- Wind – direction, speed and effects
- Sea – tides and currents
- Weather forecasts
- Beach guide
- Kite set up
- Launching and landing
- Kite flying
- Rules of the road
- Equipment care
- Special offers and discounts
Never go kitesurfing if the wind is even pointing slightly offshore.
Onshore, cross-on and cross shore are all safe usable wind directions. We are lucky to be able to use both Camber and Greatstone for kitesurfing, allowing us to go out in a huge range of wind directions. Scroll down for beach information
10-25mph when first starting out. The size of the kite and your weight denotes the strength of the winds you can use. As an example, a 75kg beginner will use a 12m kite in 10-18mph, 9m in 16-22 and a 7m in 22+
Wind blowing onshore over the sea will be nice and smooth as there are no obstacles in it’s way. When inland or during offshore winds you will feel the wind is gusty and often changes direction. This is due to the wind travelling over, under, though and around objects, disturbing it and therefore it becomes far less smooth. You will not be kitesurfing in offshore winds anyway but may find in cross shore winds that they have come over a nearby headland or buildings making them a little gusty. If you are flying your kite inland, move a minimum of 7 times the height of the object downwind or 3 times the height of the object upwind for smoother wind, the further the better.
Spring tides have a large range; high high tides and low low tides they fall on a full or new moon. Neap tides have a small range; low high tides and high low tides and occur when there are half moons. There are 6 hours between high and low tide. At Camber we cannot use the beach 2.5 hours either side of high tide, 3 hours if it is a spring tide. Greatstone can be used at any tide state apart from an hour either side of spring high tide as there is little beach to set up and launch on.
View the tides in our ‘Weather and tide’ button in the footer at the bottom of the website
All beaches have a long shore drift current that is exaggerated at high tide due to the larger volume of water, on the south coast this runs from west to east. At both Camber and Greatstone this is very weak as the water is so shallow. The tides can produce strong currents when the water is rising and falling, in and out of a harbour or large river mouth. The middle two hours of the tidal movement (6 hours from high to low or low to high, so the 3rd and 4th hours) will produce the strongest currents as half the total amount of water is moving during this time. At low tide the currents are usually weakest due to the smaller volume of water on the beach.
Live weather & forecast – We have a live weather feed and forecast in the footer of this website, scroll down to the image at the bottom of the page and click on it
Weather forecasting is very difficult and no data is accurate until a day or two in advance. The forecasts do show a week ahead but you will find this will change around a lot until much closer to the time.
Remember to check if it is going to be hot and sunny as this will produce a thermal sea breeze affect and there will be stronger wind than is forecast, often a 10mph forecast will be 20-25mph on the beach.
Local Beach guide
Avoid using the beach 2.5-3 hours around high tide due to the groynes, steep bank and little beach space. Low tide is shallow, spacious and sandy.
Kitesurfing and other kite sports are restricted to the ‘kite zone’ which is at in the Broomhill carpark where our centre is located. As you are looking out to sea from our centre there is a ‘kite zone’ flag about 100m to your right (west), stay within this area. About ½ mile to the left (east) the MOD range starts, if they are flying red flags it means they are firing life rounds, do not pass these red flags for obvious reasons.
Apart from high tide the only other major danger is the ship wreck which is located out to sea at the eastern end of the car park, opposite the stream outlet, this is easily visible at low tide so keep well clear.
On a busy day the central area of the kite zone right opposite our centre is often the busiest, we suggest going to the east end, the other side of the ship wreck, it is usually much less busy there and the conditions are great that end of the beach with a perfect flat section of sea.
Usable wind directions:
W – cross shore, sometimes gusty as it comes over the hills towards Fairlight
SW – cross onshore, the prevailing (most common) wind, clean and no gusts occurs during low pressure weather systems
S – onshore, clean
SE – cross onshore – not very common
Any tide state is safe apart from 1 hour around a spring high due to no beach space to set up and launch. Tidal range is huge, spring low tide is about 1km away so you may want to catch the tide on the way in or out to avoid the long walk. Neap tides are great as low tide is only 500m out and high tide does not cover the first sand bank leaving plenty of space to let up and launch. There are no restrictions at Greatstone but most people use the Romney Tavern carpark or tarmac car park with the toilet block. The flat beach is amazing for learning as it is shallow for as far as you can walk out and the waves are very small. There are no currents to worry about unless you end up very close to the peninsular at Dungeness where the tide rips around the point, this is a few miles from the car parks but be especially careful on a N or NE wind as they will take you towards Dungeness.
Usable wind directions
N – crossshore, sometimes gusty as it travels over the hills to the north.
