Learning How to Kitesurf in the Cook Islands

Serena Hunter
Photography By
Serena Hunter

With its safe surroundings and warm tropical waters, Rarotonga and Aitutaki are the perfect places to learn to kitesurf. All you need to bring to the island is a little bit of perseverance and commitment – it’s so worth it when you get there.


Just imagine gliding on the lagoon’s crystal blue waters, wind in your hair, a beautiful tropical island before you, and the feeling of complete freedom in paradise. That’s the sensation I’ve been fortunate enough to now know since graduating from kitesurfing lessons in Rarotonga and becoming an independent kite surfer. 

I feel very lucky to live in Rarotonga, with its perfect conditions and qualified instructors operating out of Muri Beach, Kitesup Watersports and Ariki Adventures. And to top it off, Rarotonga is just a 50-minute domestic flight to Aitutaki which is consistently voted one of the best places to kitesurf in the world. And it’s no mystery why these two islands are a great place for learning this thrilling sport – the islands boast warm tropical lagoon waters, great wind conditions year-round, and a killer view.

Learning how to kitesurf in the Cook Islands

My husband first started kiting around 10 or so years ago, and I was a little envious whenever the wind would pick up and he would excitedly head out to the lagoon for a session. So about three years ago I decided to give the sport a go and test my dedication to learning something new. 

For most learners it usually takes an average of 10 to 12 hours (three to five lessons) to learn to fly a kite, body drag in the water, water start and actually begin to ride. After 4 to 5 lessons with Brynn at Kitesup Watersports I was up and going 100 metres or so on my board, and I thought “wow that’s it I’ve got it” …but I didn’t have it just yet! This sport does take time so if you’re thinking it’s just a few lessons and you’re away, think again.  As my husband generously said at the time, that’s just “fluking it”.  

After my lessons were completed, I didn’t commit to going out on the lagoon by myself, and pretty much lost the momentum of my training, so last year I decided it was time to nail this sport. With a couple of refresher lessons and being committed to going out whenever there was wind, I endured the frustrations, the face plants, and the “walks of shame” as they call it. This is where you can only kite downwind, so you have to walk or body drag back to where you started, hearing all the experienced kiters yahooing as they fly past. As I said, it can be frustrating. 

Kitesurfing in Rarotonga

But eventually, as all the kiters I spoke to would say, “it will just click one day”, and sure enough it did. Finally, I was able to make the connection to my kite and board, understanding how to co-ordinate the two to ride comfortably. Needless to say, there was a big thumbs up from my husband the day he saw that I was no longer “fluking” it and had “clicked” for me.    

From then on I’ve been hooked.  And so much so, that recently I booked our 12-year-old daughter Reva in for lessons, and similarly after five lessons she was up and going on her board. But in a very familiar vein to my experience, she’s going to need a bit of a push to get out there and work on progressing to where it just “clicks”. 

Meanwhile, we’re experiencing a good week of solid wind here in Raro, so I’m going to wrap up here and take to the lagoon. Kites away!

Family friendly sports in Rarotonga