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RickI 10-12-2006 11:21 AM

Kiteboarding Guide To Florida
Florida provides rich and varied kiteboarding with over 1350 miles of shoreline to choose from for year round riding. Everything from great waves in strong cold fronts and other powerful weather systems, blue water kiting, epic downwinders as short or as long as you like and a wide selection of butter to rip through. Quite a few notable kiteboarders and famous watermen got their start here such as Lou Waiman, and Flash Austin.

Florida is bounded by the fast moving warm waters of the Gulfstream to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The State is almost 450 miles long north to south, about 365 miles at the widest point tapering down to roughly 50 miles at the narrowest. You can start in the lowlands of Georgia at the state line, head south and end up in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. Orlando and Miami have long been destinations for travelers from around the world. Now, a number of those travelers also want to ride the waters of Florida too. If the wind is on, the riding experience can be epic be it in the swells or ripping across glassy sheltered waters. How about taking your pick of launches in excess of a 1500 square mile area of warm sheltered water? The Florida Keys is that and more. Head up the Gulf coast and explore countless sand bars scattered among many thinly populated areas. You could hit stretches of coast that perhaps have never been kited before. Ponce de Leon explored Florida seeking the Fountain of Youth. He was in the right place for it, just about five centuries too soon to rig up and rip! Today, no problem, just add wind and grab all the windblown gusto the state has to offer.

Some of the stronger wind months aside from hurricanes, often come with fronts in October through May. Some of the best kiting comes in these months to Florida. Cold fronts sweep completely across the entire State and in the process bring winds from one end to the other. Fronts can create rideable winds for hours to a week or more. Winds typically ease off between cold fronts for a day to several days. From May to September thermal winds can setup riding sessions in afternoons at times throughout the State. The thermal winds can be a bit lighter in speed but frequently rideable all the same. Be careful as the thermal winds can sometimes build up to squalls sweeping out from inland or suddenly shut off and even change to offshore winds around sunset.

Tropical systems can bring rideable conditions at times during the summer and fall but they can also frequently bring violent squalls. Just because it is blow’n doesn’t necessarily mean it is worth go’in, so always check the forecasts, color radar and real time winds. Powerful squall lines can be at the leading edge of cold fronts at times. Such squall lines appear in satellite and radar imagery and can be dangerous to kiters. It is best to time your setup to ride until after the line passes over you, often a fairly easy thing to do with Internet weather resources. Always be aware of weather and conditions in your vicinity when you have a kite up.

There launches rideable in winds from any direction in many parts of the state, access to some may involve some driving however. Much of the east coast is rideable with winds from the north to east to south. While much of the west coast is rideable with winds from the north to west to south. The best winds are side to side onshore. Onshore winds have been associated with a high percentage of accidents. Light onshore winds can make getting a safe distance from the shore, bystanders, etc. very hard to where responsible riding may not be on. Winds that pass over land before reaching the riding can be gusty, potentially with substantial lulls to where keeping your kite in the air may be a problem. Launches and riding areas near inlets and cuts may have strong and contrary tidal currents. Typical “rideable” wind directions are identified in this guide for various launches. Those directions with in the stated ranges that provide side to side onshore conditions are usually the best wind directions for those areas.

The riding season is year round thanks in large part to the warm waters of the Florida Current and Gulfstream. Cold fronts can take the air temperature down to 50, 40 and even into the 30’s F range at times. The further north you are, the lower the temperatures can go in a given frontal cycle. Winter water temperatures can vary from the 50’s in the northern part of Florida to the 70’s in the south. In the summer the whole State can get pretty warm to where guys might wear rash guards or just board shorts. In the colder months guys in the south may be in 3/2 wetsuits with riders in the northern parts perhaps in 5/3 wetsuits or better at times. Booties make sense at many launch areas to avoid cuts and if in doubt, put them on.

Sea lice are sometimes a factor for short durations in late spring and early fall in some years. Portuguese Man-O-War can be an issue in the winter months but are fairly easily avoided if you keep your eyes open to windward. Shark are fairly common, we just don’t see them that often. Attacks on kiteboarders have been very rare worldwide to date. Avoid riding near active fish schools, fishermen, inlets, sunset and sunrise, etc. to reduce the odds of a negative encounter.