NE – cross on, 2nd most common wind direction, occurs during high pressure weather
E – onshore
SE – cross on
S – cross
1.Unpack your kite and lay it on the floor with one wingtip facing into the wind. Put weight (sand, stones in a kite bag or board with fins facing upwards) ONLY on the upwind wingtip.
2. If you do not have a one pump inflation system now pump up all of the struts.
3. Attach your pump leash and pump up the leading edge, as the kite starts to curve up, hold the kite by the centre of the leading edge and walk it around so your back is facing the wind. Now pump it up until it is hard.
4. Once the kite is fully inflated keep hold of it by the leading edge, detatch the pump and turn the kite over so that the centre strut is facing the wind.
5. Put some weight on the kite near the centre strut, either sand, stones in the kite bag or the board with fins facing upwards.
6. Bar and lines – take the line ends and place them inside the kite, now walk downwind as you unwrap the lines.
7. Place the bar with red on the right.
8. Take the two outside(back) lines and walk through them towards the kite, removing any tangles. Place them out wide away from the centre lines.
9. Walk back to the bar and do the same with the centre (front) lines.
10. Attach the lines, front (centre lines) first then back (outside) lines. Front lines go to the main bridle in the middle of the kite, the back lines go to the bridle on the wingtip.
11. Walk back to the bar and hold up each line one by one to make sure everything is connected and tangle free.
Launching and landing
Firstly clip your leash to the safety ring on the bar, make sure the red quick release end of the leash is attached to your harness. Next attach the chicken loop to the metal spreader bar hook on your harness.
Always launch your kite with plenty of space around you, especially downwind. At Camber do not launch on the stones, take your kite onto the sand or to the sea, well away from the groynes and others.
Ask somebody to hold your kite by the leading edge. Walk around them and into the wind with the lines tight until the kite is at 3 or 9 o clock and starting to fill with wind. At this point the launcher should lift the kite off the floor so that it is hovering. The canopy should now become tight and you will feel it starting to pull. If it all looks ok with no line or bridle tangles, give a big thumbs up to the launcher and gently steer the kite up towards 12 o clock.
Walk to the sea keeping the kite steady just to the side of 12 in the direction you are travelling. eg if you are walking left, keep the kite at 11, it is more stable here and also pulling you in the direction you are walking.
Most kitesurfing accidents occur during launching so be very careful to check your kit is set up properly, you have assessed the wind strength and direction, chosen the appropriate kite size (see below) and have a full understanding of the current wind window.
Ask some to land you, if you are are walking in, tap your head, this is the sign for ‘I would like a land’
Bring the kite gently down the edge of the wind to 3 or 9 o clock. The person landing should approach the kite from upwind and catch the kite by the leading edge.
Once the lander has your kite in their hands, walk towards them to take the tension off the lines. Walk over to them, turn your kite over using the leading edge and put some weight on it.
Landing is almost the exact opposite of launching.
Red on the left!
When you pull the bar in you are tightening the back lines which is pulling the kite down into the wind, this creates more power. As the back lines are tight the steering is also responsive so make sure the bar is close when you want the kite to turn quickly.
Pushing the bar away makes the back lines slacker, killing the power and your steering.
In light winds or when underpowered, keeping the bar in close can cause the kite to back stall especially towards the edge of the wind or during re-launch. If you see the kite falling backwards(trailng edge first) it is stalling so push the bar out to start it flying forwards again. Once it is flying forwards you can pull the bar back in to regain steering control.
Rules of the road:
When passing, the upwind rider gives way to the downwind rider by raising their kite to allow the downwind rider to pass underneath. The downwind rider must also lower their kite for safe passing
- The starboard tack rider (right leg leading) has right of way over the port tack rider(left leg leading)
- Always look behind you before starting any manoeuvre or turn
- You must give way to riders entering the water
- Maintain a downwind buffer zone when jumping and performing tricks
Since 2005 kites have developed massively giving increased ease of use and safety. Pre 2005 the only kites available were the ‘C’ shaped kites which have a very curved outline and square wingtips.
In 2005 the Bow kites were introduced to the kitesurfing market and completely revolutionised the sport bringing huge depower and easy water re-launch. The swept back wingtip and bridle means the front lines are effectively attached right up the leading edge, far above the rear line attachment. This gives a very high pivot point which allows the kite to tip all the way forwards and spill the wind out of the back, completely reducing the power. The front and back lines on the C kites are at the same level which does not allow the kite to pivot very much and so the power can only be reduced a small amount when the bar is pushed out. The square wingtips of the C kites produces a flat leading edge which touches all the way along when crashed and due to the water surface tension makes re-launch very hard. The swept back wingtip shape on the bow kites eliminates this problem as only a small section of the leading edge is in contact with the water and the curved wingtips allow the kite to swing round and lift off the water easily. The bow kites brought these two great characteristics but they were horrible to fly, slow and very unstable…so the hybrid or SLE(supported leading edge) kites were invented and arrived in 2006.
