Running a business in the 'ultimate kitesurfing destination'
For six months of the year kitesurfers from across the globe descend on Cape Town to take advantage of our legendary winds and to ride our waves. Recognised as the ultimate kitesurfing destination, Cape Town offers more than 30 superb kitesurfing beaches spread across the coast, and from October to March the wind speed and wind direction at the coast is better than anywhere in the world.
We caught up with German Speed Kitesurfing Champ and director of kitesurfing school Kitekahunas Dr Wolfram Reiners, who considers Cape Town the world’s premium kitesurfing destination.
How popular is Cape Town with kitesurfers globally?
Most Capetonians are unaware of this, but Cape Town is the central hub of kitesurfing worldwide. The city is quite famous. We get kite-surfers from all over the world here every season, they include doctors, dentists, CEOs, managers, bankers, directors, entrepreneurs and engineers. These men and women are committed to the sport. If you work in London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York or the Middle East, you often have to travel to another country or continent to practice the sport. Currently in Cape Town we’re getting a lot of Middle East customers, the sport is really picking up in Dubai. The sport has quite addictive traits. Usually if someone kitesurfs, they spend their holidays kitesurfing – so they’ll spend between two weeks and a month here in Summer. That is what they usually do. Cape Town has developed more and more into a central hub. People speak of it being the world’s capital of kitesurfing.
Where are most of the international kitesurfers from?
Our estimations are that there are about 500 000 kite-surfers worldwide, mostly from the US and Europe. Kite-surfers that spend a lot of time in Cape Town annually are come from Holland, Germany, France, the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Brazil is also very big in kitesurfing. The sport is about 20 years old and for the last 10 years or so it has exploded in Cape Town. Cape Town is a hot destination for especially pro kite-surfer between October and March, our windiest season. Pro kite-surfers spend the summer training here. It’s the ideal place to train for pro tournaments.
On average, how long do international kitesurfers stay in Cape Town?
Tourists come for two weeks, that’s the standard. The pro kite-surfers stay for up to two months during our season. Everyone meets here in December and January. Cape Town is the world’s kitesurfing meeting place.
Why do kitesurfers prefer Cape Town?
We have the most fantastic wave conditions. We have a lot of wind, 80 – 90% wind days during the season, which is amazing. We also have legendary waves here, which is conducive to the discipline of wave surfing.
How long have you been in Cape Town and what do you enjoy most about the city?
I’ve been in Cape Town for about 10 years and love everything about the city, so much so that I’ve opened a business here and live here now. It’s my home. The most beautiful city on earth. Working and living here is amazing. My customers and kite-surfer friends from all over the world fall in love with the city as soon as they arrive here. It is the mecca of wave kitesurfing internationally. People do two continental flights for this. An eye-surgeon from US was here recently, he watched our videos online every day and decided to fly here and enjoy our city. That is something that makes us very proud.
You describe kitesurfing as the most joyful sport on the planet. What makes it so special?
Everything. I was born and bred in the Alps of Germany. Everyone who gets exposed to this sport, gets addicted to it. And in Cape Town, you get so much more. The scenery is absolutely stunning, to kite-surf with Table Mountain as the backdrop. You can’t get that anywhere on earth.