2013 Kiteboarding Report by Karl Mancini
Penghu Island is truly an extreme kiteboarding spot. If you plan on kiteboarding here, there are a few things that you should know.
First, it is exceptionally windy. From November to April, typical winds range from 40 to 60 knots. On strong days, the wind is pretty smooth and not too gusty. When forecasts call for 30 knots or less, the wind tends to be less predictable and lighter than expected. On lighter days, there are many holes in the wind and the rider will likely have to pump the kite. The most commonly used kite sizes are 4m, 5m, and 7m. On occasion, the rider may use an 8m, 9m, 10m or 12m kite.
Second, the weather is pretty cold. If you plan on kiteboarding during the winter, you will need a 3mm or 5mm wetsuit. I’d also recommend wearing a neoprene hoodie, but gloves and booties are not really necessary.
Third, don’t expect to rely on anyone else. There are only four or five local kiters on the island and they are not always at the beach. Although it is possible to rent equipment, there aren’t any known repair shops. Given the extreme conditions in Penghu, there aren’t any kite schools, either.
Fourth, local beaches are full of debris, coral, and sharp objects. It is quite possible that you may puncture or rip your kite. During our seventy day kite trip, the girlfriend and I sustained damages to four of our kites. In these extreme conditions, I wouldn’t recommend self-launching, self-landing, or riding alone. If you are going to ride in Penghu, you should possess intermediate or advanced kiting skills and have a support network in place. Due to strong winds, changing tides, and a shallow bottom, wind swell is common. You should also be relatively comfortable riding moderate sized waves.
If you like to ride alone in extreme winds, Penghu is the place for you. Otherwise, I’d recommend Kenting, Kaohsiung or one of the many spots in Southeast Asia.
Kitesurfing in Penghu 2011 Excellent video footage of kitesurfing in Penghu.