The hybrid kites have the best of both the C and bow, they have the large depower and easy re-launch of the bow but the fast turning, stability and performance of the C kites. 90% of the kites available on the market now are hybrids with some which are more beginner/intermediate orientated and others with more performance and less ease of use.
Hybrid kites aimed at beginner/intermediate riders or classed as ‘allround’ / ‘freeride’ are the ones to go for. If you are looking at second hand don’t go for anything more than 4 years old as anything older will usually have had a lot of use and so will no longer be as strong and more likely to break. Also over the last few years the kites have really become very good with fantastic stability, turning speed, water re-launch, efficiency, build quality and much better safety releases on the bars.
There is a huge range of kite sizes available which allow you to cover different wind strengths and rider weights. Most kitesurfers have 2 or 3 kites to allow them to go out in all winds but most start with one kite, in this case it is best to choose the middle or larger size so that you can practice in the best conditions, 12-20mph. When picking a range of kites a 2m gap between sizes is good on smaller sizes and a 2 or 3m gap between larger sizes as it is a similar percentage difference. eg a good 3 kite quiver for an average weight person is 7, 9 and 12m.
Size of kite if buying 1:
7-9 stone: 8/9m
10-11 stone: 9/10m
12-14+ stone: 11-13m
Size of kites if buying 2:
7-9 stone: 6/7 & 9/10/11m
10-11 stone: 8/9 & 11/12m
12-14+ stone: 9 & 12/13m
Size of kites if buying 3:
7-9 stone: 5/6, 7/8/9m and 10/11m
10-11 stone: 6/7, 8/9 & 11/12m
12-14+ stone: 7/8, 9/10 & 13/14m
Some excellent examples of suitable allround kites are:
Performance all round kites which can be used by enthusiastic beginners:
There is a many features that go into kite boards but the most important is the length and width. Kitesurfing relies on the surface area of the board as you are constantly on the plan, skimming across the surface. The larger the surface area, the easier and longer the board will stay on the plane. The width of the board make a much bigger difference to the overall surface area than the length, if you add 1cm to the length the difference is extremely minimal, 1cm extra on the width makes the board much more efficient and will get up and riding easier and glide for longer with less power from the kite.
Other features that affect a board are:
Shape – The squarer the shape the more surface area there is at the tips, this makes the board more efficient. If the board has a more rounded shape it it better at carving
Rocker – The rocker is how curved a board is, more rocker gives the board a smooth ride and soft landings but as it sits lower in the water this produces more drag so it is less efficient.
Base contours – There are many base shapes that can be put into the base of the board,
Flex – More flex absorbs the chop and gives the board a smooth ride, stiff flex allows better edging potential giving more pop, upwind ability and light wind performance.
Rail – A rounder rail is more forgiving and smoother when carving, a sharper rail bites into the water more so it can be edged harder and is better upwind.
These features are all combined into a boards design to give it the specific desired characteristics.
A good first board will be easy to use, efficient and comfortable. The size that you will need depends on your weight, you can go to the shorter end of the size range if it is wide.
7-11 stone: 134-136 x 41-42cm
11-14 stone: 136-142 x 41-43cm
+14 stone: 140-146 x 43-45cm
It is ok to use an intermediate/advanced freeride board for your first kitesurf board as many of them are efficient so will get up and riding easily and plane well. They might not be quite as forgiving or comfortable to ride as a beginner board but will offer more performance to grow into once you start to ride faster and go for jumps and tricks.
Some perfect examples are:
There are two types of harnesses, seat and waist. Seat harnesses have leg straps which keep them securely in position and stop them spinning or move up your body. Waist harnesses do not have leg straps which allows more manoeuverability. Harnesses come in all shapes and sizes and its is a good idea to try them on in a shop to find one that fits your body well, this is particularly important with waist harnesses.
For an all year wetsuit in the UK a full length 5mm is best as it will be warm during the colder months in the Spring and Autumn. Wetsuits have come a long way in recent years and the 5mm thick wetsuits are now as stretchy as much thinner summer suits. With wetsuits you really do pay for what you get, the more you spend the warmer and stretchier the neoprene will be and the suit will have features such as fleece lining, woolly quick dry lining, liquid or taped seams and slick skin seals.
