Fitness outside the Gym: Try Kitesurfing for Holiday Fitness

If holiday fitness is your priority, but training in the hotel gym takes away precious vacation time – why not try a kitesurfing course? offers a fabulous selection of hotels with good gyms on great beaches – with nearby independent kitesurfing schools. Kitesurfing during holidays is a fun workout for people of all ages and fitness levels. And they are guaranteed to keep the heart pumping and those calories burning – while having a great time out on the water. Let’s jump in.

What to expect on a Kitesurfing Holiday

Kitesurfing is a relatively new water sport that harnesses the power of the wind, allowing movement over water while balancing on the board, pulled by a sail. On a board, one can cruise over the water for miles, steer and change direction and maybe even graduate to perform tricks like loops and jumps on higher waves. Experience the thrill of the sea, the sun’s warmth, and the beauty of nature on a kitesurfing holiday – and fitness outside the gym. 

Kitesurfing offers an extraordinary sense of freedom and oneness with nature. And as you cruise over the turquoise waves, you may catch sight of dolphins, turtles, brightly colored fish, and other beautiful sea creatures and bird life.

You will get to know your holiday location from a unique perspective – by viewing the land from the sea. You may even travel to new places along the coast, explore beaches and bays – and visit small islands. Maybe experience the adventure of harnessing the wind to surf waves – or – simply relax by gliding restfully over calm lagoons. As you can see, kitesurfing just leads to many new opportunities.

Kitesurfing as a Workout

Kitesurfing is one of these fast-growing adventure water sports that draws many people to the beach every year. This sport is a lot of fun as you ride across the water and through the waves, and some might even jump in the air. Both athletes and non-athletes can learn to kitesurf as it requires only a basic fitness level. However, do not underestimate the intensity; you will feel exhausted after a day of kitesurfing. 

The first step of your kitesurfing holidays will be learning how to handle your kite sail in the wind from standing on the shore – engaging your core and arm muscles. Once you progress to launching on water and sailing downwind – intermediate level – your lower back and abdominal muscles, quads, hamstrings, and calves will get a great workout. But you may feel initial soreness and stiffness as your deeper core muscles strengthen.

As you become more independent, you will find the strain on the core muscles – and the legs – lessens. The reason is that in the first stages of your kitesurfing holiday, you will find yourself crunching your core muscles to balance on the board. Furthermore, positioning your board for a water launch and adjusting your stance and body inclination to the pull of the wind on your kite sail will engage your leg muscles and your body core. The strain on your core muscles will cease when you master the wind’s interaction on your sail, the balance and position of your body on the board, and the control of your equipment.

Once you can sail comfortably upwind in mild wind conditions, steer the board in any direction, and turn in time to avoid collisions, you are an independent rider – and your hard work has paid off. Then, it is time to take the sport further and venture into stronger winds and higher waves to attempt maneuvers like jumps, loops, and backrolls. These exciting feats on the waves engage the abdominals, deep core, and lumbar muscles – and will burn up 400 to 700 calories per hour, depending on your body weight, ensuring holiday fitness outside the gym.

Your Kitesurfing Certification 

Talking about this fantastic sport often leads to the question, do I need a license to kitesurf? The simple answer is no. You do not need any license to practice kitesurfing. However, proper training from a licensed trainer or instructor is very recommended as kitesurfing does look easier than it is.

Booking a course with a reliable school is essential for kitesurfing beginners. First, there will be practice on the beach, getting to know the equipment and learning how to fly the sail in the wind – before hitting the water. Next, an instructor will teach safety precautions to avoid collisions with other kitesurfers or accidents at sea. Part of the course is to get familiar with the techniques for launching a kite and balancing while cruising and maneuvering the board. Once the instructor is confident of your skill – they will give the go-ahead to fly solo and experience total freedom.

Tip: Do the Theory before you go!

It is a good idea to start studying the theory online before leaving on holiday. And although kitesurfing certifications are available in multiple languages, it is recommended to learn the names of the equipment in English to understand what the instructor is teaching – and which parts are which. Remember, your language may have different names, and it is best to avoid confusion when learning a new skill in a foreign location. 

After training, a certification card proves your capability and safety awareness on the water, with a sign-off, sticker, or stamp to mark every level completed. Even though this certification is optional, it makes things easier when you want to kite in a different location. In addition, the card indicates to kitesurfing schools and instructors the attained level of kitesurfing competence – and reassures them that you are reliable to rent equipment to – and know how to use it safely.

Kitesurfing Schools: VDWS and IKO

Verband Deutscher Wassersport Schulen (VDWS) and the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) are professional training programs offering certifications from beginner to instructor trainer levels. In addition, both provide comprehensive online materials to begin studying theory and gaining some insight into the sport – before you embark on your holiday. 

The twin benefits of entering either of the programs are first that you will be safe in the water – to yourself and others. And second, kitesurfing schools abroad will be far more likely to rent equipment to you if they can verify you are qualified.

IKO Training for Beginner Kitesurfers

The IKO course for beginners has three levels; Discovery, Intermediate and Independent. Once you have completed level 3, you are safe to kitesurf on your own. You can sign up for eCourses on their website and complete the theory before you embark on a kitesurfing holiday.

