a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Kiteboarding in South Padre (SPI) Continued – Part 2
Kiteboarding in South Padre (SPI) Continued – Part 2

Kiteboarding in South Padre (SPI) Continued – Part 2

Kite Gear in Detail

We traveled to South Padre with JoVanna in Decemeber. If you haven’t met her yet, “JoVanna” is our kickass KiteVan.

On previous shorter trips to South Padre for kiteboarding, I had struck out and was skunked by light wind conditions. This time, I brought a 17M and long lines just in case. If you are flying, the baggage weight (a 50 lbs. limit for most airlines) dictates the number of kites and what boards you can bring. WHEN YOU TRAVEL BY VAN AND YOU ARE KITEBOARDING. YOU TAKE ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU OWN. WHY NOT?

Packing for Kiteboarding in South Padre
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Packing the Van

Wind in South Padre

When kiteboarding in South Padre, the winds can vary a lot from day-to-day depending on the weather moving through. The winds can be “Nukin”(over 30 knots) or “Marginal Light-Wind” (less than 15 knots).  Like many places, the winds are usually strongest in the Spring or Fall. To make the most of this Winter trip, I tried to prepare for whatever mother nature had in store. Which means, I overpacked. Below is a short list of what I took.

Gear List for this Trip:

Kite Quiver

  • 17M
  • 14M
  • 12M
  • 10M
  • 8M

Board Quiver

  • 140cm Twin Tip
  • 144cm Twin Tip
  • 4’10” Foil Board
  • 5’6” Surf Board


  • 5/4 Full Wetsuit
  • 3/2 Full Wesuit
  • Wetsuit Booties
  • Lifejacket
  • Helmet

My Experience on SPI in 2020

Guess what? I lucked out this time! I was able to kiteboard all but two days. The winds were often above 15-knots and went up into the high 20-knot range. It also stayed this way for a few days at a time. I only used the 17M kite once…

WHAT???? In Michigan, I am used to flying big, slow kites. I found that most of the time I could just switch boards or use a different bar with longer lines when the winds lightened up. No one really likes to pump up another kite, especially if they don’t have to! I’m convinced that pumping up kites is the hardest part of kiteboarding.

New Year’s Eve Session

The last day kiting in SPI, the wind was out of the north and hovering somewhere in the high teen/low twenty knot range. We ended up at the South Flats/Convention Center. This is where I found a “magical” kite/board/line-length combo. I used a 10M five-strut kite with 24M lines and a 144cm X 46cm twin-tip.

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Sunset Session

At first, the wind stayed over 20 knots, but by the end of the session, it had dropped below 20 knots. There were a lot of guys out there using 14M kites, but my 10M kite with the long lines was working just fine for me. I just needed a few extra power strokes (larger up & down motions in the wind-window) during the lulls.

Kiteboarding in South Padre
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New Year’s Eve Session

What Kite and Board Combo?

Correct kite size is helpful, but correct line-length and board surface-area is equally important. There is a local in SPI that kites five days a week, and he only uses two kites (a 9M and 12M). So if you are flying or driving to SPI and your space is limited. Don’t worry. Below are a couple of potential gear lists that could help you pack, but keep in mind that rider weight and rider experience do play a role as well.

Limited to a Two-Kite and One-Board set-up? Bring these:

  • 8M or 9M Kite (depending on rider weight) x1
  • 12M or 14M Kite (depending on rider weight) x1
  • Twin-Tip (with a lot of surface area, but not a door) or Surf-Board x1
  • 20” Bar (setup for 20M or 24M Lines) x1
  • Harness x1

Limited to a Three-Kite and One-Board set-up? Bring these:

  • 7M Kite x1
  • 9M Kite x1
  • 12M Kite x1
  • Twin-Tip (with a lot of surface area, but not a door) or Surf-Board x1
  • 20” Bar (setup for 20M or 24M Lines) x1
  • Harness x1
Kiteboarding in South Padre
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Me and My Favorite Board

Foil-boards are session savers

If you are comfortable riding a foil-board, you may even be able to make use of a one-kite/one-board set-up. For this you could pack a 9M or 10M Kite (depending on rider weight) and bring a dual-function convertible foilboard/surfboard. Use the foil-board for light winds (choose a moderate aspect foil with an 18″ or 24″ mast) and use as a surfboard for low tides. This gives you a lot of options depending on the conditions without changing kite size much. However, the foil gear itself may eat up a lot of your packing space.

The truth about Kiteboarding is THAT “you use what you have and you make it work.”That doesn’t mean you should recklessly use a large-kite in high-winds just because it’s the only kite you have. It simply means that sometimes you can use a much smaller kite with better board selection and proper line length. Overall, the twin-tip/surfboard combo can help a lot here. So when the winds pick-up, use the twin-tip. If the winds lighten-up, use the surfboard.

The wind conditions can often be finicky and challenging with kiteboarding, making kite size selections and gear selections tricky. Hopefully, this post has been helpful in this area.

Kiteboarding in South Padre
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Kite View of SPI

Come back for more kite-related gear lists, reviews, insights and other travel adventures. Check out where to kiteboarding in South Padre in Part 1.

Thanks for following. ~KiteBikeVan


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