Bandon’s spectacular dining options may have landed it among Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns in America in 2010, but its beautiful coastal location in Coos County and year-round mild climates open the city up to some incredible options for adventure. One option that has been gaining popularity in Bandon is kiteboarding.

Kitesurfing

What is Kiteboarding?

Also known as kitesurfing, kiteboarding is a sport that uses specially-designed kites and modified surfboards to catch the air and move kiteboarders forward while catching some waves. The International Kiteboarding Association tracks and manages five divisions of competitive kiteboarding: course racing, freestyle, wave riding, slalom, and speed; most Bandon-area kiteboarders are just looking for a fun way to enjoy the water and weather.

What You’ll Need

There are some key things you’ll need to do before you kiteboard. Start by researching kiteboarding lessons in southern Oregon. You’ll want some quality classes taught by an experienced instructor before hitting the waves. Most lessons include some equipment, but you’ll want to double-check in advance. Be sure that you’re wearing a quality wetsuit with a hood and booties, a personal flotation device and helmet. As far as the kiteboard itself, you’ll need a harness, board, kite, bar and lines.

The Right Weather

Check the weather before you head out to ensure the proper conditions for your area. The optimal conditions for beginning kiters are cross on-shore or side-shore winds that don’t exceed 25 knots.

Where to Go

Bandon’s beaches are some of the most interesting and beautiful. The sea stacks that thousands of seabirds call home also provide protected areas for other incredible species, and are exciting obstacles for the experienced kiteboarder. Beginners or less experienced kiters will find outstanding kiteboarding sites along the Oregon coast, both to the north and south of Bandon. Some of the top locations are a quick drive away.

Floras Lake

Floras Lake, just south of Bandon, offers world-class kiteboarding for all abilities, from beginners to experts. The steady northwest winds make the mornings the ideal time for lessons, and Floras Lake Windsurfing and Kiteboarding offers equipment rental and instruction led by teachers with more than 30 years of experience. Be sure to get there early. Floras Lake can become crowded in the summer because of its sandy bottom and fresh, flat water option.

Whiskey Run

Whiskey Run, north of Bandon, features solid breaks and rocks that can make for a great kiteboarding trip. The chilly Pacific Ocean water, six-mile long flat shoreline, and strong winds make this a great escape – and the ability to drive on the beach with street-legal vehicles makes it even easier.

Florence

Florence is actually a jetty with clean waves and consistent north winds that is another favorite spot in the area for kiteboarding.

Pistol River

The kiteboarding offered at this southern location is well worth the 66-mile drive. Home of American Windsurfing Tour’s Pistol River Wave Bash, the Pistol River surf features challenging jumps, high speeds, and waves that even the professionals will seek out. If you launch by the mouth Pistol River, you’ll avoid some large rocks that can disrupt the wind. Bringing your smallest kite can help you maneuver the fast current.

Other Bandon-Area Adventures

For those who appreciate the great outdoors, there are plenty of other wonderful activities to enjoy in the Bandon area.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding is a great complement to kiting if you arrive and find that the weather conditions aren’t suited for kiteboarding. As the name suggests, you’ll stand on a board and propel yourself with a paddle. It’s best to start learning in flat, calm water to get the hang of balancing on the board.

Hiking and Camping

In the Bandon area, you can find trails of all types, from a quick stroll to a longer backpacking excursion. Some of the top ones include Shore Acres State Park, where you may be able to pass sea lions and Bullards Beach State Park, which lets you check out a lighthouse during certain hours. This is also The Bandon Islands, which are ideal for beachcombing and close views of starfish and sea anemone as well as New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern, a protective habitat for many species Most of the state parks also offer RV and tent camping, and there are many private campgrounds, as well.

Boating and Kayaking

The peacefulness and quiet of canoeing or kayaking in Bandon can reward your effort with breathtaking views of nature and wildlife, like birds, fish, otters, and more. Visitors enjoy the uncovered shipwrecks, and beach-goers often find treasures brought in by the ocean.

Sandboarding

Like snowboarding, but on sand. Sand Master Park in Florence is the first of its kind, offering 40 acres of sculpted dunes, lessons, and equipment rentals.

Golfing, jet boating, fishing, and exploring the shops, houses and architecture in historic Old Town Bandon by the Sea are other favorite ways to get outside and experience all Bandon has to offer.

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