefits massively from the Gulf Stream. Wild Diamond are the local experts in everything wind and kite-based, so give them a shout if you're in need of lessons.
Brandon Bay, County Kerry
Not only is the kitesurfing on offer in Brandon Bay some of the finest in Ireland, it's also some of the finest you'll find anywhere in the world. The big bay catches swell like a top level wicketkeeper in cricket catches outside edges (with unerring consistency). Storms coming in from the Atlantic usually make this place their first port of call, meaning waves the size of a double-decker buses are not unheard of in these parts. If you're keen to learn kitesurfing but are still a bit green behind the ears, the huge variety of conditions thrown up by Brandon Bay means that flat waters ideal for novices do occur, and can be found. Hook yourself up with Kitesurf Ireland, if you're in the area and want some lessons.
Southend On Sea, Essex
When you think of Southend, you probably don't immediately think of kitesurfing. You might think of the world's longest pleasure pier, or Adventure Island (aka "The UK's number one free admission fun park"), or the hilariously small "London" airport that's equivalent in size to a box of matchsticks. But, kitesurfing?! Nah, surely not. Kitesurfing down in Southend, however, is becoming increasingly popular on the water sports scene. Low tides in Chalkwell (Southend) expose the Ray, a protected lagoon that offers the dream combination of perfectly horizontal water and powerful estuary winds. Contact Southend Kitesurfing for tuition.
Hayling Island, Hampshire
The sea front down at Hayling Island, in Hampshire, serves up the type of kitesurfing conditions ideal for those in the intermediate and advanced brackets. Bearded billionaire Sir Richard Branson, pictured above, has been known to enjoy himself in these parts. For those seeking lessons and useful advice on kitesurfing, talk to Hampshire Kitesurfing.
Portland Harbour, Dorset
Portland Harbour, in Dorset, is another kitesurfing location where sheltered waters combine with strong winds in the most fun ways imaginable. Beginners and intermediates looking to improve are well catered for, and the flat water here means anyone with a need for speed should love what this place has to offer. If it's lessons and advice that you're after, the Paracademy Extreme Sports Centre will sort you out.