There are many weather Internet sites that cover Florida, including:

Marine forecasts, radar, satellite images & real time winds:

Historical wind records and real time winds:

Many riders spend a good deal of time on 12 to 16 m C kites with the odd 7 to 9 m session in more powerful winds. For the lighter wind conditions in the summer and between cold fronts some kiters bring out gear in the 16 to 20 m range. The wider latitude of the new hybrid kites allow riders to cover a lot with 12 m to 17 m kites except when the stronger conditions pump through dictating rigging a smaller kite. Rider weight, board size along with actual winds factor into kite size selection of course. Riders can expand their range with a given kite by carrying a couple of boards and 10 m line extensions. Surfboards and skimboards can expand the lower end even more. Want to learn to ride? Be sure to locate a good instructor to line up quality lessons. There are many instructors in Florida to interview and choose from.

Some leads on travel and accommodations appear below.

Air, car and hotels can be found at:

Campgrounds can be found at:

Hotel, restaurant reviews, travel tips and ideas for non-kiting activities appear at:

Where is “this” in relation to “that?” What does this launch look like (from space)?

You generally cannot drive on beaches in South Florida while this is permitted on a limited basis on beaches in parts of Northern Florida. Some require four wheel drive, make this determination before heading on to the beach!

NOTE: Where “Restrictions Apply” appears below means there are kiteboarding guidelines, rules and/or laws are in place governing kiteboarding. Check and local sources for further information. Threats to access effect us ALL, residents and visitors alike. Access to ride is valuable, take care of it wherever you ride. Always research local conditions, precautions and talk to local riders before visiting an area to ride and common sense and simple courtesy when you arrive. As a rule of thumb don’t launch from most guarded beaches, go beyond 100 yards from shore and stay there until time to come in. This includes buoyed swimming areas. Launch, land and ride ideally at least 100 ft. from bystanders and avoid beach jumping. Follow “Rules of the Road” with other kiters and water users but if circumstances indicate, yield the right of way. Avoid crowds and complaints from others through courtesy and common sense. It isn’t hard to do and can assure many years of great riding if we pull it off.

So, let’s take a tour of Florida starting with the less frequented launches in the Northwest part of the State. Only a few of the launches in each area will be presented here due to space limitations. You will find additional sites described on .

1. The Florida Panhandle

(Click the above link for even more local information)

Has a variety of launches on the Gulf of Mexico to the south with waves and chop and calmer conditions on sheltered water inside the barrier islands. The area is famous for vast white sand beaches. The beaches “can” be lightly populated at times and yet crowded at others. It can be hot in the summer and freezing at times in the winter with strong cold fronts. Some shops and instructors include:

Emerald Coast Kiteboarding
Panama City Beach, FL.

XL Kites
Fort Walton Beach

Liquid Surf

Ft. Walton

Okaloosa Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore. Rideable sandy shallows from most wind directions with some waves. Leave the park when closed and before the ranger is forced to ask you. Avoid bystanders and consider launching and landing from the shallows if the shore is crowded.

Panama City

Schooners Beach - Rideable with W to SE winds. Good downwinder launch or landing spot. Can crowded on shore in the summer. Waves can range from 1 to 20 ft. Stay clear of other water users and bystanders on the beach. Bathroom and showers. Schooners is a good stop for food and drinks.

2. Tampa Bay Area

(Click the above link for even more local information)

Has a variety of launches on the Gulf of Mexico with waves/chop and quite a bit of butter inside some of the barrier islands. Crowding at launches will vary from light to heavy throughout the year. Tampa Bay is about a 2 ½ hour drive southwest from Orlando. Checkout Jimmy B’s Beach Bar for food and drinks on St. Pete beach. Some shops and Instructors include:

Watersports West

Tampa Bay Kiteboarding

Ft. Desoto

East Beach – Rideable with NE to W to SW winds. Limited, crowded setup area on shore at times. Fairly calm water area with some shallows. Becomes very shallow at low tide. Camp sites are available with in the Park.

Big Beach – Rideable with NW to W to SW winds. Stay at least 300 ft. from pier, can also have strong currents in the area. Bathroom and showers.

North Beach - Rideable with N to W to SW winds. Calm to choppy water conditions with some shallows. Must be able to stay upwind to the north of the buoyed swim area where no riding is allowed. Bathroom and showers.

