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New Kiteboarding Spot Assessment

Posted by Crystal Veness on

New kiteboarding locations can be intimidating. In this Vlog I'll be covering how to assess a new spot, as well as a few important reminders. These tips will be especially helpful if you're traveling to a location like Hood River, OR.

A busy month 

Speaking of the Hood, I've spent the last few weeks wrapping up some work in the Pacific North West. From Seattle to Squamish back down to Hood River. It's been eventful to say the least. Fortunately, I was able to get some time on the water my last day in Squamish.

This was an epic session. Especially since I was riding with athletes like Denham Trollip and Jack Rieder. I have to say, that was pretty inspiring.

After my last session in Squamish, I made the long drive to the Event Site in Hood River, OR. This is actually a fantastic location to discuss a spot assessment. Considering the Columbia River is a far cry from your traditional ocean side sandy beach. The Columbia is a winding river with terrain that varies from grass to sandbars to rocky dessert. 

Spot assessment 

The first thing to consider when you show up to a new location is to assess the wind direction as well as the speed. If you haven't been kiteboarding long enough to know simply by feel, a wind meter is a very useful tool. Just make sure the wind is appropriate for the kites that your brought along. Next, you'll want to look into the wind direction.

Remember wind direction is alway in relation to the shape of the shore. In my case, I'm riding a sand bar in Hood River. You can see how the wind is either onshore, side shore, or offshore depending where you are riding in relation to the sand bar. 

It's important to know what the safe wind directions are. I recently did an entire video on this topic and more! 

Safe riding conditions explained.


The next thing to consider is what obstacles will you encounter in this new location. Hood River can be quite rocky, there are areas with strong currents or inconsistent winds. And the shore isn't always the most forgiving for a stranded kiteboarder. On top of all that, there is barge traffic to watch out for. 

Other locations might have a reef or rocks underwater. You should also be mindful of piers and jetties. In Hood River there is an iconic green bridge. It's best to avoid any and all obstacles. Your number one defense here is talking with the locals. They are going to be in the know. Not only can they point you in the right direction but they could be a potential friend. 

Rygo sets up in a rocky portion of the river

Be respectful 

This leads to my final point, make sure you're not a jerk. What I really mean is be respectful. Kiteboarding is still a small global community. It's on you to be safe, kind and respectful of the beach and to the locals. If you're on a small beach, wrap your lines up as soon as you land your kite. Make sure you ride within your own abilities and don't take chances. 

Kiteboarders are among the friendliest people you will ever meet. From launching and landing each other, to beers on the beach, to the occasional board rescue.  You'll be hard pressed to find such a strong sense of community in the action sport world.Be sure to return the favor.

At the end of the day, I think half the reason I love kiteboarding is all the wonderful people who have enriched my life along this journey. If you're kind, respectful, and always willing to offer a helping hand. I think you'll be surprised at the impact it will have in your life on and off the water. 

Crystal Veness

Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her playground and simultaneously her workplace. Whether that's an impromptu office in the back of a rental car on top of a mountain or a hut on kite beach Cabarete, she is a true embodiment of the work-life balance movement.


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