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Ride the swells

Are you a waterbaby whose idea of a perfect holiday is zipping around on choppy waters? And have your tried everything from surfing vacations to scuba diving sessions? Well, go for kitesurfing the next time you plan a break.

Kitesurfing is a combination of wakeboarding (where you are towed on the water surface by a motorboat riding a wakeboard), windsurfing and paragliding. Kitesurfing, which requires you to be fit and a confident swimmer, harnesses the power of the wind as the rider balances on a board, which is propelled over the water by a large kite. Cool, huh?

So hit the road to explore the most beautiful coastal getaways in Vietnam, Morocco, Portugal and Cape Town and feel the power of the wind as you go streaking across the sea. Happy riding!

Morocco

Head for Essaouira, the picturesque coastal town that’s a two-hour drive from Marrakech. Skirted by a vast bay and a long sandy beach, it’s often called the windy city hence it’s very much a kitesurfers’ paradise. Head out to the sea in the early morning if you like it calm. But if you’re looking forward to riding large waves, the afternoon is the ideal time. In Essaouira, also explore the walled town with its whitewashed houses with their blue doors and the souks (markets). Visit the harbour area in the afternoon to watch fishermen’s boats bring in the catch of the day.

Hot ticket!

Explora Morocco has a beginner’s kitesurfing holiday on offer throughout the year. Starting at 570 euros, the 6-night package includes accommodation in a riad-style (a traditional Moroccan house) hotel on double-sharing basis and breakfast for two, 12-hours of kitesurfing lessons with a maximum of four in a group, equipment and airport transfers. Round trip airfare from Calcutta to Marrakech costs about Rs 59,000. Go to www.exploramorocco.com.

Portugal

Lagos in Western Algarve, an hour’s drive from Faro International Airport, is picturesque. Read secluded beaches, limestone cliffs, grottoes and perfect Mediterranean weather. Kitesurf in the Praia Alvor lagoon, sail around to explore the grottoes in a fishing boat and drop by to visit the beautiful St Anthony’s Church.

Hot ticket!

Extreme Algarve has a week-long kitesurfing holiday in Lagos on offer for kiters of all levels. Valid through the year for about 925 euros for two, the package includes accommodation on twin-sharing basis in a villa, breakfast, 7-hours’ lessons and surface transfers. Round trip airfare from Calcutta to Faro will cost about Rs 74,000. Mail to bookings@extremealgarve.com.

Cape Town

One of the best kitesurfing destinations, Cape Town has more than 20 kiting spots that attract professional kitesurfers from all over the world. From giant waves to flat seas, there are spots suitable for all levels of kiters. Catch the best wind as you kitesurf in Langebaan, Table View, Witsand, Strand, Cape Agulhaus and Hermanus. Add to it idyllic locales, treks through game reserves, great cuisine and some more adventure sports like abseiling, shark cage diving and skydiving you get the picture.

Hot ticket!

The Kite Life has a 10-day package on offer for intermediate and advanced kitesurfers at 1,049 euros per person on twin-sharing basis. It includes accommodation, surface transfers, guided kitesurfing lessons for a maximum of five in a group, a visit to a game reserve and activities like shark cage diving. The tour begins and ends in Cape Town. Departure dates for 2012 are January 7, January 22, February 5, February 19 and March 4. Round trip airfare from Calcutta to Cape Town is about Rs 53,000. Go to www. thekitelife.com.

Vietnam

Nearer home, head to Mui Ne, a coastal resort town in Southeastern Vietnam, about five hours away from Ho Chi Minh City airport. Very popular with surfers and kitesurfers, Phan Rang, 150km from Mui Ne, promises perfect wind almost everyday. Mui Ne is skirted by a fishing village with hundreds of colourful fishing boats moored in the bay. Also visit the 13th century Po Klong Jarai Cham Towers and traditional Cham pottery-making hubs.

 Hot ticket!

Vietnam Kitesurfing Tours has a two-day trip valid through the year for experienced kiters in Phan Rang, near Mui Ne. The two-day package at $180 per person on twin-sharing basis includes accommodation in 3-star hotels, all meals and surface transfers. A taxi ride from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne costs approximately $90. Return airfare from Calcutta to Ho Chi Minh City is about Rs 25,000. Go to www.vietnamkitesurfingtours.com.

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