Oswald Smith South African freestyle kitesurfer competing in a SAKA event

Editor’s Blog: South African Kitesurfing is On Fire

Oswald Smith South African kitesurfer

Kiteworld editor Jim gets high on the positivity of kitesurfing in South Africa


As you may know, the Kiteworld editorial and test team are currently based out in Cape Town compiling our annual gear test reports that go in the mag for the next two issues.

There’s good reason that we come here, and this year has been firing out particularly incredible doses of southeaster wind from the Cape Doctor that we’ve grown to love.

But it’s not just for our own riding pleasure and robust and varied testing conditions that we love it here (though it’s mostly because of that!). The truth is that this place becomes the hub of the kitesurfing industry at this time of year. Last week the winds exceeded 35 knots for several sessions and world records were set for huge airs on the Woo devices. Aaron Hadlow set the new Woo record at a whopping 24.8 metres on a particularly tense day of digital air time warfare between himself and most notably, Kevin Langeree.



As you’ll see below, South African hotshot Oswald Smith would have set a new Woo record with this jump I caught on video at a domestic big air comp ‘Jerry’s Big Air’ that took place on the same day a little further along Kite Beach! South Africa’s star riders like Ozzie competed alongside amateur big wind enthusiasts in a wonderful spectacle in the late afternoon howling winds. Oswald Smith won the pro category with this monster that was measured at 20.7m by Woo.


While Jaws has been firing up the Hawaiian winter, the Cape Doctor has been igniting the Cape Town summer flame, and all those who love strong winds have been getting their fill.

This place is crawling with pro riders, so it would be easy for its beaches to be filled with attitude, but they’re really not. And a large part of that is down to the humble and devoted throng of local kitesurfers who live and ride here all year. The only riders attempting to ride in wakestyle boots are those dedicated to that style who can really make them work. The conditions here mostly call for big air and freeriding and there’s nowhere you’ll see more riders going out and just sending it. It’s what it’s all about.


Cape Town kitesurfer boosting high

Jerry’s Big Air competitor going mahoosive


Issue 79 - 50% discount offer

This video with stunning drone footage over kite beach and featuring stories of the Jerry’s event and the growth of South African kitesurfing is really worth watching:


But no matter how many people descend on this place, the local community is strong and their pure enjoyment of the essence of riding the wind on the water always seems to shine through. There’s little time for posing and procrastinating. There’s riding to be done.

I was on the beach shooting some promos for the upcoming VKSA and managed to catch a few bits of round two the SAKA Summer Series event that happened last weekend, too. The vibe from a new set of very motivated organisers, including Tyrone Rawlins and Luke McGillewie, who have been embedded at the heart of the scene for many years, combined with the kiting desire of the constantly charging locals, makes the SA domestic scene one of the strongest I’ve seen.

(Click an image to open the gallery)

I caught a few clips of World Tour all-rounder in freestyle, waves and slalom Oswald Smith as well as some groms who flow with freedom on their strapless surfboards that inspires certain jealousy. The waves were small, but there’s a stack of talent emerging in these young riders.


Before this month is out the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada Cape Town will have run, possibly a new World Record will have been set and we’ll already be within the Red Bull King of the Air 2016 waiting period.


VKSA Cape Town

You could be part of this amazing Guinness World Record breaking attempt and event. ALL THE SIGN UP DETAILS ARE HERE.

To say that this is an incredible time to be kitesurfing in Cape Town would be an understatement. For all the political and economical problems that South Africa seems to encounter the kitesurfing just continues to get better and better. Shops have reported to us that their lesson numbers are up this season, which is great. The Blouberg suburb may not be the envy of Cape Tonians who live around the very beautiful and hipster Cape to the south of the city, but in our eyes this super windy area offers the real miracle miles.

When you sign up for a print or combo subscription, we will also send you a FREE Kiteworld T-shirt and in March we will also send your our FREE 2016 140+ page Travel Guide supplement, featuring vital information on some of the best kitesurfing holiday destinations on the planet. 

Subscriptions start from just £9 / US$14 / €13 on our digital edition on the slick Zinio platform.

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