3. Southwest Florida

(Click the above link for even more local information)

Has a variety of launches on the Gulf of Mexico on with waves and chop and inside some of the barrier islands. The beaches can be narrow and crowded particularly during tourist season. Avoid crowds! Some shops and Instructors include:

Ace Performer Watersports
Ft. Myers/Sanibel

IslandStyle Watersports

SW Florida Kiteboarding
Naples/Marco Island

Sanibel Island Lighthouse – Rideable with winds from NW to N to E to S to SW. Beach is narrow and can be crowded at times. $6. Toll to get on to Sanibel Island in addition to parking fees. Beginner to Advanced depending on crowding. Bathroom and showers. Checkout the Island Cow on Sanibel for food and drinks.

Naples – Rideable with N to W to S winds. Beaches can be congested particularly in tourist season. Beach may be narrow and setup area limited at times. Avoid crowds and stay well offshore after launch. Beginner to Advanced depending on crowding. Think about Doc’s Beach House in Northern Naples for food and drinks.

Marco Island – Rideable with NNW to W to SSE winds. Open water riding area in Gulf plus limited space within sheltered shallow calm water area. Do not ride in first lagoon or in bird sanctuary. Long walk to riding area. Can be very crowded with kiters in strong N to NW frontal winds. Restrictions apply. Intermediate to Advanced. Try out the Snook Inn for food and drinks after your session.

4. Florida Keys

(Click the above link for even more local information)

The Keys have 100’s of square miles of sheltered riding areas but very few beaches. What few beaches exist are on private property, restricted and/or tight, technical launch areas. Alternate assisted launching and landing techniques in the shallows and boating to sand bars make sense. Be careful of tidal currents and being drawn into or blown out of cuts by current. Kites going into bridges on the water can create very hazardous conditions. In recent years, the Keys seem to have the most consistent winds for the entire State. The air and water temperatures also lead the State, although wetsuits can be welcome at times in the colder months. Some shops and Instructors include:

The KiteHouse
Key West

Key West Kiteboarding
Key West


The Otherside Boardsports Shop
87745 Hwy.1
Islamorada, Fl. 33036

Whale Harbor- Rideable with ENE to E to SSW winds. Calm shallow water riding area. Some hard bottom and sand bars. Designated, regulated launch area, restrictions apply. Should be able to ride upwind given proximity of channel. Intermediate to Advanced. Consider Morada Bay for food and drinks. It is crowded and a bit pricey but good all the same.

Key West
Smathers Beach – Rideable with E to to S to WSW winds. Rare sand beach, sticky peat bottom nearshore with some areas of hard bottom offshore. Can be crowded in season, watchout for the roadway and powerlines. Designated, regulated launch area, restrictions apply. Sometimes put out slider and kicker. Beginner to Advanced depending on crowding. Bathroom and showers. Checkout B.O.’s Fish Wagon for light fare or for a special meal right on Duval hit the Grand Café to be served up in style by Che Paul of TheKitehouse.

Key West Flats – Rideable with winds from ALL directions. Must be reached by boats. Abundant shallow calm water to butter conditions. Be careful when navigating among shallow sand banks and grassbeds. It is a bird sanctuary so don’t annoy the birds or rangers! Beginner to Advanced.

5. Southeast Florida

(Click the above link for even more local information)

Miami Area
(Click the above link for even more local information)

Miami is the most populated area of the state, toping 2.25 Million people. It is also an very popular travel destination from Europe, Central and South America and beyond. With so many people in a limited number of beaches along with what may be the highest number of kiteboarders in the SE USA, congestion and access issues will arise. It is hoped that the Flats of Miami and the emergence of Kiting Sea Taxi’s to these incredible riding grounds away from land will relieve the shoreside stress and introduce riders to a whole new world near this major metropolitan area.

Some Miami shops and Instructors include:

Adventure Sports Miami

The Kitehouse Miami

Big Kite

Miami Kiteboarding


The Kite Shop

Crandon Park – Rideable with NNE to E to S winds. Calm shallow water riding area with some exposed sand bars at low tide. Breakers develop along the reef line about 300 yards offshore. Designated, regulated launch area. Riders must have IKO/PASA Level III cert., helmet, must register, use launch corridor, limited access during summer, etc.. Restrictions apply. $6.50 tolls and entrance fees. Intermediate to Advanced. Bathroom and showers. Sundays on the Bay is good for lite fare as you head off the island.

