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Local Knowledge - Kitesurfing Wellington, NZ

Wellington, New Zealand is arguably one of the windiest cities in the world. Apparently there are a few contributing factors to making Wellington so windy.

Join Switch Team Rider Stefan Beconcini as he shares his top 5 kiteboarding spots in his home town of 'Windy Wellington'.
 

 
 
 
Location – Wellington, New Zealand
Team Rider – Stefan Beconcini
 
Some key facts:
 
•   Wellington is located in a wind corridor between the South Island and the North Island.
•   Wellington is the windiest main centre in New Zealand with a mean annual wind speed of 22 km/h.
•   Wellington averages 173 days a year with wind gusts greater than about 60 km/h or 32 knots.
•   October is generally the windiest month of the year with a mean of 27 days with wind speeds over 15 knots,
    19 of those days are over 20 knots.
•   North is by far the most common wind direction, blowing from this direction (0 degrees) a massive 37.6% of the time.
•   Wellington is one of the windiest cities in the world (possibly the windiest) and is windier than other southern windy
    cities including Cape Town, Perth, and Geraldton.

Wellington New Zealand

Top 5 Wellington Region Kiting Spots

Wellington is NOT a tropical paradise, but we have some great kiting spots all around the city that work in various wind directions. Given the amount of wind we get, we can reliably get on the water quite often. Just bring your thick wetsuit because even in summer it can be quite cold.

1. Lyall Bay

Close to the city and I also live here so maybe I’m biased, but you really can’t beat Lyall Bay when there is a 15-20 knot southerly and a decent swell.

map of Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay, Wellington

Skill Level:
Advanced
Best wind direction:
Direct Southerly and SE works best. SW can be gusty and even dangerous because of the western range of hills.
Style suited for:
Kite surfing, waves can get really big as it captures the southern swell. When there is no swell great for kite boarding also.
Launching:
Best to launch and land at low tide, but even at high tide it is safe with enough sandy beach. Allocated area for kite surfers to launch is at the west end of the beach, it is sign-posted.
Be aware of:
The fact that it is very close to the airport, it’s important to stay down the west end of the beach and never get too close to that side. The eastern end is usually where all of the surfers cluster also so best to stay out of their way. Easy rule to follow - don’t go beyond the yellow building. Lyall bay is very close to the road and power lines so safer to launch at low tide. In summer it can be very busy with people on the beach, swimmers, surf life savers, and surfers, general courtesy and rules apply. Given all these factors its important only advanced kiters surf this spot otherwise we may all be banned.

Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay, Wellington
Lyall Bay, Wellington

2. Waikanae

The best spot in the Wellington area to learn. The big sandy beach is safe for launching and landing. It is a popular spot for all levels with small waves so also good for practicing your body dragging.

Map of Waikanae, Wellington
Waikanae, Wellington

Skill Level:
All levels, especially great for beginners and learners.
Best wind direction:
South to SW and North to NW work best. A straight westerly will be gusty due to the shadow from Kapiti Island.
Style suited for:
Some flat water and small waves. During high tide the estuary fills up and is great for some flat water kite boarding. But space is tight so watch for overcrowding.
Launching:
The best place to launch is on the southwest side of the beach near the estuary. It’s a popular spot so you will soon see all the kites in the sky.
Be aware of:
There are sand bars at low tide. This beach has a lot of driftwood and debris to look out for, especially after a storm. If you’re kiting in the estuary look out for whitebait fishermen and overcrowding.

Waikanae
Waikanae
Waikanae

3. Plimmerton

Great spot mix of waves out the back and flat water close in.

Map of Plimmerton, Wellington
Plimmerton, Wellington

Skill Level; – Intermediate to Advanced
Best wind direction: – NW to West, quite gusty if a straight Northerly or NE
Style suited for: – Kite surfing, a few times a year you get a really nice swell out the back. Or enjoy more flat water close in.
Launching: – Whitireia Park has a big grassy verge and beach for launching. You can also launch on the Mana side, on a light Northerly the Mana channel works well with an outgoing tide.
Be aware of: – boats coming in and out of the channel. This is also a very popular windsurfing spot. Try to stay away from the rocks. On a strong Northerly it can be dangerously gusty.

Plimmerton

4. Seatoun

Not my favourite spot but with a light northerly it is good when you have no other options.

Map of Seatoun, Wellington
Seatoun, Wellington

Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate
Best wind direction:
Light Northerly. Can get quite gusty with a West or NW.
Style suited for:
Some nice flat water spots behind the rocks. Relatively flat with light winds.
Launching:
Head to Churchill Park in Seatoun. Stone beach with plenty of space to launch. There is a big orange pole in the middle of the beach perfect to use as a ground anchor for launching.
Be aware of:
The rocks, towards the east end of the beach there are large rocks to keep your distance from. It can get very choppy when the wind is strong. You need to be able to body drag well because the beach drops deep quickly and dramatically. Be careful heading too close to the cook straight because you can get swept out to sea.

Stefan Beconcini in Seaton
Cold day in Seatoun!
5. Eastbourne

Eastbourne is very similar to Seatoun in terms of water depth and quite choppy water. Not the top of my list but is a good option when the top 3 spots aren’t working well.

Map of Eastbourne, Wellington
Eastbourne, Wellington

Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate
Best wind direction:
This spot works well in most wind directions. Light northerly works well and with a Southerly the water can be quite flat. Can be gusty in NE, NW and W.
Style suited for:
Flat water kiteboarding.
Launching:
Big beach for launching and landing, recommend going by the sailing club for
Be aware of:
Similar to Seatoun you need to be able to body drag well because the beach drops deep quickly and dramatically. Be careful heading too close to the cook straight because you can get swept out to sea.

5 thoughts on “Local Knowledge - Kitesurfing Wellington, NZ”

  • Vinicius Fonseca

    AWESSOME!!

    I'm looking for a place to study/work in my area, Biology/Ecology, and kitesurf, I'll be looking for something or trying something in Wellington, for sure!

    Reply
  • […] to find out more? Click here to read the full article on the Switch Kites […]

    Reply
  • wilmua

    didn't mention petone bro

    Reply
  • Laurie

    Waikanae parking, access, launching is also excellent on north side of River at end of Tutere St. Waves are much bigger north of Te Moana Rd car park. Good beach launching in other than hi tide. If sw wind, launch at Waimea Stm or Pekapeka.
    Surf often very big, specially in over 20 kts.

    Reply
  • Bruce Spedding

    Eastbourne - Robinson Bay is the place to go, south of the Eastbourne wharf (stay away from Days Bay, and launch down by the sports club, not the yacht club as noted, just keep to the shoreline when you reach Eastbourne and keep going till you run out of road

    Reply
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