About Our insider Asia's fastest lady windsurfer Nenette Graf has been the Philippine windsurfing champion for 18 of her 22 years in windsurfing. She was 11-time champion of the Ladies Slalom at the Boracay International Funboard Cup leg of the Asian Windsurfing Tour; eight-time Action Asia Speed Trials champion in windsurfing with a 52.48 knot speed record; champion in the Ladies Class in Jeju Korea 2001 (course racing); and champion in Ladies Class in Jeju Korea 2002 (Slalom). Graf is recognized as the founder and organizer of the longest running and most successful annual international sporting event in Asia and the Philippines’ biggest, the Boracay International Funboard Cup. Graf's Greenyard Center, together with friends Chris Awe from Guam and Angel Parzhuber from Germany, opened the first kitesurfing school in Boracay in November 2002.
1 Boracay’s Bulabog Beach (east beach of Boracay)
November to April is the best time to kiteboard here when the waters are shallow and flat on shore. It's a reef-protected lagoon and one of the best spots in the world for kiteboarding.
Category: Safest for learning. Beginner to pro.
Getting there: It’s an hour’s flight from either Manila or Clark, or Cebu to Kalibo or Caticlan. From Caticlan, take a 10-minute boat ride to Boracay Island.
Where to book: Hangin Kiteboarding Center (www.kiteboardingboracay.com)
Hangin’s Boracay Kiteresort (www.kite-asia.com) has 11 rooms to accommodate kitesurfers and friends. Reiseling Boracay Bach Resort, located right in front of the famous Boracay rock at Greenyard/Hangin Compound in Bulabog will open in December 2012. On White Beach, there are a number of resorts to choose from (www.inflight.ph/boracay-guide). An affordable and convenient option is Boracay Beach Resort (www.boracaybeachresort.com).
Events: Bulabog has been playing host for seven years now to the annual Boracay Big Air Challenge of the Boracay International Funboard Cup as well as the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) and All Chicks Kite Camp with international kite superstar Susi Mai.
2 Ilocos Norte’s Kingfisher Beach (Pagudpud)
Best from October to April. This is considered one of the world’s best spots for wave riding (side shore, right hander), with flat clear water, consistent wind at minimum 25-35 knots, incredible waves from a friendly 2m to a challenging 5m-6m, and exclusive spot that can accommodate 10 to 15 kiters at a time. Kite downwinders — a rider taking off a kilometer from shore, going full speed — is a must here, done with a buddy and a van to pick you up wherever the wind and waves take you. The Cabrinha team headed by Mike Raper discovered this wave treasure spot when Graf visited in 2010 after hearing stories about it from Fabrice Beaux, a recognized wave finder. Pagudpud is now Asia’s Maui and written about in most kitesurfing magazines, websites and social media.
Category: Beginner to advance.
Getting there: Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Laoag (www.philippineairlines.com) and a two-hour drive to Greenyard Kite and Windsurf school at Kingfisher Resort.
Where to book: Kingfisher Resort (www.kingfisherbeach.com)
is the only resort in the area with a kite and windsurf set up run by NeilPryde international pro wave rider Fabrice Beaux. Other resorts for overnight stays are Kapuluan (www.kapuluanvista.com) and Saud (www.saudbeachresort.com) resorts, located 30-45 minutes away from Kingfisher.
Events: The annual Chicks Kite Camp with the world’s best kitesurfer Susi Mai. Kingfisher had been visited by Cabrinha international team riders Susi Mai, the legendary Pete Cabrinha, third kitesurfer in the world Alby Rondina, Keahi Aboitiz, Reo Stevens, Kitecamp expert Julian Hosp and many other international professional riders.
3 Union Beach in Malay, Aklan
Located about 30 minutes away from Boracay Island and 10 minuntes from Caticlan Airport, this kiteboard spot is good for speed, freestyle and small wave riding with its on shore wind and reef protected flat water.
Category: Beginner to advance. Safe for learning because it is not crowded and the water is shallow, protected by a reef.
Getting there: Take a 10-minute tricycle ride from Caticlan Airport. From Kalibo Airport, it’s a one-hour-and-thirty-minute travel by hired van (contact Mr. Rochel Moises +6336/262-0307 for landline; +639154497567 or +639298116653 for mobile).
Where to book: Mangoriders (www.mangoriders.com) or Bahari Beach Resort (www.facebook.com/BahariBeachResort), actor-host Marc Nelson’s resort. Most kiters stay in Boracay and just go on a day trip or kite across the channel from Bulabog to Union and back.
4 Ilocos Norte’s Bangui Beach
Some of the best kiteboard action shots have been taken here with the famous Bangui Windmill in the background. The beach has side shore wind — lesser than Kingfisher's but with qualities similar to it — and shore breaks great for wave riding.
Category: For level two riders or a rider learning to jump. Level three riders — riders are confident enough to go upwind and start first jumps — can also use this spot as training ground, learning to tackle smaller waves.
Getting there: Fly to Laoag City from where you can hire a van to take you to the town of Bangui. From Laoag, take the main road that leads to Pagudpud. For more information, visit www.inflight.ph/wild-north.
Where to book: Kingfisher Resort (www.kingfisherbeach.com).
5 Seco Island, Tibiao, Antique
This spot is uninhabited and hard to get to and so it remains a hidden gem. Seco Island is only visited by fishermen to sun dry their fish. It has a 1.5km stretch of sand and shallow clear blue water. For kitesurfers, the island provides strong, consistent wind, shallow and clear water with sand banks perfect for jumping and aerial tricks.
Category: Level three to advance.
Getting there: Charter a bus from Caticlan to Tibiao Town in Antique and hire a motorboat for a two-hour-and-thirty-minute ride to Seco Island. Chartered boats from Boracay to Seco take four to five hours.
Where to book: Only basic camping is available for kiters who wish to spend the night. Kiters also have to take their own kites and equipment including food and other essentials. For a one-stop-shop, book a kite safari through Hangin Kiteboarding Center (Cabrinha and North (www.kiteboardingboracay.com), or Pinas Kiteboarding (www.pinaskiteboarding.com) and Freestyle Academy (www.freestyle-boracay.com)