Matheson Hammock – Rideable with NE to E to SE winds with calm water conditions. Launch and land in shallows away from shore. Posted sign lists launch rules. Jumping beyond white buoys. Sand and soft bottom in areas. $4. Parking fee. Restrictions apply. Intermediate to Advanced. Bathroom and showers.

Flats of Miami - Rideable with winds from ALL directions! Must be reached by boat, be careful navigating shallows and be careful of damaging grass beds within this Federal Monument. Abundant shallow calm water to butter conditions over about 100 sq. miles situated to the south of Miami primarily over grass beds. Beginner to Advanced.

Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale is also a popular tourist destination and populated area. There are access issues here as well. There are no sheltered riding areas to speak of here with all the riding happening in the ocean off fairly narrow, often crowded beaches. Still, it is a happening spot with one of the oldest designated launches in the USA.

Some Ft. Lauderdale shops and Instructors include:

Tiki Beach Kiteboarding

Evolve Watersports (formerly Water-Play)

South Ft. Laud. Beach Launch – Rideable with NNE to E to S winds, moderate waves. Use launch corridor and stay beyond 100 yards (outside swim area buoys) until time to come in. Sand bottom. Stay out of guarded beach areas. Designated, regulated launch area. Restrictions apply. Intermediate to Advanced. Parking next door $6. Bathroom and showers. Kiters sometimes hit the Treasure Trove Bar near the beach.

Pompano Beach

NE 15 St. - – Rideable with NNE to E to S winds, chop inside sand bar, waves further out. Scenic launch south of lighthouse. Stay beyond 100 yards until time to come in. Use launch corridor and stay beyond 100 yards (outside swim area buoys) until time to come in. Sand bottom aside from reef offshore which can be shallow at low tide. Watchout for inlet traffic. Sign is posted with launch rules. Designated, regulated launch area. Restrictions apply. Intermediate to Advanced. Limited metered street parking. Bathroom and showers. Checkout Arubas on the beach for post session fare.

Delray Beach

South Beach Launch – Rideable with NNE to E to S winds. Launch, land and ride to at least 400 ft. south of guarded beach area. Stay at least 100 yards offshore from guarded areas. Nice wave riding with stronger winds. Popular riding spot with sand bottom and nearshore bars. Also popular with surfers, stay downwind or give adequate leeway. Restrictions apply. Beginner to Advanced. Limited metered street parking. Bathroom and showers. Bostons on the Beach is a nearby spot for drinks and food.


Jupiter Kiteboarding, the organizer of the annual Jupiter Kiteboarding Invasion is based here. Beaches can become crowded particularly during tourist season. Some areas of exposed rock exist along the coast. Some good spots for food and drinks are locate on the south bank of Jupiter Inlet. The local shop and school is:

Jupiter Kiteboarding

Juno Kitebeach – Rideable with NNW to E to SSE winds. Stay at least 100 yards north of fishing pier. Very good wave riding in stronger winds. Sand bottom in area of launch. Tides can setup a strong current. Beginner to Advanced. Limited street parking.

Ft. Pierce

The local shop and school is:

Treasure Coast Kiteboarding Center

South Inlet Launch - Rideable with NNW to E to SSE winds. Sheltered calmer water south of south jetty in N to NE winds and north of north jetty in SE winds. Excellent wave riding in several breaker lines particularly in strong N to NE winds. Stay away from fishermen on jetties to avoid being hooked! Sand bottom. Beginner to Advanced. Limited street parking. Riders can hit Archie's Seabreeze Restaurant right next to the local kiteshop.

6. Northeast Florida

(Click the above link for even more local information)

Parts of Northeast Florida have wide areas of the Intracoastal Waterway, miles across particularly around Cocoa Beach. This serves up excellent sheltered water, butter conditions with a bit of gustiness from land wind shadow at times. The great thing about this part of Florida is mainly offshore, in the ocean. Waves can start off Africa and wander clear across the Atlantic just in time to setup a perfect ramp for you to go huge off of. The Bahamian Plateau protects Southeast Florida from these waves but they make it all the way into shore here. It can be a wave riding paradise. You can drive along the shoreline in St. Augustine and swear you are in the Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras. Rolling white sand dunes, stands of sea oats, beach shacks and not a lot of people. This part of Florida can also get some of the stronger frontal winds at times. Some local shops and schools include:

Extreme Kites
St. Augustine

Progressive Sports
(386) 765-7564


Sebastian Inlet State Park

Rideable with NNW to W to S to SE winds. In sheltered Intracoastal Waterway with minimal waves. Stay away from bystanders and cars. Consider doing assisted launches and landings from the shallows. Sand and rock bottom. $5. Entrance fee. Intermediate to Advanced. Bathroom and showers. Grants Pub in Grant, FL is recommended for food and drinks.

