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Offshore Kitesurfing

created on: 2011-06-05

We found a unique place to kitesurf. On a sailing trip from New Zealand to Tonga we stopped on the southern Minerva Reef where we got two nice sessions of kitesurfing with quite strong wind.

The Minerva Reefs are a group of two submerged atolls that belong to Tonga. At low tide there are a few dry rocks but at high tide you see nothing but water.

Launching a kite from a boat is not too easy; especially running the lines is quite tricky. To our luck we were not the only kitesurfers there. We met a family on a big catamaran who kitesurfed too and let us launch from their boat.


So after we ran the lines all around the boat to sort them out. Three carabineer in the corners of the boat prevented them from being messed up by the wind. Then we attached them straight away to the kite before pumping it. This happened in the back of the boat on one of the hulls. After the kite was pumped we just threw it into the water and did a re-launch while sitting on the boat. I have to admit that kitesurfing in the middle of the ocean, without any land in sight and with knowing that the next island is around 200km away, is a bit scary in the beginning. So we had to trust in the guys from the Catamaran Tyee to pick us up with their dingy in case we couldn’t make it back to the boat.

How to get to the Minerva Reef you may ask?

At the end of the cyclone season in the south pacific a lot of boats sail from New Zealand to Tonga or to Fiji. And some of them might stop at the Minerva Reef. As they are always looking for crew you might get a ride. Most of them ask you to contribute towards food and fuel costs. The places to find them in New Zealand are the marinas of Opua, Whangarei or Auckland.
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Tags

Kitesurfing, New Zealand, Tonga, sailing, yacht, Minerva Reef

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