There are two types of entry system, back or front zip. Front/chest zips offer more manouverability as they can stretch more across the back panel but are harder to put on and take off. Back zips are much easier to put on and have an overhead back up panel behind the zip to help keep the water out.
Wetsuits are constructed with single and double lined neoprene. Double lined is the ‘normal’ neoprene which has the cloth lining on both the inside and outside. Singled lined is the smooth skin neoprene found on the chest and back panels of most suits, this is named due to just having cloth lining on the inside. The benefit of single lined neoprene is that it does not absorb any water on the surface, it simply runs off, this means that no heat is lost from the evaporation of the water from the surface and as such it is warmer, especially when it is windy as this increases the speed of evaporation. The downside of singled lined neoprene is that it is not as durable as double lined and so it is not usually used on the lower body of the suit.
Top suits also use a special 3 layer honeycomb mesh neoprene called Isoprene or Technobutter Air, the middle layer of honeycomb mesh holds a large amount of air, creating even better insulation and is seriously warm. It is often used in chest/back panels and sometimes throughout more of the suit in very high end models.
All winter suits are have GBS seams (Glued and blind stitched) this means they are only stitched on the surface so that the needle holes do not go all the at through the material. Added to this, suits can have liquid seams which is a rubber coated over the stitching to keep them totally watertight, suits such as the Oneill Psychofreak are not stitched but glued and then liquid sealed inside and out. The top Mystic suits have interior taped seams which uses a neoprene tape to cover the seam and offer full stretch.
A wetsuit needs to fit perfectly, if it is too tight your movement will be limited, if it is too large water will flush through the suit making you cold. We strongly advise that you try a wetsuit on in a shop to find the perfect fit for you.
Here are a few examples with a simple break down of their features:
Mystic Legend 5/3: 100% stretch, Isoprene chest, lightweight, stretch taped seams, quick dry woolly fleece lined, chest zip, single lined chest.
Oneill Psychofreak 5/4: 100% stretch, Air chest, very lightweight & quickdry, liquid seams, fleece lined, back zip or front zip, single lined chest/back
Mystic Majestic 5/3: 100% stretch, Isoprene chest, lightweight, stretch taped seams, fleece lined, front or back zip, singled lined chest/back
Mystic Drip 5/4: 100% stretch, chest zip, single lined chest/back with fleece lining, bright colours & prints
O’neill O’riginal 5/4: 100% stretch, chestzip, single lined chest/back with fleece lining, taped seams
Mystic Star 5/4: 100% stretch on torso, back zip, single lined chest/back with fleece lining
Wash your wetsuit, harness and other accessories after every use in fresh water or even better with wetsuit shampoo to remove the salt, dirt and bacteria.
The board does not require much care but it can be washed down to remove salt from the straps and metal fixings.
Do not put stones or a board with fins pointing down on a kite as they will make holes in the canopy which will be weak points and cause the kite to tear when crashed. If setting up on stones do not put too much weight in one place as the inside of the canopy will touch the stones and be damaged.
Do not leave a kite inflated on the beach for a lengthy period of time, the canopy will flap in the wind, seriously weakening the fabric and hugely reducing the life of your kite. Just 10 minutes of flapping on a windy day can make a brand new canopy look 6 months old. Either pack the kite up or weigh the trailing edge down with lots of weight to stop it flapping.
You can wash a kite after a session with fresh water to remove the salt and dirt but it must be completely dry before being packed away to stop mould growth. The other option is to just dry it out and brush clean.
Check the pulleys on the bridle are not clogged with sand and run smoothly, also keep an eye on the section of bridle that runs through the pulley to make sure it has not worn out.
Bar and lines
Wash after every use to keep them free from salt and prolong their life. Check the depower rope and any other line that runs through the bar hole as they will wear out over time.
If you are going to continue the sport by yourself it is a very good idea to have 3rd party liability insurance. The BKSA (British Kitesurfing Association) offer this insurance as part of their membership which is only £36 for the year.
We really appreciate feedback about your experiences with us as we are always striving to improve.
There are a number of places where you can leave a review:
News, Special offers & discounts
We want you to continue the sport using good quality equipment and love to help you with an ideal set up. We can offer great prices on equipment and have put together some package deals with suitable equipment which is well made and great to use. Please take a look at the equipment package deals on our online shop and also on this pdf.
These are package ideas, everything can be mixed and matched if you fancy a different set up.
Please take a look at our used and ex demo equipment for sale if you are interested in a cheaper option
Day 1 recap videos
Day 2 recap videos:
More advanced techniques:
Very interesting trailer for a movie about the history of kitesurfing which showcases all the aspects of the sport, well worth a watch:
Full length film here