Hotspot focus – Ramsgate Kent
Ramsgate has been a venue on the British Kitesurfing Championships event calendar for a number of years now.
With lovely golden sands and with the backdrop of the chalky white cliffs, Ramsgate’s microclimate means there is every kind of water and wind condition, making it suitable for beginners right through to advanced kiters.
On the Southeast Coast of England, Ramsgate is home to the only Royal Harbour in the UK. It has its own microclimate, making it one of the warmest places in the UK, and it has a distinctly continental feel about it with restaurants, bars and cafes nestling the waterfront around the marina and beach promenade.
Ramsgate has every kind of water condition dependent on the wind direction – from butter flat sandbanks to insane waves. The beauty of the Ramsgate coastline is that if the conditions aren’t quite right, it’s just a short 10 minute drive to somewhere on the Isle of Thanet that is.
For kiters, the Ramsgate coastline is suitable for learners right through to advanced kiters this unique little corner of Britain has the lot. It’s also renowned for its vast array of outdoor activities – so it’s a great place for those that love being active and trying out new sports.
It’s also one of the venues of the BKSA Freestyle Championships and the town is actively investing in and encouraging kitesurfing in the area, making it a great venue to visit.
What’s the kiting like?
There are three main places to kite in Ramsgate:
Ramsgate Main Sands
This works in all directions from NE to SW through East. On a NE the waves roll in perfectly from the left giving great kickers for boosting or wave riding. When it turns south it’s less clean but still a lot of fun. Kitesurfing legend and 2016 Big Air Vice World Champion Lewis Crathern broke the then British record jumping a whopping 22.3 metres off Ramsgate Main Sands! Avoid 2 hours either side of high tide.
The Sandbank is a mile out to sea and should only be accessed by advanced kiters who can get themselves out of trouble if the worst happens. New(ish) kit that is not going to snap or burst is a must. Once out there, you have butter flat water on the back of the Sandbank and beautiful onshore waves to ride which make it by far the best pace to kite locally.
It is wise to never kite alone, or ensure someone knows where you are, and check the conditions are suitable for your ability level.
Pegwell Bay – Western Undercliff
The first thing to note about Pegwell Bay is that it’s a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and a NNR (National Nature Reserve) which means that to minimise disturbance to birds and habitats in this fragile ecosystem, kitesurfing is only permitted here at certain times of the year, from specific launch points and when the wind is SW4-7. Notices about where to walk when heading out to kite are located at 3 or 4 prominent locations in the Bay.
Walking on the mud flats is strictly prohibited at any time of the year, as is kiting through the winter months. A respect for marine life is a must, and before heading here, please read the Kitesurfing Agreement which allows kiters to keep visiting the area as long as we all abide by the guide.
Once on the water, Pegwell Bay works from ENE to WSW. Try to avoid 1 hour either side of high tide as it can get quite choppy. It’s a very shallow shelving beach so great for learners and advanced kiters alike.
Western Undercliff is the preferred place to launch as it’s located just outside the NNR boundary. It’s the low tide launch spot and so the water is always calmer and flatter. It works through the same directions as Pegwell Bay but it’s at its most epic east through to south as the space between the waves is great for free style or jumping huge. You can cruise for miles from Ramsgate right across the Bay to Sandwich in this direction.
What’s the wind and water like?
The predominant wind direction in Ramsgate is SSW to WSW. All the summer months tend to stick to this as the wind blows up the English Channel from the Atlantic. In summer it’s usually around 14-25 kts but the unpredictability of the wind means it could be less or considerably more depending on whichever high or low pressure system happens to be blowing through. The air temperature is typically 17-28℃.
In winter, we tend to get more easterly and north easterly winds. These bring the temperature right down but the wind speed right up. The north storms are what most local riders really look forward to. Air temperature is typically 0-14℃. If you are looking for waves to ride you want NE at Ramsgate. This knocks up dreamy lefts of 2 – 3 meters high. Consequently, Ramsgate Main Sands is not great for learners and gets deep quite quickly. The Sandbank is for advanced kiters only. Pegwell Bay and Western Undercliff are, however, lovely and shallow so great for both learners and advanced alike. Always check the forecast before you arrive and when choosing your kite. It’s best to bring all your kit as it could be a 12m day or a 7m day all in the space of 24 hours!
Are there any kite schools?
The Kite Pirates Kite School is based in Ramsgate and teaches all levels of lessons from beginners to jump coaching. Most lessons are done on a 1:1 basis but tailored group sessions are always available. They use all brand new 2021/2022 Duotone equipment which is also available for rent if you are a competent rider. No safety boat cover is provided as on shore wind is always readily available. Kite Pirates also offer Stand Up Paddle Board lessons and hire from the concession on Ramsgate Main Sands, along with Sun Rise and Sun Set guided small group paddles
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07739 369531
Don’t just take our word for it…
Kitesurfing legend Lewis Crathern, 2016 Big Air Vice World Champion and 4 x British Champion, has kited at Ramsgate many times and in November 2016 off Ramsgate Main Sands broke the then British record for the highest jump – a whopping 22.3 metres.
Many British Champions (Pro & Junior) including George Dufty, Max Tullet, Toby Cooke, Alex Wallis, Holly Keenan, Rachael Hooper and Jasmine Wallis have kited in Ramsgate as it has been a venue for the BKSA British Freestyle Kitesurfing Championships since 2018.
“Ramsgate is a beautiful place to kitesurf, and I would visit there anytime, kitesurfing works quite well off the beach. I went there for the strength of the winds, also access to the beach is very good from a kitesurfing perspective. And it’s a beautiful place, the big white cliffs there, it’s a nice place to be riding. I feel very welcome here.”