Words: Aaron Oster, published in Kiteboarding Magazine, April/May 010
Lens: AK Miller
I took up kiteboarding in 2007 and quickly learned that finding a calm, shallow place to kiteboard in all wind directions wasn’t going to be easy.
Just two hours south of Miami I discovered a 360-degree kiteable patch of water, where it doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing. The shallow flats at Duck Key offered exactly what I was looking for.
The spot features large grass flats in calm, shallow water, where there’s plenty of room for multiple kiters.
It’s also one of the premier settings in the Keys for beginners to get safe lessons.
The sparkling emerald water is unparalleled and offers a great opportunity to check out sea life you normally find only in aquariums. And since the area has a Caribbean climate, even during the winter months the temperatures are pleasant and the water usually remains quite warm.
The best winds for kiting blow from September to May.
During the winter, the wind usually comes out of the north, which sometimes requires a short boat ride to a north-facing grass flat, but the location also sees frequent warm, southerly winds. The typical wind speeds range anywhere from 15 to 25 mph.
On breezy days, many of the Keys’ locals and tourists cruise the flats in an area just off the coastline near Hawks ay Resort. On those days, when the skies are filled with brightly colored kites, the view for those out on the water and lounging poolside is even more breathtaking.
When you make it down, Duck Key locals such as Bucky, Biff, Jimmy, Dustin, Cheryl, John, Brittany, Dougy and Marco are more than willing to help launch your kite and get you dialed into the Florida Keys kiteboarding capital.