The purpose of my Phuket trip was to accomplish my “top of the bucket list” goal of seeing the Vegetarian Festival, but after a couple days of blood, gory and deafening firecracker bombs, I needed a change of scenery. And since I was in Phuket, it had to be none other than a day at the white sand, warm blue water beaches. As an extreme sport junkie, I of course couldn’t just chill and nap all day, so I decided to invest in a Kite Surfing lesson.
There are a few Kite Surfing outfits in Phuket, and I chose to go with Kite Zone because their website was more action-oriented/appealing and the customer service was excellent.
An A+ choice! The school is located on Friendship Beach just off Highway 4021, which turns into 4024 on the southeast end of Phuket island. It’s a cool little shop with an intimate, fun, relaxed Kite Surfing community. They call it “Little Britain” due to the Brit majority on that beach. While the takeoff area of the beach is very small, the vast turquoise-blue water felt and looked like paradise. Off in the distance, rock formations jutted up into the sky, small row boats casually sailed into the horizon and colorful kites breezed on by.
My instructor was “awesome,” as he liked to mock the American lingo, and dedicated a full four hours to cautioning on safety, teaching technique, briefing on wind patterns, instructing on proper handling of the kite and showing me the thrill of kite surfing! The instructors are patient (!), laid-back, good conversationalists and obviously passionate about the sport.
After about an hour of on-the-ground instruction, I was thrown into the salty water wild. Though I mastered the kite-flying technique on land, in water, I was forced to succumb to the powerful motions of the kite. I was told I don’t need muscles to do the sport, but maybe he was just trying to give me some encouragement? I was basically just dragged around the water in every direction, salt burning my eyes and throat, the rest of my lesson. There were a few highlights where I kept control for a smidgeon of time, but DAMN, controlling the kite is hard! The movements are not intuitive at all – in fact, it’s the opposite. Did that bother me though? Nope. I had a freakin blast! Getting dragged in the water was actually a super high and I can’t wait to go back and get IKO certified!
They put quality over money, which is a key detail I noticed. I overheard a conversation amongst the instructors about their concern that the wind speed would be too low the next day and the guests wouldn’t receive a good training. Instead of take the money and forget about it, they decided to hold off on the lessons until the weather assured a proper session. I love that!
1 Day (4 hour) Private Beginner Lesson: 6,500-ish Baht
Note: I reapplied sunblock 3 times over the 4 hour span (50spf) and still got sunburned!