VDWS International Kitesurfing Basic License

VDWS’s basic license for kitesurfing progresses over six levels – assessed by a kitesurfing instructor at each level. You will have to reach level 5 with theory before you are considered independent enough to go out solo. You will receive a sticker on your certification card on completing each level to mark your progress. Make sure you take a picture to have your “digital version,” too.

Tip: Take out Insurance before a Kitesurfing Holiday

You should take out insurance before traveling to any location where you plan to kitesurf because you will be liable for any damage or loss of equipment if you do not. IKO and VDWS offer travel insurance packages if your insurance does not cover kitesurfing. 

3 top Kitesurfing Holiday Locations for Holiday, Fitness and Fun

Because beginner kitesurfing needs a wide-open beach and gentle and steady wind conditions, it’s best to avoid peak holiday seasons when the beaches are crowded. So here are three sunny and warm kitesurfing holiday spots to learn – and have a fabulous time experiencing the exotic local cuisine and culture. 

Kitesurfing in Holbox, Mexico

You could not start learning to kitesurf in a more beautiful place than Holbox (pronounced Holbosh), a small tropical island in the Caribbean, north of the Yucatan Peninsula, just a three-hour drive from Cancun. Holbox offers kitesurfers warm crystal blue waters, coral sands, and fair Caribbean trade winds, perfect for beginners, teaming with dolphins, whale sharks, manatees, turtles, and tropical fish. And do not miss the famous bioluminescence of the water at night time. 

There are two main kitesurf spots on the island; Kite Beach and Punta Mosquite. Kite beach is a large open flat lagoon with calm water – easy to learn on. Punto Mosquite is farther away, so you must go by boat. But it has higher waves and is super fun to kitesurf because they mean more challenging boarding. And they are great if you want to progress to more vigorous exercise – and a more thrilling workout. Insider tip: Bring Insect Repellent!

While one-one lessons are a great way to learn, you might want to consider having a 2:1 group. Team support is everything – and learning from each other’s mistakes will be helpful. Try out Holbox Kiteboarding School for professional and friendly instruction – and stay at the nearby Casa La Tortugas Hotel and Spa, which has a gorgeous swimming pool and a hot tub to relax those stiff, sore muscles after a day of activity on the waves. 

Kitesurfing in El Gouna, Egypt

Windy and warm all year round, El Gouna, a small town north of Hurghada on the Red Sea, is another fabulous holiday location to start learning to kitesurf. Coral reefs, sandy beaches, and warm tropical sea rim the modern desert town, where you can find nightlife, restaurants, and plenty of well-equipped kite surfing schools.  

The steady constant wind and shallow blue waters bring professional kitesurfers from all over the globe to this charming location – and has hosted the Kitesurfing World Championships in 2016 and the Kiteboarding World Cup in 2017.

Stay at the luxurious Casa Cook, another adults-only resort with a gym, swimming pool, bar, and a private beach for holiday fitness outside the gym. In addition, they have a kitesurfing school right at your doorstep that you can sign up for as soon as you arrive. They have the newest equipment from Duotone and ION.

If you can handle the heat, June is a great time to go there. However, keep an eye on the tide if you do not like to walk a few meters. The website is a great help to plan your day in such a case. Robinson Club, or the Sheraton in Soma Bay, was famous for many years. However, since a new resort has been built next to the kite spot, the wind has become too gusty. 

Kitesurfing in Sal Island in Cape Verde

Time to master your skills. Sal is an island in the Cape Verde Archipelago, off the coast of West Africa in the Atlantic Ocean is a perfect place to kitesurf. A wide sandy beach – curved into a half-moon – in the quaint town of Santa Maria offers a range of excellent kiteboarding schools. Book a course at Mitu & Djo Kites School for all your rental and training needs. Mitu is a kiteboarding world champion – you will receive expert tuition from the winner himself! You can also pre-book your kitesurfing lessons with Viator.

Heads Up! The waters of the Atlantic can be chilly – and you most likely need a wetsuit, which you can rent with your equipment if necessary. Additionally, here you start with a body dragging through the waves into deeper water. It may seem hard work at first – but you will immediately learn to recover your kite and find your board under more challenging conditions. 

Kiteboarding on Sal can be slightly more demanding than in other tropical locations because of higher waves, colder waters, and stronger winds. But consider that advantage because learning in these conditions will prepare you more for the sport.

Stay at the Robinson Club, an adult-only resort sporting a lively bar and nightclub, a hotel gym, a cycling room, a room for meditational practices like yoga and pilates, two swimming pools, and a great gym. If there is no wind – you can relax in the spa, have a massage or keep up with your holiday fitness schedule as planned. Now Robinson has their own kite spot, if you are IKO level 4 – or VWDS level 6. And you will get free rental equipment. 

Insider Tip: The hotel’s kite spot is more challenging than the more tranquil Kite Beach Lagoon – as the shore break comes in heavy waves – up to 3 meters! The local kite school is there to help – and will ensure you launch and land safely.

Holiday Fitness outside the Gym is Fun with Kitesurfing 

Book the best holiday fitness hotels at – and plan for some breathtaking kitesurfing holiday fitness outside the gym. And, if the weather does not allow it – fall back to your regular fitness program indoors in your hotel gym. 

Fun fact to close this post: did you ever wonder what is the difference between kiteboarding and kitesurfing? Kiteboarders are not in the water, use a skateboard with large wheels, and cruise across the beach. 

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