14 Jun 2017

Kitesurf spot guide – Atins, Brazil

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This is a guest post by Atins.me. Thanks for the info guys, this place looks amazing!

One of the best Flatwater Kiteboarding spots in the world. For pros and beginners, Atins offers ocean waves, a variety of flat water lagoons, and wide, empty beach fronts at steady cross/onshore winds of 15-30 knots.

 

Kite spot summary

Why Kite in Atins One of the best Flatwater Kiteboarding spots in the world.
Kite season: Juli – January, with strongest winds without fail: October – December
Wind: 15-30 knots, sideshore (always)
Kite sizes: Mostly 7 – 9, sometimes 12
Weather: Shorts and wetshirt
Freestyle Kite: Huge river delta/flatwater spot
Kitesurfing Wave: Exit the delta and you’ll have waves, albeit a little choppy and white-waterish
Kite Beginners Perfect to learn in the lagoon close to the beach
Kite services: There are various small schools and centres, some also rent and repair. Trips can be organised. Bear in mind it’s a small place of the trodden path, so infrastructure is limited.
Kite trips: Downwinder arriving in Atins, downwinder to along the beaches of the Lençóis Maranhenses (spectacular dunes)
Kite Hotels: Plenty of pousadas, some of which are specialised in Kiters. For preservation purposes nothing directly on the beach (yet).
Get there: Closest domestic airports are São Luís (SLZ) and Parnaíba (PHB), international is Fortaleza (FOR). From SLZ it’s 4 ½ hours by car/bus/van to Barreirinhas and from there another hour by boat. Atins is the final destination for the amazing and ever more  popular downwinder from Jericoacoar, as well as of the touristic route “Rota das Emoções”.  
Kitesurfers Night: Unlike Jericoacoara Atins does not have much in the way of night life to offer. Here, you unplug, kick back, relax.

Wind in Kite area

Thanks to the trade winds Brazil’s entire Northeast coast is as safe a bet as it gets when it comes to constant winds. From July to December you’re guaranteed to kite, October and November see the strongest  winds of up to 30 knots. The wind is a constant cross / on-shore to the beach.

Gear

Bearing in mind Atins is well off the beaten path, there are a few schools, some of which also rent, sell and repair equipment. There’s also always someone around interested in buying some equipment. Some pousadas such Convento Arcádua offer distinct facilities to wash, dry and store your equipment. The Bar.co by the beach also offers storage.

Beginners

The best time for beginners is low-tide launching right on the main beach. The lagoon is superflat and the bottom is sandy (no rocks). There are a few schools that give classes.

Trips

Kite schools in Atins offer custom downwinders along the extensive beaches of the Lençóis Maranhenses. Kiting inside the parque and the dunes is under intense scrutiny by the Nature Reserve Organization (IBAMA).  

Hotels for kitesurfers

Convento Arcádia

Peaceful refuge, 100m from the beach. Great for chillaxing, kitesurfing and exploring the dunes and lagoons of the Lençóis Maranhenses!

Your host, Carmen, will welcome you to the Convento Arcádia set in half a hectare full of coconut palms, a grove of cashew trees, and carved into the bend of a sand dune. In less than 100m you will find yourselves at the beach or in the nearest restaurant.

We carefully developed the architecture of the Convento Arcádia in harmony with its surroundings to provide for a unique and cosy atmosphere. Its outdoors kitchen is designed for dinner parties to the sound of the sea and the wind, large verandas provide ample shaded space to relax and kick back with a good read in one of the many hammocks. For Kiters the Convento offers purpose-built facilities to wash and store your equipment. And if you’re into Yoga there’s a fully equipped open-air studio inclusive mats, blocks and belts.

The main house offers three rooms, two doubles and one large suite with a double and two single beds, and sleeps a total of eight people. We also rent these rooms individually. In addition, we offer three chalets each with its large private veranda. The chalets come with a large double and two single beds.

All rooms come with ensuite baths and are tastefully arranged and decorated. Breakfast will be served on the main house’s veranda and rooms are cleaned on a daily basis. The kitchen is ready for you to prepare meals at your own convenience, just be prepared to bring some essentials from Barreirinhas or São Luís the choice of groceries in Atins is very basic. Of course, Carmen will provide tips on where to buy the freshest fish, and the like. Upon request we can also arrange meals to be prepared for you in the house.

 

Travel info

The nearest major domestic airport to Atins and the Lençóis Maranhenses is São Luís (SLZ). The closest international airports are in Fortaleza (FOR), Belem (BEL) or Natal (NAT), from where you can fly on to São Luís. Many domestic or international flights might also be routed via the capital Brasília (BSB).

