Kiting in Stillbay is awesome!! The water is clean, the wind mostly friendly and your session is often shared with dolphins and whales.
On average for a year one can expect 80 sessions in a SE wind (Size 11, 60%, Size 8, 40%), 15 sessions in a SW wind (Size 11, 35%, Size 8, 65%), 25 Sessions N or NW winds (Size 11, 40%, Size 8, 45%, Size 6, 15%)
There are several kiting spots in Stillbay within close proximity to one another. The spots mentioned below are the most popular, there may be others – you can explore!
Kiting Spots from East to West
Spot Location Best wind Alternate Wind Type of kiting
Preekstoel East side S,SSE, SE NW Down wind, NW Waves
Lappies Baai East side Main beach S,SSE,SE, SW,NW,N Wave, Cruising, Big Air
River mouth River mouth E&W S,SSE,SE N Freestyle
Bridge River N, NW SE Freestyle
Steentjie West side S,SSE,SE N, NW Wave, Cruising, Big Air
Harbour West side S,SSE,SE NW, but tricky Big Air, Freestyle, Slider
Reef West side SW SE Waves, Big, Big Air
Point West side SW SE, NW if supported Waves
Blinder West side SW SW, NW if support Waves
Skulpies bay West side SE SW Waves
Dolphins West side SW SE Waves
The main kiting area is Lappies Bay. This is a blue flag beach on the East Side of the river and is ideal for riders of all skill levels on a S,SSE and SE wind. Here you can enjoy nice wave riding, big air or just cruising.
The launch area at Lappies is to the right of the main beach, infront of the lifeguard hut – a wooden pole marks the launch area. The pole can also be used to self-launch and land. From there, one can kite to all the other spots, albeit at a push to Skulpies and Dolphins. One can also launch on the West side of the river mouth. On Low tide the West side exposes a nice big, flat sand bank to launch from. At High tide the sea gets very close to the houses and the wind is onshore. It is advisable to launch on the sandbank to the right of the houses on the West side beach in these conditions.
The S,SSE and SE winds blows about 70% of the time Cape Town blows, is about 75% of the strength, starts blowing around August/September and carries through to March/April, with the peak in December/ January.
The SW wind blows during the same season, but is less prevalent, about 1 in 10 and more towards the end of the season. This wind is the best for the Reef, Point and Blinder. The rides you can get are insanely good as the wind normally coincides with huge swell, which is super clean. Check these videos on You Tube.
Most people however just kite at Lappies on a SW wind. Try to stay on the lifeguard side or just in front of the Lappies Bay Restaurant – any further towards the preekstoel and the wash will push you downwind quickly and you might as well do a downwinder to Preekstoel.
REEF, POINT AND BLINDER
For the reef on a SW wind you need to launch at Lappies and tack across the bay. This normally takes about 30 min depending on swell direction. From the reef back to Lappies takes 5 minutes max.
Beware, as the local surfers are very protective over the reef section and it was informally agreed that kiters will only kite the reef section if there are less than 3 local surfers out and it is blowing strong and waves are big. Surfers have right of way. Surfers normally surf from about 2 hours before high tide until it fades out. So if you kite at low tide you can get waves by yourself at the reef section, however conditions are better at high tide.
You can still kite the Point and Blinder section though. The blinder gets super big, 25ft when stormy, the point a little less and the reef 12ft to 15ft. If you are lucky and pick up a set at the blinder, connect the point and reef section and end up at the harbor – 1.5KM ride – insane! On the way to the back you can jump super, super high on left forward.
One can try the reef on a NW wind, but it is pretty scary. (NW wind is the prevailing wind during winter). If you do not catch a wave you have to tack all the way across the bay in the direction of Preekstoel and then back again to get your line. However, although the NW is totally offshore and particularly gusty, it is great at Lappies bay – It brushes the waves clean and one can get better rides here on the NW wind than at the reef. It is a beach break, but often big and awesome. Guys have caught a wave at the Steentjie on a NW and ridden it all the way around the Bay to Lappies Bay.
