Guests at Long Bay Resort on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront can take a stroll down the shoreline on a beautiful but windy day and see something that might make them do a double take — flying surfers. Those are actually kiteboarders — extreme water sports enthusiasts who literally take surfing to the next level, as in airborne.
Kiteboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports on the Grand Strand. Created on the West Coast by surfers who decided to see what would happen if they added a parachute to the salty mix, kiteboarding has made its way across the country to surfers on the East Coast who like to ride the waves and winds of the Atlantic Ocean.
Considered a cross between surfing and parasailing (sans the boat), kiteboarding requires a bit of practice and skill before you can get off the ground (or water). But longtime visitors to Myrtle Beach and Long Bay Resort who have mastered bodysurfing, bodyboarding and surfing may be ready to try something new and exciting on top of a surfboard.
Experts recommend learning the basics of surfing before you even consider getting a parachute involved. But for surfing enthusiasts who like to kick things up a few notches, kiteboarding gives them the chance to take flight while riding the waves with the addition of a special chute and harness that can be purchased or rented at local surf shops. You can also sign up for lessons, which are highly recommended for your initial venture into kiteboarding. Check out Myrtle Beach Kiteboarding School or Palmetto Surf School to schedule a session.
Kiteboarders ride a rectangular board equipped with foot straps and resembling a wakeboard. A harness is secured tightly around the rider’s waist, and a handlebar allows riders to balance and maneuver. Once the wind pulls the parachute taut, the rider is off, using the waves like a skateboard ramp to go airborne. The take-offs and landings take time and practice to learn, but once mastered, there's nothing like the feeling of being a bird-fish hybrid.
Long Bay Resort guests are in a unique position to give kiteboarding a try. To avoid any potential collisions between water sports enthusiasts and sunbathers, the City of Myrtle Beach restricts the areas where surfers and kiteboarders can practice their sports. Two of those “surf zones” are located only five blocks north and south of Long Bay — between 62nd and 68th Avenues North to the south of the property, and from 78th to 81st Avenues North on the north side of the resort.
After a fun day on the wind and waves, head back to the oceanfront Long Bay Resort to recover. After all, once you’ve been bitten by the kiteboarding bug, you will find yourself wanting to get back on the water every time the ocean breeze is blowing.