South Padre

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South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:35 pm

Kiran and I just got back from a week in South Padre.
We had the place to ourselves. Occasionally another kiter or 2 would show up, but most of the time we had the whole beach, north flats all the way to the south flats.
We had the ditch to ourselves too, apart from a few dolphins & trawlers.
The warmest water I’ve ever experienced- it was nice to be in the breeze to cool down from the water- you could burn your toes in the shallows
We twin tipped on large kites 12-18m every day. Didn’t need the foil board we had been learning.
Now matter how far out you crash it’s always chest deep.
Amazing place- we will go back for sure :D
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Re: South Padre

Postby PowerManJ316 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:12 pm

Glad you enjoyed Steve. Still on my list of places to go.

My wife has made great progress on the trainer kite. Can fly solo now no problem. Time to get her on a big kite... Well bigger :)
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Re: South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:47 am

I don’t have a lot of experience, but I can’t imagine a better place to learn.
Clean reliable wind, warm water and never out of your depth.
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Re: South Padre

Postby PowerManJ316 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:22 am

How was your first session on the Soul?
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Re: South Padre

Postby dmonn » Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:39 pm

I've never been to South Padre, but I've been to Corpus Christi many times for windsurfing. Similar conditions I guess. The last I heard (several years ago), no kiting in the Sound at Corpus. Glad you had a great time.
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Re: South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:04 pm

Loved my Souls.
My 18m was a session saver- twin tipping, ripping up wind and jumping in 12-14mph
The 12m is just an outstanding kite some of the floatiest jumps I have ever had- even had my first pillow soft landing on it :D
Both are very smooth and such easy control. The lift and hang time are incredible (and we run XR5 tubes kites which are pretty damn good)
They loft so well- I am trying to learn back rolls and have had to turn down my steering inputs because some ended up being high backwards jumps - pretty spooky going high backwards.

It took a few sessions to gain confidence that they would unravel from the occasional tangle on the water, but the nice thing about South Padre is that you don’t have to panic because you can always walk it back. I did have one on-water pack down after it bow tied and I now realize the benefit of a methodical approach (after having rushed it). Also in hindsight I could probably have had a shot at untangling the bow tie in the water, but I’m still more used to popping safety and self rescuing.
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Re: South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:17 pm

I had a PM asking which is best to learn SPI or Hatteras, but my reply got stuck in the outbox- so I’m posting a public reply:

Based on the opinion of a newer kiteboarder - not an expert:

Hands down SPI is the better learner location. In fact we progressed a lot because of the sheer consistency- it’s just the same every day within a few mph- the wind comes up in the afternoon and holds till dusk.
If you ride the Flats- you are never out of your depth. In Hatteras that only true closer to shore.
The water never got choppy in SPI since it is cross off shore- which is a little spooky, but once you trust that is really is only chest deep half a mile or more out- you forget about the risk of being blown away. In Hatteras it can get choppy depending on the direction.
Also the water is so much warmer in SPI, I wear a shorty in summer at Hatteras, but was very comfortable in board shorts and rash vest in SPI
Also the wind seems to be lower but more consistent- watch them both on iKitesurf for a few weeks
It’s a really long drive, but kited every day and haven’t done that in Hatteras yet- we’ve been 3 times and had 60-80% rideable days.
Hope this helps
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Re: South Padre

Postby PowerManJ316 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:20 pm

Great advice Steve. I've never been to South Padre, but I have been to corpus many times. The predictability is so much greater at corpus, not just in terms of number of days but direction and strength. Hatteras is great for intermediate and above riders, good for newbies as well. But it is very possible to have 40 knots followed by 3 days of 15 or less. It's all frontal driven there and the fronts move in and out very rapidly.
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Re: South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:32 am

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that ALL the public beach access roads / parking is closed due to CoVid.
That means nothing on the gulf side is available from the jetties to the access roads. Access to south flats is closed too.
This wasn’t a problem for us since we rode the private club at north flats almost every day- $20 for a month & you do have to get the pass and gate code from Air Padre though- I suggest coordination in advance because they are busy.
The ditch is also open, but recommend 4x4 for access and the beach is a strange slippery silt/ sand / clay- we needed boots for grip and gear cleaning was some work.
Holly beach is available but it’s also an obstacle course to launch- a bit like Boxhorn. I checked it out, but didn’t feel it was better than north flats. Apparently it’s the place to go when nowhere else is blowing.
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Re: South Padre

Postby jv. » Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:50 pm

IMHO, having decades of wind-water sports experience at all of the named locations, I might argue it depends. Everything said is true and all can be great spots, the hands-down advantage for Hatteras if you have the right home rental is access to water, hot-tub, beverages, food, water, rinse & repeat.... We have parked camper at flats in SPI and corpus and enjoyed that, but end of the day you need to move somewhere else. In Hatteras, all equipment stays put overnight (unless trekking oceanside...). My wife loves water sports and spends a lot of time on the water, but as I spend much more time on the water she can go in, shower, run, do whatever, and I stay wet without having to worry about her needing to get away from the wind & sand.

Be careful on the gulf though. On one kiting trip we took beginning in Key West, going around gulf to SPI years ago, I contracted a form of TB in my left hand. That hand has been taken apart a couple times since and many forms of antibiotics over years, hand still does not work well. Guess I can't blame gulf, but also can't blame myself for favoring hatteras or cooler waters....
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Re: South Padre

Postby Steve271 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:02 pm

No argument from me. As admitted earlier my POV is from someone without the decades of experience, but as someone learning the foundations of kiteboarding. :D
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