KITE LANDBOARDING AROUND SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
With more wind, more space, and more variety of terrain, South Padre Island is a top destination for all kinds of wind powered dirt surfing, buggy riding, land sailing, and kite landboarding. In this article your will find information on some of the types of land kiting, as well as places to ride around South Padre Island, Texas.
Types Of Land Kiting
For those that prefer to surf the earth, and not the water, there are lots of ways to get your fix around South Padre Island. From easy cruising, to high speed racing, catching air, or endless carving turns in parking lot skate sessions, land boarders and sailors are using all kinds of different gear and techniques to ride the wind and ground around South Padre Island.
Kite Buggies are super fun for all ages and levels of riders, from novice through hardcore adrenaline junkies. Buggies are three wheeled carts that sit low to the ground, roll on big tires capable of handling all kinds of terrain from parking lot asphault to soft beach sand and everything in between. Steered with your feet, and powered by the pull of a kite, buggy riders are capable of cruising in the lightest winds, as well as racing across all kinds of terrain at high speed, pulling g-forces in powerslides, and even boosting air with the pull of the kite.
Off-road Skateboards and Mountainboards
Off-road skateboards are large skate decks that sit a few inches higher off the ground than regular skateboards, roll on big rubber tires and suspension systems to obsorb bumps, and offer control at high speed in rough terrain. Beginners often learn by cruising slowly and without using the bindings that advanced riders use to hold their feet to the board. At high speed, off road skateboards can roll over all kinds of terrain, with the exception of soft sand and mud, and advanced riders can carve, jump, slide, and ride very much like their counterparts on the water.
Skateboards And Carve Boards
If you dont want to get dirty or just prefer shredding smooth pavement, skateboards, longboard skateboards, and carveboards are fun to ride around parking lots and open paved areas. With just the slightest wind and kite power, riders can carve the concrete endlessly.
SPOTS TO RIDE
The entire 30 miles of South Padre Island Coast line are great for land kiting with offroad skateboards and buggys. There are no off-limit areas, although riders are encouraged to avoid crowded areas of the beach by riding on the North end of town only. Ocean beaches offer hard pack sand near the water as well as soft sand further up the beach, and work best in predominantly East wind, although can be riden in all wind directions. Riding during low tides offers the most area of hardpack sand, and occasionally during very high tides there may be no hardpack exposed, so check the tides and water level before you go.
Bayside Flats (The Beaches of the Laguna Madre Bay)
On the bay side (west side) of South Padre Island, are a series of wide open, hardpack, sand flats beaches, which all offer lots of space, predominantly flat terrain, but also a few interesting dunes and trails around their perimeter. With constant wind and lots of space, these are some of the best places for landboarding in the entire country.
- Convention Center Beach: Located next to the South Padre Island Convention Center, the Convention Center Beach, also know as the South Flats, is the located at 7355 Padre Blvd. It's a great place to ride right near town, although can sometimes be crowded with non kiters and beach goers. The wind quality is good, although in light SE winds there can be some turbulence from the nearby buildings.
- North Flats: Located a few miles North of the developed part of town, and across the street from Beach Access 5, the North Flats is a huge, open, area of packed and semi soft sand with numerous hardpack trails running through it as well as many low dunes to ride through, over, and around. Far enough away from buildings, the North Flats offerers clean wind in all wind directions. The North Flats is an area managed by the South Padre Island Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Association, and a parking pass is required to access the area. Passes can be picked up at Air Padre Kiteboarding.
- Beyond the North Flats:Continuing North from the North Flats are numerous other sandflats locations, all offerring good terrain, open space, and adventure for landboarders. Just look to the left as your driving North along the road, and when you see a good spot, stop and ride!
- Convention Center: The South Padre Island Convention Center has a nice medium sized parking lot perfect for kite skating and buggying. The area is fun and most of the pavement is smooth enough for skateboards, although there is only enough space for 3 or 4 riders at a time. The wind at the Convention Center is generally pretty clean and steady.
- Walmart: On highway 100 in the town of Port Isabel, shortly before crossing the bridge onto South Padre Island is a Walmart with a very large parking lot great for night time skate sessions. The spot works in all wind directions, riders just need to be aware of any parked cars or occasional traffic. Behind the building offers some good pavement, as well as a fair amount of grass for off-road skateboards and buggy riding.
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark: Located at the South end of South Padre Island, the Schlitterbahn waterpark and Shrimp Haus Restaurant offers a large and frequently empty parking lot. With palm trees surrounding the lot on all sides, the wind can be a little tricky, but the space is great.
- Isla Blanca Park: The Isla Blanca County Park is the land at the very Southern tip of South Padre island, a day pass is required to enter, and can be purchased at the entrance. Inside the park are 2 medium sized parking lots that when not full of cars are a nice kite skating area. Don't wrap kite lines around any light poles or tourists if you choose to ride this spot.
End Of The Road
The end of the road is the northermost end of Padre BLVD. The last 7 miles of the road are undeveloped, with nothing but sand dunes on either side. With little traffic, kiters can ride down the road on skateboards in virtually any wind direction, although predominantly east winds are the best.
Main Land Grass, Floodplains, and Trail Systems
For explorers, there is tons of ridable off-road terrain off the side of highway 48 between South Padre Island and Brownsville. Although there are numerous places to pull over, one good starting destination is located about 1/2 to Brownsville, on the South side of the highway. There is a medium sized parking lot, with lights, and a boat ramp to access a canal that connects to the ship channel and large lagoons.
Lessons And Rentals
Kite boarding of all kinds is incredibly fun, but its one of those things that you don't want to try to teach yourself. If you are interested in learning how to kite, or already know how and just need some gear for the day, Air Padre Kiteboarding offers the best professional lessons as well as rentals of buggys, boards, kites and other gear as well.