Cocoa/Melbourne Beach Area

Ocean rideable with NNE to E to SSE winds. Primarily sand bottom with some rocky areas. Can develop nice swells here. Avoid guarded beaches, crowds and stay at least 300 ft. off the beach when riding. Area is about one hour to the east of Orlando. Inexpensive trolley is available for trips back upwind during downwinders in Cocoa Beach. DO NOT kite within five miles of Patrick Air Force Base, as it has been banned. Beginner to Advanced. Bathroom and showers. DaKine Diego’s is a good stop for food and drinks in Melbourne.

SR 192 Causeway
Rideable with north to northwest winds for riders that can stay upwind. Offers very smooth and glassy conditions from the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway. Intermediate to Advanced. Sand and grassbed bottoms.

St. Augustine
Matanzas State Park
Rideable with winds from NNW to N to E to SE. Free parking and beach vehicle access is available, watch out for high tide and soft sand if driving. Sand bottom with butter conditions near lowtide in flats around inlet and good waves beyond in strong winds. Watchout for adverse tidal currents near inlet, avoid inlet a couple of hours after high tide until about an hour after low tide. Peak tidal currents are strong. Beginner to Advanced. Checkout Barnacle Bill’s Beachside for food and drinks.

Huguenot Memorial Park
Rideable with winds from N to E to S on the ocean which can have excellent surf. In the sheltered “Pond” wind is useable from all directions. Little room for launching on land at high tide around Pond. Becomes very shallow with sticky clay bottom at low tide. Camping is available in the Park. Sand bottom with butter conditions near low tide in flats around inlet and good waves beyond in strong winds. Watchout for adverse tidal currents near inlet. Also popular surfing spot, pass surfers downwind or give them good leeway to windward. Beginner to Advanced. Checkout Captains Cay for chow.

Still additional info can be found on and in the SBC Mag. 2006 guide.

RickI 01-10-2007 01:58 PM

Looking for a rental, particularly in the SE part of Florida? Some ideas follow:

The following may help:,55802-55890

The time you wish to rent is in season, hence the higher monthly rates. Checking the newspaper classified listings for an efficiency you may do better.

RickI 09-20-2007 09:34 AM

The wind season is about to kick off again, time to bring a few posts back to the top.

KiteworldUSA 07-24-2008 09:04 PM

Daytona Beach
Show of hands, many frequenters on this forum in or near Daytona Beach?


RickI 07-25-2008 10:26 AM


Originally Posted by KiteworldUSA (Post 35079)
Show of hands, many frequenters on this forum in or near Daytona Beach?


Not enough on here, maybe you could help some get plugged in. I've seen some regulars south of Daytona on either side of Ponce Inlet.

sydney_111 08-06-2009 08:08 AM

Great overview
Hi Ricki,
great overview.
I am considering coming to Florida for 2 weeks vacation / kitesurfing in November.

Which area would you recommend for an intermediate rider )

I am looking for a school or a place to stay, where I can join a group of riders. Maybe even a hotel or house which has specialised on kiters.

Any idea or recommendation would be nice.

thanks in advance regards

Please excuse spelling or grammar mistakes ....

RickI 08-06-2009 08:31 AM

Most of Florida should start to have rideable winds then with cold fronts hopefully. That is a lot of coastline, about 1200 miles of it. Are you looking for waves, flatwater or ? You mentioned a school, to continue technique development of for someone traveling with you to get into kiting? Are there any on land activities that you're interested in? There is some additional general info at:

sydney_111 08-06-2009 11:04 AM

Hi Rick,
thanks for the quick reply.
I am looking ( mainly ) for flatwater. Small waves are not a problem.
The school would be for me, so i can improve my skills.
Land activities are not so important, as long as i can have a couple of beers in the evening.

Chefmini 08-06-2009 02:57 PM

Syd, If you want flatwater, go down to Miamikiteboarding in Crandon Park. Great flatwater, good instructors, plenty of nitelife.

RickI 08-06-2009 03:47 PM

For flat water in November you might consider the Keys, Islamorada, Key West, might as well do both. There is a lot of information on the area at:

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