This ‘School Spotlight’ takes us to the beautiful island of Barbados to highlight Kitesurf Intl. This school thrives on a passion and dedication to kitesurfing, foiling and wingsurfing as a lifestyle. Here, you can learn and share your love for all wind sports in the same location while being surrounded by beautiful turquoise water and some of the nicest wind sports enthusiasts out there. We caught up with Kitesurf Intl’s owner Carolina Dickenson to ask a bit more about her school and what makes Barbados an amazing location to visit.
Can you give us a little background information about your shop/school, how you started it and what your vision for it is?
The school was born from a desire to encourage more women to learn to kitesurf and to make the sport accessible to youth within our local community. Before starting the school, we founded KiteSirens as a platform to motivate more women to kite and to overcome their fears on the water. We later founded a social project to help teenage girls within the community to learn to kite safely. We offer free lessons to girls in the program as well as counselling and support using kitesurfing as a tool of empowerment.
Our school, Kitesurf Intl, was later started from these two initiatives: empowering women in water sports and making kitesurfing accessible to local youth. Since then, the school has grown to cater to both locals and visitors, with the vision of bringing people together with a common passion for wind sports. My vision for the school is for it to be a channel through which kitesurfing is used to integrate wind sport enthusiasts from different countries and walks of life, while enjoying the epic conditions that Barbados has to offer. My mission is to continue to encourage more women in wind sports and to make kitesurfing more accessible to younger members of the local community.
Where is your school located?
The school is within the premises of Ocean Spray Beach Apartments. Ocean Spray is on the southeast side of the island, about a 10-minute drive from the airport. It’s located at Surfer’s Point, nestled between the two main kite spots: Long Beach on the upwind side and Silver Rock on the downwind side.
How many staff/instructors do you have?
We have a team of 3 IKO instructors and one school manager.
What makes your school location unique?
Barbados is a renowned wave riding destination with consistent trade winds, warm turquoise water and different wave breaks within upwind and downwind rides from each other. We have three main peaks along the same stretch: Silver Rock on the downwind side, going upwind to Woman’s Bay (also known as Surfer’s Point) and further to Long Beach. Silver Rock is the most popular kitesurfing spot with clean breaking lefts on the outside reef.
The wind blows northeast from the left, averaging at 18-20 knots during the winter months. The reef is deep enough not to get nailed on wipeouts and sets are clean with mostly cross to cross-offshore wind. In a nutshell, Barbados delivers top-end wave riding conditions and the ultimate setup for progression as well as advanced riding.
For wingfoiling, Barbados has conditions that are ideal for all levels. The accessibility of wingfoiling opens launching spots further south along the coast, where the water is flatter and easier to learn. As you progress, the whole south and southeast coast expands into a playground of upwinding and downwinding fun with flat water areas on the inside that scale to wave breaks on the outside reefs.
These spots are all located within a 10 to 15-minute drive from the airport. All you have to do is get off the plane and get into the water!
When is the best time to visit and how many days of riding per year do you get in?
The best time for waves is in the winter from December to March. Statistically, June is the month with most windy days and is great for learning and practicing new skills. The reef is flat in June and provides a wide area of warm, turquoise water as a natural park with no one around.
What drew you to offering F-one products in your store/school?
I was drawn to F-One because of its innovation with wingfoiling gear. I was on Maui at the time and was trying different wing gear as I progressed with the sport. I was looking for a well-rounded brand that could offer the best wings and boards on the market, as well as being actively engaged in product testing. The minute I was introduced to the Swing wing I was sold! The Swing is incredibly light and balanced, making wave riding a lot more enjoyable as the wing feels weightless in the surf. The F-One Rocket Wing board lineup offers a streamlined outline with sufficient volume for easy and quick progression as you move in size down the quiver. The Strike is the most recent release which maintains the characteristics of the Swing and includes improvements in the design of the wing. I couldn’t have chosen a more innovative brand on the market.
What is a memorable experience that you can share about a day in Barbados?
A kite session with consistent 20 knots of trades and clean breaking lefts is, hands-down, the most memorable session. There is really nothing better than that! And for wingfoiling, a memorable experience is going upwind from the South Coast at Oistins Bay, over to the outside Bowbells reef and then riding the swells back downwind, connecting the waves while surfing the foil. What a dream! The stoke is real.
Can you tell us what your favorite F-one product has been? Is there something that the shop/instructors fight over the most to use?
My favorite F-One product has been the Swing 2.8m on high-wind days, and the 5m Strike on light wind days. The 5’0 Rocket Wing is also my go-to board on super light wind days when I wish to ride a bigger board. The Swings have been a favorite at the school!
Is there anything else we should know about your school?
Look out for our annual getaway to the Grenadines! We charter a private catamaran once annually and organize coaching trips. The next one will include wingfoiling. Send me a message to get on the guest list for 2022!
To get on the Grenadines guest list, book a lesson with Kitesurf Intl or just get in touch, you can reach Carolina Dickenson at:
Kitesurf Intl’s go-to gear: