GOING COASTALJan's guide to catching the waves... | Natural Retreats

Jan's guide to catching the waves...

The Great British coastline. Famed for long, undulating beaches, the freshest seafood, memorable family holidays and spectacular scenery. But what about amongst the waves?

We caught up with Jan, our IT Infrastructure and Support Manager, who in his spare time as a water sports adrenaline junkie enjoys heading out on the ocean and catching the surf!

So Jan, which water sports ‘float your boat’?

Mainly kite surfing and a little bit of normal surfing too. I’ve also tried Coasteering in Jamaica!

What is it that you love about being on the ocean?

You’re out on your own with nature and there are no boundaries. If you go hiking or walking, there’s a set route to follow, but with kitesurfing there are no paths. There is more freedom. You focus on what you’re doing in the moment and forget about the world. You don’t think about anything, no matter how important things are.

How long have you been kitesurfing? Where did you learn?

I’ve been kitesurfing for 7 years and for 3 years I’ve tried surfing. I first learned kitesurfing back home in Poland in the Hel Peninsula (a 50km long sheltered water exposed to strong wind – but not huge currents!) It was great for beginners and I learned the basics with a local kitesurfing school.

What equipment is needed to take it up as a hobby?

You need to have a few kites to cover different conditions and depending on your interest in developing skills, you may need a few boards too. Everyone needs a wetsuit and a special harness. Another top tip: certain beaches in the UK are members only so you’d need to have a membership and I would definitely recommend 3rd party insurance, just in case! The BKSA (The British Kite-Surfing Association) is a great resource for finding out more info on the best beaches.

What about your ultimate kite-surfing location?

Caya Guillermo in Cuba. This bay has shallow waters but the Caribbean tradewinds meant it was very windy (I was there recently out of season and loved it, especially since the water was nice and warm for a change!). This means that it’s the perfect spot for building up speed and practicing your freestyle.

Your tried and tested UK locations to catch a wave?

Rhosneigr, Isle of Anglesey – North Wales (Just 1 hour from the Llŷn Peninsula)
The condition of the freshwater means that it’s an incredible shade of blue. It’s well exposed and a great location for surfers based in the North West.

Cricceith – North Wales (Just 25 minutes from the Llŷn Peninsula)
This beach is more sheltered so there is less swell and a weaker current, but kite surfers are still exposed to the great winds.

Hells Mouth – North Wales (Just 30 minutes from the Llŷn Peninsula)
This is a harder surf, so definitely for the more experienced. Stunning scenery though!

Your top tip for beginners?

Join your local kitesurf school for lessons. Once you learn the basics you’re hooked for life (it’s very addictive!).

Tell us about your typical day as a kite-surfer…

It’s always tide dependent, my favourite spots in North Wales have an 8m difference in tide throughout the day, and in the space of hours it changes. I pack up my gear and head to the beach once I’ve checked the direction of the winds, and after kite surfing it’s good to have 2 (or 3!) chocolate bars to wash down the sea water!

What are your safety tips and surfing etiquette?

Don’t go too far out and be aware of hazards such as buoys, shipwrecks, and undercurrents. Remember to stick to general sailing rules and that anybody downwind from you/right of you has the right of way.

To dive right in to coastal adventures on the Llŷn Peninsula, or to explore our other spectacular seaside Retreats, call or e-mail our expert Xplore Team!