What You Need to Know About Kiteboarding in Rarotonga and Aitutaki
The Cook Islands is infamous among budding kiters. The butter-flat lagoons of Aitutaki and Rarotonga combined with favourable trade winds between May and October make the islands a hotspot for kitesurfing, otherwise known as kiteboarding (as there isn’t really any surf). The main kiteboarding hotspot is Aitutaki, but those who can’t get there will find the shallow waters of the Muri Lagoon on Rarotonga are certainly nothing to turn your nose up at!
Plan your kiteboarding excursion to the Cook Islands, including where to kiteboard, kiteboarding lessons, rentals and the best season to kiteboard, in this ultimate guide to kitesurfing in the Cook Islands.
The Kitesurfing Season in the Cook Islands
When is the kitesurfing season in the Cook Islands? The best time for kitesurfing in the Cook Islands is during the trade wind season between May and October, with the best month being August. With steady low-pressure systems on the tropical belt, however, kitesurfing can be enjoyed all year round in the Cook Islands with predominantly easterly trade winds ranging from 15 to 30 knots. What’s more, lessons and gear are available to hire all year.
For more variables that might affect when you visit the Cook Islands, check out The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: A Month by Month Guide.
Kitesurfing (Kiteboarding) in Aitutaki
Aitutaki is not only considered the best place for kitesurfing in the Cook Islands but one of the best in the world. One hotspot, in particular, is Honeymoon Island (Tavake) with its long sandbar surrounded by waist-deep water unobstructed from passing trade winds. Not only is Honeymoon Island a safe environment to learn how to kiteboard, but regular water taxis to the island and a couple of kite centres set up on the island during the kiteboarding season mean that even seasoned riders can enjoy effortless excursions to the island.
Kiteboarding Schools in Aitutaki
There are two highly regarded kiteboarding schools in Aitutaki taking advantage of the favourable conditions of Honeymoon Island which provides plenty of space for not only learning kiteboarding but for progression. Starting with Wet & Wild, the crew offer two-hour, six-hour and eight-hour private lesson packages with one instructor per one or two people. The packages include water taxis, a safety boat, all kite gear and a personal instructor. Private kite lessons with your own gear are also available.
South Pacific Kiteboarding (or Kiteboarding Aitutaki) offers lessons under the IKO (International Kiteboarding Organisation) format, with IKO levels 1, 2 and 3 available. Your certified instructor offers introductory lessons to get a feel for the sport with all the transfers, kite gear and tuition included. Otherwise, the full beginner’s course (IKO levels 1 and 2) includes tuition, transfers, all kite gear and use of the kite centre and safety boat. The course usually takes three days. IKO level 3 is available and takes an additional day to complete. Wing and kite foiling lessons are also available.
Aitutaki Kite Gear Rentals
Both Wet & Wild and South Pacific Kiteboarding offer kite rentals for those who want to kiteboard independently. Usually, instructors will give you a short assessment to see if you are capable of independently kitesurfing before they will allow a full-day hire. A variety of kites, boards, harnesses, helmets and buoyancy aids are available. Full gear rental (kite, bar and lines, board, harness and pump) is approximately NZ$150 a day.
Honeymoon Island Transfers
Honeymoon Island is approximately a 20-minute boat ride from the main island of Aitutaki. Transfers with South Pacific Kiteboarding are approximately NZ$40 per person year-round, while Wet & Wild charges NZ$35 between June and October and NZ$70 outside of the kiteboarding season. Note that there is typically just one transfer to the island and back per company per day, so take all you need to the island for the whole day, including a hat, towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, reef shoes, camera, water and snacks or food (unless you’re buying food on the island at the kite centres).
Kitesurf Centres on Honeymoon Island
Aitutaki’s kiteboarding operators each have a kite centre on Honeymoon Island. They operate during the kite season with regular water taxis, storage for kiters, a safety boat and a shelter with barbecue food and drinks for sale and music.
Yes, the kitesurfing is so good in Aitutaki that it even hosts its own kiteboarding festival every August. The five-day competition for kitesurfing, oe vaka (outrigger canoeing), SUP and swimming can be enjoyed from Ootu Beach and Honeymoon Island where there are also traditional food and crafts at the Manureva Night Market and a closing ceremony with captivating fire dancing. Check out more epic events in the 10 Biggest Festivals in the Cook Islands.
Ready to go to Aitutaki? Plan your trip using The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki.
Kitesurfing (Kiteboarding) on Rarotonga
The Muri Lagoon is the place to kiteboard on Rarotonga where kite gear rentals and lessons are available all year round. There’s public access to the beach where it is shallow enough to walk away from shore while there’s plenty of space for new and experienced kiters. What’s more, the lagoon on the southeast coast is perfectly situated to catch the prevailing southeast winds.
Kiteboarding Schools on Rarotonga
The most established kiteboarding school on Rarotonga, KiteSUP based is on Muri Beach. They offer one-on-one tuition with an introductory two-hour lesson and the option to do a six-hour lesson package of two hours a day over three days.
KiteSUP’s initial two-hour lesson covers spot assessment, gear set-up, safety systems and basic flying skills. Should you find that kiteboarding is definitely the sport for you, the six-hour lesson package will get you progressing safely and quickly. You’ll be up and riding short distances in no time!
Alternatively, Ariki Adventures also offers kitesurfing lessons from Muri Beach. Either get a taste for kitesurfing with their two-hour kite flying introductory lesson or learn about rigging a kite and getting up and riding with their five-hour course over two lessons.
Rarotonga Kite Gear Rentals
Kiteboarding gear is available to hire with KiteSUP to use on the Muri Lagoon only. They have a range of gear from Ozone, ASP and Dakine which will be chosen by KiteSUP depending on the best gear to use for the conditions of the day. Two-hour full-gear hire costs approximately NZ$130. Note that there will be an assessment at the start of your hire where you will need to demonstrate that you are able to rig the gear correctly, self-launch and ride upwind. Your instructor will point out the best spot to ride independently (or give you the option to upgrade to a private lesson, if needed).
Other Kite Sports in the Cook Islands
Kiteboarding is not the only way to harness the elements in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Because of the favourable kiting conditions of the lagoons, it is also possible to take wing (winging) lessons with South Pacific Kiteboarding in Aitutaki or with KiteSUP on Rarotonga.
In Aitutaki also, South Pacific Kiteboarding and Sailing Aitutaki offer kite foiling lessons and gear hire.
Windsurfing is also available in Aitutaki with Sailing Aitutaki, who offers windsurfing hire from Ootu Beach. Find out more in our guide, Windsurfing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: The Top 10 Places to Windsurf.
For more watersports, check out the 10 Best Water Activities in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
More About Kitesurfing in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
That’s it for our ultimate guide to kitesurfing and kiteboarding in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands. Discover more amazing watersports and activities on the islands listed in the guides below:
- 10 Best Boat & Sailing Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- SUP in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: 5 Best Places for Paddleboarding
- The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, complete your bucket list with the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List and plan the rest of your holiday logistics using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.