Whether sand yachting, kite buggying, land yachting or land sailing, this thrilling sport is perfectly suited to Ireland’s winds and wide sandy beaches. It’s still a minority activity but its history in Ireland spans fifty years and it’s growing in popularity.
While Ireland’s Atlantic west coast has traditionally been more associated with sand yachting, the 11-kilometre stretch of Benone Strand, east of Lough Foyle, is fast establishing itself as a centre for kite sport.
At low tide and in a northerly wind, the beach is ideal for sand yachting, and the Irish Power Kite Sandyacht Association (IPKSA) holds several training and race events there during the year. Training is provided free to brand new members and newcomers who don’t have their own equipment can, by arrangement, have use of mini-yachts for event weekends.
Benone Beach which faces north-northeast is also becoming popular with kite surfers. The kitesurfing ‘season’ usually begins in March and ends in November although kiters may be seen at other times, being whipped across the waves, if the wind blows the right way. Kiting is not allowed between RNLI flagged swim zones.
In Carlingford, the sandy, sheltered Templetown beach is also popular with kite surfers. It is protected on each side by low-level rock promontories and has Blue Flag status. Both beaches are lifeguarded during the summer, and parking and toilets are available.
Kitesurfing lessons from qualified instructors are essential before attempting this thrilling sport.