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Old 11.03.2008, 13:46
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Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

I'm thinking about picking up a summer water sport...it's either windsurfing or kitesurfing. The latter, however, is banned in many spots. Does anyone know where I might find a complete list of spots where kitesurfing is allowed? I know Lake Silvaplana and the Urnersee allow it. Are there any other spots closer to Kanton Aargau?
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Old 11.03.2008, 13:49
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

http://www.google.ch/search?hl=en&sa...cr%3DcountryCH
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Old 11.03.2008, 13:49
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

i would love to try out kitesurfing. looks like a great sport. i think it also goes down with base jumping as a hobby one must do.
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Old 11.03.2008, 13:58
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

http://www.swiss-kites.com/images/pdf/kitesurfing.pdf

there is also some places in Switzerland that allow "snow-kiting"
http://www.snowkiting.ch/index.php?lang=en

it is good to learn the basics of kite control, and you don't have to worry about dragging yourself out of the water first!!

I used to kiteboard back in Canada but don't have any equipment here, but would love to get back into it!
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Old 11.03.2008, 16:00
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Lake Neuchatel, port of St Blaise has lots of kitesurfers, so I presume it is allowed as the water rescue fleet is based in the port of St Blaise .

www.mapsearch.ch type in 2072
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Old 11.03.2008, 16:58
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

I've been told that there is actually a general ban on tea-bagging (kitsurfing) in Switzerland. There are some exceptions to this where the ban has been lifted, and in these cases only in specific areas. You are right that both Urnersee and Silvaplanasee allow kitesurfing, but in restricted zones. This is not a problem in Silvaplana as there is plenty of kite launching and landing area on the shoreline in the kitesurfing zone. There is also easy and safe places to get out of the water downwind if it all goes pear shaped. Urnersee is very different, the area the kiting is allowed, does not have an easy launch, so many kitesurfers there launch from boats. There is also no safe escape route on Urnersee if you can't make it back to where you came from.

You are better off finding out from locals which lakes allow/turn a blind eye to kitesurfers otherwise you could end up getting into some hot water. I have heard of people getting heavily fined at Urnersee, Sihlsee and a few other lakes around Deutschschweiz.

My top tip for wind sports for Switzerland is Silvaplana in July and August. The wind is weaker due to the reduction in air density, but it picks up to a reasonable strength with a good degree of reliability. Urnersee also gets a thermic earlier in the season (May, June) but in my opinion it is not nearly as constant or consistent as Silvaplana.

If you haven't kitesurfed before, then get some lessons and be careful. I have seen some nasty accidents, and had some near misses with out of control kitesurfers on the water.
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Old 11.03.2008, 17:21
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Maybe I should try windsurfing instead. It certainly is safer, but how big of a board would I have to lug around on my car to deal with the wind range here?

Windsurfing is allowed pretty much everywhere except for the Naturschutzonen, correct?
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Old 11.03.2008, 17:34
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

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Maybe I should try windsurfing instead. It certainly is safer, but how big of a board would I have to lug around on my car to deal with the wind range here?

Windsurfing is allowed pretty much everywhere except for the Naturschutzonen, correct?
Well, I'm slightly biased towards windsurfing. I have kitesurfed a couple of times when the sport was just starting to take off.

If you have done neither sports before, the learning curve will be steeper with kitesurfing, You will get to a reasonable level quicker with kitesurfing, but the problem with this is that it doesn't give you a chance to build up experience and a sense about the wind and water. The injury risk is probably a touch higher with kite surfing for this reason. (Sorry no figures to support this just experience.)

Windsurfing, is a touch more challenging, but you get to go on the water immediately. It is getting easier to learn the whole time with improvements in equipment. (Certainly alot easier then when I learned 20 years ago!). If you are a beginner I would advise against buying gear and this solves the problem of having to carry it around. Places like Silvaplana have a rental center and school which as far as I know is reasonably priced. Once you can waterstart then it is time to think about buying some equipment based on where you are going to sail and what type of sailing you hope to do.

Personally the two boards I use in Switzeland are 110 and 82 litres respectively (Have a 63 too, but only get to use the during some storms here) . I haven't had to cart them around on the roof of a car yet as I had a van up until a week ago, but I don't think we will have any problem getting boards from Zurich to Silvaplana on the roof of the car when we do head up there during the summer.

