Charleston Kiteboarding has come a long way since 2000 when it first showed up on our beaches. It was only a matter of time since Charleston SC has excellent conditions for the sport. As with many places, kiteboarding was first adopted by windsurfers, but it wasn't long before people from other sports began to migrate to kiteboarding. Soon, the sport was attracting scores of people, growing year over year, as thrill seekers heard the siren song of the sport and answered the call to harness the wind, skim across the water, and jump into the sky.
Today, Charleston is widely known as one of the best places to kite on the east coast. With consistent sea breezes during the summertime, Charleston's wide unobstructed beaches, warm water, and sandbars that offer waves on the outside and flat butter smooth waters on the inside, Charleston has a lot to offer kiteboarders of all skill levels. But it's not just the conditions that make kiteboarding extraordinary here; good old fashioned southern hospitality is at its best in the Holy City. The camaraderie and inclusive spirit of our kiteboarders are second to none. You won't find localism here, Charleston kiteboarders are welcoming and warm, always ready to give a launch, set up a downwinder, or go out for an after session beer to share a story or two at one of our island bars.
Charleston has a number of barrier islands, both populated and unpopulated, so you can enjoy showing off for the crowd or experience riding on the edge of civilization. Most riders go to one of our two main kite beaches, Station 28.5 on Sullivan's Island or 3rd Avenue on the Isle of Palms depending on the tide and wind conditions. If you want to enjoy the thrill of riding downwind without care for holding your ground, a downwinder is a great way to experience the beautiful coastline. Popular downwinders are, in order of length, Station 28.5 to 3rd Ave on the IOP, 28.5 to 51st IOP, and the lighthouse on SI to 51st IOP. These are just suggestions as you can go make your downwinder as long or short as you want. More adventurous riders sometimes take off from somewhere on Folly Beach to cross the harbor after riding across Folly and uninhabited Morris Island with its picturesque Morris Island Lighthouse sitting precariously out in the waves. If you can find a boat you can also keep riding right past the IOP, and stop at Dewees Island (lightly populated), Capers Island (unpopulated), or Bulls Island (unpopulated).
One of the beautiful things about kiting Charleston's barrier islands is that between any two of them at low tide you'll find sandbars that offer flat water on the inside and waves on the outside. These sandbar formations are ideal for kiting as they let you get away from the crowded beach as well as the main crowd of kiteboarders. The sandbars between Kiawah and Folly, Folly and Morris, Sullivan's and IOP, IOP and Dewees, Dewees and Capers, and Capers and Bulls, are amazingly beautiful and just awesome to kite. Expect to find waves on the outside that are considerably bigger than the waves that break on the beach proper.
Another thing that is great about kiting in Charleston is there are few rules as to where you can and can't kiteboard. Since Charleston kiteboarding is essentially self-policing, provided that you are competent and courteous, you won't be hassled as long as you keep a safe distance from swimmers and beachgoers. There are some rules, so be sure to familiarize yourself with this guide
. Also, here is a PDF of riding locations in different wind directions