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Kiteboarding, the next phenomenon
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Vic Albornoz Lactaoen
Date: 2008-01-12
Though diving, trekking and biking attract most adventure travelers to the Philippines, kiteboarding gives a fresh perspective on the island life.

Aside from the thrill of speed and altitude, it also provides a novel way to take in the fabulous views especially of Boracay where the 1st Russian Kiteboarding and Windsurfing Camp was held.

This was exactly what travel journalists together with leading Russian journalists, tourists from Moscow and Vladivostok (the nearest Russian province to the Philippines) and sports enthusiasts were given a taste of.

Kiteboarding destination

Assistant Secretary of Tourism for Sports and Wellness Cynthia Carrion said "that the Philippines is the kind of destination that kiteboarders should discover and dream about. When the northeast monsoon – called the ‘amihan’ blows in, it brings clear blue skies, warm weather and steady winds."

Although there was no wind on the first day of the competition, nature was kind enough to give the necessary wind knots the following day. All through the island, the amihan rustled the coconut palm trees, lining Boracay’s world famous white sand beach and created small white caps on the crystal clear waters of Bulabog where the exhibition and competition were held.

If your idea of kiteboarding is to hook in, sheet in and plane effortlessly along a spectacular coastline, you can’t do much better than the top kiteboard sailing areas of Boracay. Add to that the number of those areas that lie aplenty of world–class resorts like the new garden wing of the Boracay Regency, a luxurious resort and convention center, to the extremely affordable choices of other accommodation nearby, lively nightlife and easy access to the island. All these make Boracay a prime kiteboarding holiday destination for Europeans and in this case the vast and growing Russian tourist market.

"Although the sport is still in its infancy stage here, the island is already well set up for kiteboarding enthusiasts and more are on the way in other parts of the country. There is also a small but thriving local kiteboarding scene and perhaps one of the best amateur kiteboarding events in the region," said Carrion.

There is still a time of growth for boardsailing in the country and the sport is relatively small.

Learning the sport

Kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing, involves using a power kite to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard. A kiteboarder or kitesurfer uses a board with foot–straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel himself and the board across the water.

It also struck this writer that kiteboarding conditions are dictated by the monsoons. The northeast monsoon, although not as steady as the famous trade winds of the open ocean, nevertheless brings superb sailing conditions to much of this side of the region. Because the winds are the result of high pressure systems, they are cyclical. The wind increases in strength as the system approaches and drops off as the system moves away.

Here in Boracay, kiteboarders are assured of regular windy days of the week, sometimes it will blow constantly for weeks. The southwest monsoon, called the habagat, brings light fluctuating breezes and rain. Throughout most of the islands, there’s little in the way of good conditions. Typhoons, provided they don’t pass too close, can bring stiff breezes, though these conditions are often gusty and short–lived.

Kiteboarders here are also trying to localize the sport. From wakeboarding which has made Camarines Sur a favorite destination, the Department of Tourism is now bent on popularizing this active sport in Boracay.

As the competition came to an end, the attitude became common as in all kiteboarding venues and gatherings after the event – you can come alone as a stranger or an outsider and still have the time of your life especially here in Boracay.

The first Russian kiteboarding and wind surfing camp had all the heady mix of a great amateur kiteboarding exhibition and prelude to a bigger and promising competition event especially on one of Asia’s most beautiful resort islands.

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