De Palm Island
On the northern tip of the island, Arashi is Aruba’s most popular surf spot – it’s not exactly consistent, and is rarely sailed, but the offshore reef can host a clean break on its day. Westpoint just down the white powder beach sees two currents that skirt the island collide, producing big waves when any easterly wind-swell wraps around the headland – starboard tack and typically head-high but capable of over mast-high during a tropical storm. Just 3km south, the crystal-clear water at The Fishermen’s Huts is an American freeride mecca. Historically known in windsurfing for slalom, it’s now a freestyle hotbed and training ground for the world’s best technical tricksters. But what makes this place special is its suitability for all levels: Beginners stay inshore within 400m of chest-deep flat water and lighter wind inside the white flags. Intermediates venture out to the blue flags where the wind’s stronger and the water choppier. Experts sail at the red flags over a forgiving sea-grass reef that sometimes sees a wave running parallel to shore – especially good the few times a year there’s a hurricane swell, when it can break super-clean and long. Kiting’s only allowed before 10am and after 5pm. Further down the coast towards Oranjestad, Bushiri always has some chop which makes for perfect port tack jump-ramps as the wind blows cross-offshore at right angles to the wave. Right next to the airport, Surfside is a rarely sailed secret spot. It’s flat inshore but rougher out towards the mangroves, plus boats frequently motor through the lagoon creating wake that’s fun for jumping – look out for the Hotel Renaissance boat to Renaissance Island every half hour. Strictly no kites but it’s cool to windsurf with aeroplanes taking off overhead! When it’s really windy, 22 knots plus, it’s worth trying Barcadera beyond the other end of the runway where it will be cross-off with flat water close inshore and meaty chop further out – perfect stunt-ramps for shuv-its, big loops, and even push-loops or back-loops if it’s really windy. The big yachts that sail through here throw up some nice ramps too. Closer to the mangroves the water flattens off again, becoming buttery out at De Palm Island where competent kiters can get dropped off by a small ferryboat that takes scuba divers to the reef. Launching is easy and the water’s only suffers a little chop. Savaneta is very rarely sailed but gets some great port tack waves when tropical storms or hurricanes rip through the northern Caribbean, wrapping swell around Aruba’s southern tip. Down by which are the spectacular turquoise waters of Roger’s Beach. This top-secret spot is very rarely sailed, but despite being so close to the world’s largest oil refinery the beach is a beautiful curving stretch of sand, the wind’s good and there’s even a bar at the water’s edge where local bands play on Sunday nights. Just beware of swimmers in the water. Finally, up on the windward coast the white dunes, lush plants and sandy bay of Boca Grandi (literally 'big mouth’) is another beautiful sight. This is the kiter’s favourite where solid cross-onshores pick up through the day from 15 to 25 knots in summer. Windsurfers used to come here more often, but nowadays kiters have taken over this permanently choppy venue. There is some shorebreak, plus it’s removed from the popular tourist beaches so take your own food and fresh water.
Kite and Windsurfing Guide