You should be warned though, windsurfing in Switzerland is hardly an adrenaline filled extreme sport. It is more relaxed cruising around in summer breezes, or fighting the ridiculously gusty storms that they occasionally get. I spend more time dreaming about windsurfing then actually doing it here.
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Old 12.03.2008, 10:59
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Hi there,

We organize through our site ohtoyou.com kitesurfing that is on Lake Como and that is great for beginners: it is a 2-day affair to get you going.

Enjoy your new sport
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Old 12.03.2008, 12:43
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

that's pretty disappointing that it's banned in so many places.. just brought all my gear over with me.. hmm.. anyone else got there own gear here that would like to try one of the lakes mentioned.. perhaps in May?
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Old 12.03.2008, 12:49
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

In May you will still want to try the lower lakes.

Silvaplana really only gets going in June, and it can still be pretty cold up there at that stage.

There is a spot guide for windsurf spots here. Some of these may also be suitable for kitesurfing.
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Old 13.03.2008, 00:26
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Eire,

What, in your opinion, is better suited to the conditions here: a formula board (160 liters or so) or a longboard (220-230 liters)? Have you heard of Starboard's hybrid formula boards...they're...what else...forumla/longboard hybrids that promise to function in "3-33" knots?
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Old 13.03.2008, 09:52
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

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Eire,

What, in your opinion, is better suited to the conditions here: a formula board (160 liters or so) or a longboard (220-230 liters)? Have you heard of Starboard's hybrid formula boards...they're...what else...forumla/longboard hybrids that promise to function in "3-33" knots?
What standard of sailor are you? And what do you want to get out of the sport?

Personally, I would stay away from the longboard. I have raced them in the past and it was great fun, but windsurfing has advanced and the planning threshold has dropped so you can plane in 10knots of wind on a 100litre board if you want(weight and skill level dependent!).

If you want to just cruise around in very light winds and don't want to plane, or carve gybe etc. then something like the starboard serenity would be an option, but it will be more difficult to store , transport and a handfull when the wind picks up.

If you get a formula board it limits you a little bit too to just being able to sail upwind/downwind very efficiently and is also a bit of a handfull to gybe. Great if you want to get into racing or sail from one end of a lake to another, not so great if you want to cruise backwards and forwards!!!

I would go either the Freeride or Freestyle route depending on what you want to do from the sport. If you are a beginner then just rent until you are at a stage where you can waterstart.

If you let me know your skill level, and what you like/hope to do I can be more specific with advice.
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Old 13.03.2008, 15:44
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

I'm a beginner. I'll be going to Egypt in June, where I plan on learning how to windsurf...hopefully a week will be enough to pick up the basics. I don't know if it matters, but I'm a fairly strong snowboarder (no tricks really, just carving downhill fast and slashing powder if it's available), and I grew up bodyboarding in the tropics.

Height: 181, weight: 81 kg.

I plan on renting for a while, but I don't want to wait as long as I did with snowboarding to buy equipment. Riding a different board every time slowed my progress.

The more I think about kitesurfing, the scarier it is. One uncontrollable gust dragging me around or dumping me on solid land and I'd quit. I'm also interested in riding the water, not slicing through it.

Thanks for all the tips so far. While I've got your attention...any thoughts on the Kona Mini-Tanker?
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Old 13.03.2008, 16:01
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

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Hi there,

We organize through our site ohtoyou.com kitesurfing that is on Lake Como and that is great for beginners: it is a 2-day affair to get you going.

Enjoy your new sport
nice one! Thanks
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Old 13.03.2008, 16:18
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

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I'm a beginner. I'll be going to Egypt in June, where I plan on learning how to windsurf...hopefully a week will be enough to pick up the basics. I don't know if it matters, but I'm a fairly strong snowboarder (no tricks really, just carving downhill fast and slashing powder if it's available), and I grew up bodyboarding in the tropics.

Height: 181, weight: 81 kg.
I presume you are heading to Dahab or Safaga or somewhere. I guess that you will have a very steep learning curve after a week one of these places. If you go to a specialist school with good "widestyle" boards and a good insturctor then you can make a lot of progress in a week. Bear in mind however that windsurfing is not a sport you learn overnight. What attracted me to it was the challenge. Expect to be able to sail out and back, be learning how to use footstraps, and thinking about using the harness.