Please keep in mind that SW and NW winds are offshore at the Reef, Point ad Blinder sections and if something goes wrong, do a self-rescue, get to your kite if you are still attached, and drift across the bay. If you close enough to the rocks, ditch the kite if it is safe and swim for it. The NSRI will fetch you and your kite if you did self-rescue, or your kite if you ditched it. Always make sure you have someone watching you from the shore when you kite in offshore conditions here, so that they can contact the NSRI. The NSRI’s numbers are, Abrie, 082 855 9460 and 082 990 5978.
The river mouth is excellent for freestyle and big air. The launch area is on the west side to the left of the outdoor gym. You can pump up on the grass between the outdoor gym and the white house, but beware of thorns. Rivermouth works best on the S, SSE and SE wind. There is no kiting allowed in the lagoon. It is so tempting, but don’t worry the best is still in the river mouth. There is a Kite Boarding Zone board erected on the East side of the river mouth, which indicates the point that you should not go past into the lagoon. There is some leeway, especially as one can get blown into the lagoon, on the incoming tide and SE wind. Teaching takes place in the river mouth during December holidays.
The best conditions in the mouth are from when high tide has turned, to about 3 hours after low tide. When the low tide is smooth and the wind is marginal the outgoing current gives you a couple of extra knots, so you have enough wind/speed to do a trick. Crashing in these conditions are less pain full than in higher winds and this allows one to keep on practicing difficult tricks. On the incoming tide, it is still ok, but the current that runs with the wind is fast, so you lose 5 to 6 knots at times.
The bridge is a spot to the North of the bridge across the river. It is super gnarly on the NW and mellow on a SE. It is a boat area and you can really only kite here in winter when it is quiet. The sea is better (Not shown on the map).
STEENTJIE AND HARBOUR
The Steentjie is great for waves and big air on the prevailing S,SSE,SE wind and also on a N Wind, which blows out of the lagoon. When you jump over the Steentjie, remember the twins who drowned there years ago. Watch out for rocks on the other side as you land.
The harbor is just on from the Steentjie and provides a flat area for big air and even sliders on the harbor wall. One can gap the harbor wall, but the wind must blow South otherwise you will end up on boat launch area. Be sure to check for boats on the other side and fisherman on the wall before attempting the gap.
Skulpies bay is kite able on a SW wind, however SE wind is best. It is a left point break on the other side of the blinder, which when on is fantastic! It has a couple of ledges so watch out! On a SE wind, you can launch at Lappies, tack across the bay, run the blinder and around the point to skulpies, - but best to launch at Skulpies.
Dolphins is a SW wind spot. When it is stormy you cut far out past the Bosbokduin point and then ride the massive swells back. It is possible to kite there in a NW wind, but the conditions are seldom right – It is dangerous.
As far as the wind forecasts, you can rely on Windguru or YR when it comes to the strength and duration of the S, SSE and SE winds. When it comes to a SW wind, you can rely on the forecast that the wind will be arrive, but the conditions tends to build at 10H00 to 11H00 and then dies down at 15h00, irrespective of the forecast. So best just to get ready when it starts to blow. N and NW winds are a gamble and the forecast is just a guideline – if it starts blowing go, but always keep an eye out for when it can stop. The wind is offshore and if it dies you want to be close to the shore in case you have to swim. Always stop when you can hear the waves above the wind.
SAFETY AND OTHER BEACH USERS
Kiting as a sport is growing tremendously. During the peak season there can be as many as 50 kites in the river mouth launch areas. The other beach users, mainly children do not understand the danger of the sport. At all times, ensure their and your safety. When you are up and riding, you may feel safe and in control. However things can go wrong very quickly and unfortunately it is normally the other beach users that get hurt.
At all the kiting spots in Stillbay, notice boards with rules and guidelines have been put up. Please familiarize yourself with these rules prior to rigging. Ensure that you adhere to them. If other beach users complain, or worse, get hurt as a result of our recklessness, kiting can easily be banned in Stillbay.
Most people kite at Lappies Bay and in and around the river mouth. It is great during December holidays, all the friendly guys from WP, EP and Up North join in for a great vibe!!! It makes for an unforgettable holiday.
Out of season there are only 10 or so locals that regularly kite and you are sure to meet them on the water.
So check the forecast, plan a trip after the holidays you can expect uncrowded paradise.