I had a chance to head over to Cabarete to finally Wing Foil there. I have been kiting there in the waves longer than i need to tell. I go to kite beach and usually base out of Optimal Kite which Kelvin runs and has a great set up , gear and lessons. Great place to launch from and do freestyle kite, foil or ride the waves at reef.
So the mission was to wing foil and i would say kite beach is a bit tight with lots of kiters, some shore break and shallow reef, so if you don't know how to get out of the channel i would not recommend it unless you are an advanced rider.
I took a flight from Miami on American Airlines. I had a mystic board bag i got from Mac Kites that was a 5'9 and i packed a 5'4 Cabrinha code (with foam noodles) a 1200 cabrinha foil and a 1000 with a fusion 90 mast, all parts and 2 wings in bag( cabrinha x3 4 meter and a Dakine Cyclone 5 meter and it weighed just at 50 pounds. I can check 2 bags so there was no charge, said it was surfboard. If i wanted to check it with only 1 bag free it was 45$.
I dropped my gear at Vela Cabarete with Jens which is in town down at the corner of the bay. He was great, he stored my gear for the week, gave me a tab for food and drink ( which was cheap and really good) and then walked me through all the different sections of the bay, channel, reef, out reef and more. Because the wind there is side off you don't get full wind at 12 pm for about 50 meters so there really isn't any kiting there. Its an easy walk in, on your board an go to the wind line which is there is a white buoy for reference and off you go. Plenty of wind swell on inside, channel has much bigger wind swell, reef has waves and out beyond reef really big wind swell. The reef even at low tide had 6 foot of clearance, i never had any issues. I would start at noon on my 5 meter wing and by 3 pm had to get the 4 meter, some days earlier. i am 180 pounds, to give a reference. I would do a 2 hour session, rehydrate and go and do another.
The staff there and the local wing foilers are really great and its a chill vibe. Lots of wind surfers as well.
I watched there system for lessons, my wife took them and did really good( she will write a review of what she learned and what worked for her separate). The have a great spot to teach so people learn wing control. I saw all levels male and female progressing like crazy. So this is great to bring someone who wants to learn or to be honest the place is great to hang out and chill under cover or on the beach.
I can't say enough about Jens, we compared the start of this sport to kiteboarding and talked about what's next progression, spots around the world that are not used, wave riding and free style. He has a lot of experience from being there so long and is a good person to discuss all aspects of wing foiling.
So in summary if you are going to Cabarete and want to really be in the perfect place, get local knowledge every day, spots to ride, advise, food, drink and be able to relax and know your gear is safe go to Vela Cabarete and enjoy as much time as you want on the water! The summer will be so windy this year dont miss it!
side note i have a condo at Dulce Vida by kite beach, there are alot of great places to stay depending on budget and beach or not. Either way you can take a moto for 200 pesos to where ever you need and get some great food all over. If you need any recommendations for food ect let me know. Cant wait to go back!!!!
Thanks for this awesome writeup. Really great info. I'm thinking of cabatere beginning of october and vela is my first choice since they offer lessons and rentals (I don't have a full quiver and would rather not travel with gear) At the beginning of your review you mention that kitebeach is challenging for beginners but later say that vela has a good area for beginner/progression and you can walk out to the windline? Im currently learning on a 120L board, and have no problem taxiing and staying upwind, but have not been able to get on foil yet due to choppy lake and variable winds in my area. What do you think about cabarete in October? Are conditions OK for beginner? Is there much shore break or chop to deal with? I'm also worried about rain/hurricane season and potentially high winds which won't be great to learn in (probably same issue for most of the carribean). Is there be a better beginner area to travel to in the fall (Oct,nov)?