SLZ is serviced by the following airlines:

– Azul
– GOL
– TAM

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is quite extensive and has no access roads. Because of the nature of the park’s protected status, only especially licensed vehicles are permitted access. Entrance to the park is made exclusively by 4-wheel drive trucks.

When planning your trip to Atins some thinking ahead might be sensible. The schedules of the means of transport for the various sections are not fully aligned and you might experience some unwanted down-time in Barreirinhas when missing the connecting 4-wheel truck or boat. Check out http://www.atins.me/travel/ for detailed and up to date info on the various means of transportation.

Atins itself is a little spread-out, so for Kiters it may be worthwhile choosing a Pousada close to the beach for convenience. Transport in the village is generally on foot, or you can call a Quad Taxi.

Need to know

Other useful tips and information can be found on http://www.atins.me/read-this/. Most importantly: Do bring cash, card payment is still not accepted in many places!

Costs

Atins is a little pricier than other places closer to say Fortaleza, mainly due to the added cost of logistics. Accommodation for example can range from R$ 50 to R$ 1.000 per night.    

Booking.com
20 Oct 2014

Spot review: The ultimate guide to kitesurfing in El Gouna, Egypt in October

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Dates: October 4 – 10, 2014

Egypt is one of the best autumn and winter kite surf destination if you’re living in Northern Europe and in the following post I explain why. The British summer had been one of the weakest in many years wind wise so we decided to take a one week long holiday where we could find wind and sun in October.

Why we chose Egypt for kitesurfing

There were Fuerte Ventura and Cap Verde, but they’re not great for beginners and we wanted a safe, shallow water spot for Asia to take lessons. There were Dahkla in Morocco but getting there was too much of a fuss and tickets too expensive. Then there was Tarifa which we had visited earlier this year which probably would provide wind but again, it’s not that beginner friendly and it wouldn’t provide the sun and warm water we were craving. And there was Egypt. I’ve been there before but the lack of a rich fauna and ‘real’ culture in the resort areas make it less of a favourite destination (I don’t dive but if you do this might make it more attractive).

Having said that it ticked all the other boxes:

  • Shallow water
  • Established kitesurf schools
  • Warm air and water temperatures all year around
  • Cheap direct flights from London
  • Wind all year around – especially April to October

It’s hard to argue with that.

So Egypt it was. Next step was to decide on which spot to go for. For package deal tourists, which was the cheapest way to travel, there are basically four resorts to choose from:

  • Nabq (Sharm El Sheikh)
  • Dahab (Sharm El Sheikh)
  • Soma Bay (Hurghada)
  • El Gouna (Hurghada)

Why we chose El Gouna for kitesurfing

For the savvy traveler there are other spots too, but it would require more planning and custom made travel/accommodation booking. I visited Kite Junkies in Sharm El Sheikh back in November 2011 but I didn’t like the spot that much. The flat water area was a bit limited, there were plenty of sea urchins and you risked drifting into a jetty or out on deep water if you lost control or wind dropped so I felt we could find better spots. Soma Bay is said to be beautiful but very isolated with nothing to do in the evenings and also lacks big areas of shallow water. Most online research and friends’ reviews pointed at El Gouna as the best option. On top of that my friend Lidia is working at a kite center in El Gouna so having a familiar face and local guide at hand made the decision even easier.

Having it narrowed down to El Gouna it made the search for package deals a lot simpler. We settled on a Friday to Friday deal with Monarch with flight, airport transfer and hotel for about £550 per person. That included 20 kg per person but I also added £50 for my 30 kg kite bag. Since we were already in October I knew the wind was going to be on the lighter side but also knew it could fluctuate quite a bit so I packed my 7, 11 and 15m. I actually happened to use all sizes but I would’ve been fine with 11 and 15 (I only used my 7m the 2 first days when my 11m had a bladder problem).

On arrival in Egypt you have to buy a tourist visa for about £20 and then queue in a chaotic immigration area, but once you’ve found your travel agency the ride to El Gouna is only about 30 min long from Hurghada airport. We checked in to hotel Ali Pasha in the evening and took a taxi to Red Sea Zone, the kite center where Lidia works the following morning.

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Ali Pasha – our hotel in the Marina

el-gouna-red-sea-zone

Red Sea Zone – our kite center

Our week followed a similar day-to-day pattern: Wake up early to catch the morning wind and tide, eat breakfast at the hotel, take a tuk tuk to the center, ride or chill until the sun sets, take a tuk tuk back to the hotel for a shower, go out in the marina and find a restaurant for the evening, go home and pass out (riding, sun and food makes you sleepy for sure!).