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I plan on renting for a while, but I don't want to wait as long as I did with snowboarding to buy equipment. Riding a different board every time slowed my progress.
This is definatley the way to go when you get back from Egypt. Renting will not effect your progress in windsurfing, and in fact could do the opposite. Many people buy a board too early and then are restricted by it as they improve. Unlike with snowboarding a beginners windsurf board is really just that, you will quickly out grow it and feel that you need to change. When I was teaching full time, I would always recommend my students to rent until they could waterstart, and had a feel for what aspect of windsurfing excited them the most. Then to buy a board that was slightly beyond them in that area.

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The more I think about kitesurfing, the scarier it is. One uncontrollable gust dragging me around or dumping me on solid land and I'd quit. I'm also interested in riding the water, not slicing through it.
Windsurfing is a special feeling. Kitesurfing is similar, but for me it doesn't provide the same balance and symmetry of power control as windsurfing. With windsurfing you are driven by the sail and you have a direct power contact to drive you along. With kitesurfing the power is much further away and much less predictable. If you learn how to windsurf and then decide to learn how to kitesurf later then the windsurfing will have stood well to you. Most of the early kitesurfers were actually windsurfers!!! Many people still do both.

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Thanks for all the tips so far. While I've got your attention...any thoughts on the Kona Mini-Tanker?
Kona mini tanker seems like a very specialised board to me. Its specialised to one of my favourite conditions to sail in. Light sideshore wind with some decent size waves to ride. Despite this I still think I would use a conventional "floaty" wave board in these conditions. For a first allround board for someone your weight who can waterstart I would suggest something like the 125 Litre Quatro freeride or the 125 F2 Stoke or Starboard Kombat 122. I haven't sailed these boards but I imagine them to be quite easy to sail. I use Quatro myself and in my opinion they are quite simply the best production boards on the market. Starboard get great reviews, but I have heard people say that they tend to bounce a bit in chop. In Switzerland you can always err towards having a little bit too much volume, so you don't need to go for two small a board.

If you have any questions just ask. I don't get to talk windsurfing that much in Switzerland
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Last edited by Eire; 14.03.2008 at 01:03.
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Old 14.03.2008, 00:36
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

I am a long time windsurfer, and instructor too, and know kites pretty well.

I would love to kitesurf, but it is just too damn dangerous. I know extremely experienced kitesurfers who have been tragically killed despite their experience. There are cases of others who survived an accidental jump from the beach across and above a large flat, and came down on the other side. In both cases, it is accidental wind gusts which just overpower a human being at the mercy of their kite.

Apart from me personally thinking the risk is not worth it, I do not think anyone should start with kitesurfing if they do not have extensive experience with windsurfing, or flying high powered kites on land. You need to get a very good feeling for the wind, and this takes time.

Second, windsurfing can be extreme fun, and the risk is much much lower. Don't buy the gear if you are a beginner, it is not worth it as you will outgrow it too quickly. Spend a week somewhere that has a rental place on the lake, and take a few days instructions. Then rent for a second week, in the 2nd year perhaps, and try out different boards to find one whose length and volume fits you best, then buy your own if you still love it.

Have fun!

Last edited by muze7; 17.03.2008 at 13:43.
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Old 14.03.2008, 22:45
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

muze: That was a sobering post. I've culled my off-piste snowboarding in order to keep my young daughter from being fatherless. Getting snatched by the wind (I grew up in hurricane country) is not something I desire. I won't bother with kiting unless the conditions and setting are nearly idiot-proof.

I won't get a board until I know what I'm doing. Any rental suggestions in CH? I'm near Aarau, so I can make it down to central CH or the western Jura without much of a hassle.
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Old 14.03.2008, 23:24
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Two places I can recommend for rental and lessons are:

Bise Noir on Murtensee
Surf Club Silvaplana

I think there is something on Halwiler or Sempachersee but can't remember the link.

Stay away from the guy who rents windsurf gear on on Urnersee, he is a complete cowboy.
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Old 15.03.2008, 00:39
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Re: Kiteboarding/Kitesurfing spots in CH?

Thanks, Eire. I'd read about the Urner Cowboy earlier.
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