By: Raul Garcia
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — For decades, kiteboarders have been surfing the flats of the Laguna Madre and having a blast doing it all year round.
Now, the Island has been listed as one of the “World’s Greatest Kiteboarding Spots” by National Geographic.
Based on exceptional year-round weather conditions and active bayside waters, the Island was included as one of the 13 best destinations worldwide, and one of only five in the United States.
The Island’s subtropical temperatures and consistent winds averaging 18 mph make South Padre Island an ideal setting for year-round kiteboarding.
Marylis Lacroix Samson knows all about it.
She kiteboards and teaches kiteboarding on the south flats of the Island daily with Prokite Lessons.
She has been seen by many maneuvering her kite that is flying 30 to 50 feet in the air, harnessing the wind to speed through the swath of the shallow flats and boosting her into the air as she surfs the bay.
Kiteboarders use the wind to pull them on the board while edging over the surface of the water.
On a really windy day on the Island, kiteboarders can travel at speeds of 20 mph and can easily boost 20 feet into the air with no problem.
“It’s fantastic and I love it,” said Pierre Frumholtz, 54, from France, who commented in an interview about kiteboarding on the Island last year.
Frumholtz said the Island is a great place for kiteboarding because it’s an activity people can enjoy all day and gives people the sense of flying and walking on water.
According to a release, the National Geographic story notes March through June as prime months for the sport.
South Padre Island is home to several locally-owned vendors, such as Prokite and SPI Kiteboarding, which offers rentals, lessons and more for boarders of all skill levels.
Prokite Coach Brett Newcomb has said that the waters of the Laguna Madre bay area are an ideal training for beginners while also offering great conditions for intermediate adventures.
More experienced kiteboarders can find plenty of challenges off the Island’s eastern shore in the Gulf of Mexico, easily accessed from the jetties at the southern end of the Island.
“We’re honored to be named one of the world’s greatest kiteboarding destinations, as we pride ourselves on year-round, outdoor attractions for leisure travelers of all ages,” said Keith Arnold, South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau director.
“With moderate weather, challenging waters and a variety of family-friendly attractions on the Island, we welcome visitors to experience all that makes the Island unique, including premiere water sports.”