A guide to El Gouna

El Gouna is this artificial village built up around a canal system to resemble Venice or maybe Miami. Its main purpose is to welcome Europpean tourists and rich Egyptians who keep their yachts here. A Disneyland for grown ups. There are some big hotels with private beaches like Sheraton and Mövenpick (which has its own kite center), but also a lot of smaller hotels, villas and bungalows. People come here to dive, play golf, kite surf or simply relax in the sun. You can also go quad biking in the dessert or wake boarding at the local wake park (which is impressive with international standards but quite pricey as well). The town’s main parts are Downtown and the Marina. This is where you’ll find all the restaurants, bars and cafes.

el-gouna-marina

The Marina full of rich men’s toys

Eating out was slightly more expensive than I had expected but it’s well worth noticing that we mainly dined in the Marina area which is quite posh and I’d expect that you can find much cheaper places if you look downtown. In the Marina it’s roughly the same prices as in London, meaning £3.50 for a beer and £10 – 15 for a main. The stores offer fairly cheap drinks and food for self catering. Alcohol is overall expensive and hard to find in the shops, so a tip is to bring some good liquor from the airport tax free shop if you’re like me and enjoy a drink in the hotel room while getting ready for the evening.

In general El Gouna is a very quiet resort. There aren’t a lot of people around as you walk around Downtown and there isn’t much in terms of night life. Normally there is at least one club per night and the venue depends on the night, but it’s not going to be Ibiza vibes. People are here to dive, kitesurf or hang out in the all-inclusive hotels.

el-gouna-downtown

Taking a walk downtown can be a pretty lonely experience

Most things are walking distance but the most common way to get around is by tuk tuk. They take up to 3 passengers and are only 5EGP (around 50p) per person to anywhere within El Gouna.

el-gouna-tuk-tuk

Tuk tuk with the Swedish flag on it!

2 restaurants stood out during our week, both located in the marina/new marina and I strongly recommend them. Le Garage is a burger place with a great selection of mouth watering burgers, sallads and sides. This place is on par with the better burger shacks in London! Mori Sushi is the other restaurant I’d definitely go back to. Placed in the quiet New Marina this franchise branch offers one of the best sushis I’ve ever had, and mind you I’ve spent 2 years in Japan. Unfortunately they don’t serve alcohol but their fruit juices and shakes are great to make up for it.

mori-sushi-closeup

Best sushi at Mori Sushi!

el-gouna-le-garage

Best hamburgers!

Spot review: The kite beach

Red Sea Zone is located on the kite beach between two other kite centers. German I think. It’s a quick 5 min ride from the Marina. Red Sea Zone has a Polish profile but obviously they speak English too. All centers are similar, with school, chill out area, rental etc but they have dedicated areas in the lagoons where they teach and ride.

Overall the kite beach area consists of a huge shallow water area with some dead reef areas that are above water level in low tide. Even in high tide you’ve got to be a bit careful so you don’t crash on these reefs since they can trash you and your board up pretty badly but most of the area is fine sand bottom. You can also leave the shallow water and ride in the deep water. A bit choppy but still good fun.

You’ll find riders of all levels here, but most of them will be beginners with instructors or lawn movers. When we visited it was somewhere between high and low season with about 20 to 70 kites in the air. It was never to busy to find your own spot to ride in.

Weather & wind conditions

Out of 7 days we had 5 decent days with wind. Wind varied between 10 to 24 knots but most of the time I was out on my 15m riding in 10 to 14 knots. This represents this part of the year well, and with the summer being the best period you’re likely to find stronger and more consistent wind in June – August. November – March also provides wind but less often so you need a bigger time window to ensure days on the water.

Wind is warm and smooth without a lot of gusty ups and downs. Air temperature was around 30 degrees Celsius and water was warm enough to ride in only board shorts. A pure pleasure. You don’t even need a sweater in the evening really.

Wrapping up – would we go again? Yes. Would we do anything differently? Not much. We’ve been thinking of going back in a group of friends and renting a villa to keep costs down and be a bit more social as we didn’t spend much time with other people during the week. I’d like to check out Soma Bay as well in the future but as long as we have beginners in the group it’s hard to beat El Gouna.asia-rinding-1 asia-riding-2 asia-chilling asia-and-kimo-kite-lessonel-gouna-kite-backroll el-gouna-kite-air el-gouna-kite-4 el-gouna-kite-2 el-gouna-kite-1 red-sea-zone-volleyballswitch-element-v2-15m-red

el-gouna-kite-centre

View from one of the kite centres

The kite center at Movenpick is small but the hotel is a stone's throw away.

The kite center at Movenpick is small but the hotel is a stone’s throw away.

movenpick-gardens

Movenpick is more expensive than the other hotels but I’m sure you get what you pay for

After a day of kitesurfing you look like this

After a day of kitesurfing you look like this