Chile and the search for new spots…
I am used to teaching a riding in relatively calm spots. Aside from a current in Savannah, we had a lot of flat water to teach in. Miami and Aruba gave me flat, clear blue waters (and arguably, Miami is one of the easiest places for an instructor to work).
So, coming to Chile and finding a coast and an ocean where the only word I can find at first glance is… raw… is much different. The coast here is riddled with rocks and pounding waves and the ocean seems like she is angry with you. She could either give you a great day or a horrible one, but either way, you must have respect.
But the description I just gave was, as I said, at first glance. I have been searching, exploring and finding secrets about this coastline that surprise, excite and leave me in a bit of awe. So, I wanted to share our most recent expedition with you because I think it has been the most productive… and the most promising.
We started the weekend a little late (which..by the way…right now I am in a middle point as there is a truck to use, but I’m still learning how to drive manual, so I must wait for the weekends for Miguel to drive…soon, soon I will master it!). I had needed to show my 2013 kites to a prospective buyer as I am getting in the 2014 stock in the beginning of November. After showing the kites, we hit the road headed for Pichidangui. It is a small town north of Santiago situated in a bay. While most of the coastline is quite rough, the satellite images of this spot looked promising to us. It wasn’t long and in two hours, we arrived.
At first, we drove along the beach and found a place to stop where the wind started to clean up. It was a perfect side shore wind, which according to wind archives, they get a lot of. Unfortunately for us, the wind was the “teaser” kind. It was just not quite enough for the 12 meter we had with us, which was the biggest size. The forecasts had said this, but there is something to be said for hoping!
While there is a bit of shorebreak here, it is incredibly small and you can walk out a decent distance before it gets deep. The most valuable thing here is that the bay is completely protected! On the north side of the bay, more waves start to come in, but for the rest..it is a flat water paradise!
If you drive up the beach far enough, you will find a small lagoon. I am stoked to try this spot out. It’s shallow and butter flat. There are some underwater obstacles that we need to clear out (the most obvious being part of a tree sticking out of the water…not the best thing to hit).
Farther up the coast near Los Vilos is a shipping center for a mining company. What is interesting here is a lagoon that is bigger than the one in Pichidangui. It has the unfortunate reality of being fenced off, but..that seems to be more like a suggestion here. Unlike Pichidangui that is situated in a bay, this lagoon is maybe 50 feet away from the shoreline over some dunes. When you get wind at this spot, the lagoon will be perfect.
Finally, we found a spot on the way home. Ironically, we were just driving and I had noticed the wind in the trees. We were also looking for good land kiting spots, so I was keeping an eye out for fields that looked promising….and there it was…a small lake! After a few wrong turns and about 15 minutes, we had found the entrance to the lake (also fenced off). As we discovered when we walked up, everyone else also took the fence as a suggestion! It turns out that this lake is actually a feeder for crops and livestock. Aside from taking water out of the lake, the owners have no issue with people using the area (in fact, it is a windsurfing spot currently). We found two spots to launch from that were big and clear enough to set up. The wind was stronger here than on the coast, but much more gusty. As we didn’t have much daylight left, we decided to leave this spot for another day (but I will definitely be dreaming about it!).
I have always taught in established spots. People had taught there before and there was a “scene”. Here, while there is a kiteboarding scene, there isn’t much in the way of instructors. So, that leaves me with finding adequate spots where I can safely teach students. While it seemed like a monumental task at first, the more I explore, the more positive and stoked I am about the spots, the country, helping to further develop the community of kiteboarders!
If you are interested in kiteboarding in Chile, or are interested in my travel guide services for your next kite trip, visit me at Gente del Viento Boardsports (gdvchile.com)!