Sophie Pitios Northern Cyprus Kitesurfing Kite camp review
Sophie Pitois is French, she has been living and working in the UK as a marine scientist for over 20 years. A self confessed "kite camp junkie" and a perpetual traveller/kiteboarder. Having been part of alot of great kite camps throughout the world including Kite camps in Cape Verde 3 x, Brazil 3 x, Sri Lanka 1 x, Dakla Morocco 1 x, Coche Venzuala 1 x Cozumel, Mexico 1 x. She decided to come along with KiteboardingUK and give Northern Cyprus kite camp a go. Here is her review. And observations. Its October and we flew in this time via Pegasus Airlines. Sophie liked it so much that she booked her 2nd trip in April 2nd 2016 Kite Camp.
Pegasus Airlines flight from Stansted to Lefkosa in Northern Cyprus
Cost £230 (October 2015) with 20kg baggage allowance
£30 for surfboard each way
Flight duration is 6hrs and include a stop in Istanbul but staying in the plane. This is because Northern Cyprus is an embargoed country and only flight from Turkey can land there. There the possibility to fly to Lanarka in Southern Cyprus (part of EU) which would reduce the duration of the flight to about 3hrs, but increase the transfer to resort by 1hrs.
Transfer to resort: 1hr-1.30hrs by car. It's not that far in mileage but it's literally littered with speed cameras.
Car hire: we had a ford focus for £209 for the 11-12 days we were there. A 4x4 is ideal but very difficult to obtain I am told (very popular). Petrol there is cheap, I think I estimated at 70p per liter.
Accommodation: is 1-3 bedrooms apartments with full kitchen, fridge, aircon and everything you need. So self-catering. Cleaning is optional and 15 a pop. Water and Electricity are charged separately but I think Water was an extra £10 after 10 days and electricity £30 I think for the apartment.
Other facilities on the resort include a 25m outdoor swimming pool which is fab to start the day with a few lengths, an smaller indoor and heated swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, yoga studio, conference room and ping-pong table (we like that). There are also a few bicycles free to borrow. Professional deep tissue massage is also available to relieve those sore muscle after a day on the water and I've tested it for you so I know it is good. It's extra and about 40 for a full hour.
There is also a cash machine which issues Euros, Brit Pounds and Turkish Liras (the official local combo).
There is however a very good restaurant next to the pool which can accommodates all meals. I am told that for a group they could do an inclusive breakfast so they are happy to help and provide whatever is requested. The food at the restaurant is excellent and reasonably priced: main courses are about £6 in average, a juicy baby beef steak (just like you like them) is £10. They also make a totally wicket chocolate fondant for £3. Beer is £1.60 for a 500ml bottle of EFES. A cheaper way to eat is in the local town which is about 10mn drive away from the resort; food there goes from the shish kebab (better than the British version) to fabulous local sea food. Beer is town goes down to £1 for an EFES bottle.
The wind is mostly dependant on thermals. It can be closed to 0 knots in the early morning with either a super flat sea of a nice wee wave if the swell has built up. From 11am onward it start building up and this can happen very quickly so that within ½ hour it blows a good 20 knots. So 11am is 9m moving on to 7m before you had a chance to warm up. At 3pm it could be time to get the 5m out, or simply keep on holding to the 7m and practice big air. Kiting continues well into the sunset.
That is the regular pattern, of course there are days where it doesn't happen, just like everywhere else. However I'm told that between May and September things are pretty consistent. We did have some off days in October, which was replaced by surfing and/or SUPing.
The water: it is warm !!! I was kiting in board short in October and I was never cold. A shorty might be handy for those of a more sensitive nature in long session. The water is also very clear, which I found quite something being used to the murky waters of the UK east coast or even the Caribbean.
Kitesurf spots: there are a few beaches around:
- Right at the resort: The wind is normally onshore. Launching and landing happens on the lawn next to the pool. There is a nice wave at times, and some long beach but full of pebbles . It makes Briton beach look smooth. They actually have a sandy beach right in front of the hotel but there is a little reef to pass when getting started. This couldn't work for beginners or someone not quite upwind yet.
- The surfhouse: about 10mn drive from the resort. It is also the windiest spot as right in the middle of a venture effect between mountains. The surfhouse is run by a local call Ugur Sayilir (you can check his facebook for windy posts as he is public). Ugur must be the coolest dude on the planet: lives in a caravan at the surfhouse, where beer and various beverage are served, food as well and I'm told a wicked burger can be found. Ugur also works as a paramedic and is the only person I ever met who actually kites to work, where he can land his kite on the lawn in front of the hospital. Parties are also organised at the surfhouse with very loud music and sometimes live bands. The locals call this spot the "flat spot" and it is indeed quite flat. Wind at the surfhouse is cross onshore so perfect. Launching and landing is very dodgy: happens on a carpet in between caravans, then a little walk to the water trying not to sprain an ankle in those massive pebbles. However you get used to it !!! Kiting is great there though with clear blue water and nice consistent wind. There is a jetski at the surfhouse in case of trouble.
Because the surfhouse is only about 6 miles from the resort, it is possible to downwind it back home. I've done it, it's great and lot of wildlife about flying fish and at the right time of the year turtles.
The surfhouse: The windiest spot is 10mn drive from the hotel. Cross-onshore wind, pebbles on the beach and carpet area for lauching/landing. Jetski available for rescues
- Caretta beach: about 45 min drive from the resort. Caretta (latin name for turtle) is a very long sandy beach and is where the turtle (Caretta caretta) comes to lay their eggs every year (July I think). Wind is onshore there, but once the waves have been passed, it is great. Actually load of flat water in between. It's also shallow (waist level) so perfect to practice tricks.
Caretta beach: 30-45mn drive from the resort. Onshore wind but a nice wave and a sandy beach. Food and refreshments available there.
Overall a great place with some priceless unspoilt kiting spots. Great people and food and cheap beer (they even put a plate of chips as well if you're lucky). Northern Cyprus deserves attention but don't tell everyone, we don't want it to spoil it with overcrowding as some of the famous spots.