Tampa has become one of the country's most fashionable kitesurfing locations for a number of reasons. First, average annual temperatures are just over 72 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing kitesurfers to ply their trade year-round. Second, the large bay has more than 400 square miles of open water and features numerous sandbars along the shores that make launching simple. Many launch points also have relatively few sunbathers, which minimizes launch interference. Third, the harbor has a shape that effectively channels winds from the Atlantic needed to power the kites.
Top Tampa Launch Locations
Easy launch spots for novices include the mostly shallow East Beach along with less populous places like Pass-a-Grille, Blue Flag Beach and Upham Beach. On the other hand, Big Beach and John's Pass are geared more toward intermediate and advanced level riders due to the stronger currents. Some of Tampa's poorer launching areas include Skyway Backside, Indian Rocks Beach, Cypress and Picnic Island, primarily because of the packed crowds, rocks and vast oyster beds below the water's surface.
Popular Equipment and Average Costs
Because an abundance of competition exists in Tampa's kitesurfing market, smart shoppers should be able to purchase the gear and equipment they need at reasonably affordable prices. Trainer kites range anywhere from $100 to $200, while full-sized kites start at $500 and go up to $1,800 based on the manufacturer, design and durability. Fashionable kite brands sold in the Tampa area include Waroo, Slingshot and Cabrinha. Boards range anywhere from $600 to $1,000 on average, with popular local brands that include Slingshot, Nobile and CrazyFly. To rent all necessary equipment can cost up to $100 per day.
Watersports West, founded in 2001, is a 14,000-square-foot store near Indian Rocks Beach that actively promotes the sport of kitesurfing through equipment sales, instructional clinics and informative online newsletters. A free "introduction to kiteboarding" seminar is held every Tuesday evening or by appointment in an effort to build a stronger and safer community of kitesurfers. The next step is for interested parties to attend the in-house "ground school" held on Saturday mornings