Aitutaki is "Heaven" for Kitesurfers

Jimmy Rimmer kitsurfing Aitutaki's stunning lagoon. Photo courtesy of Jesse Rimmer and Kiteboard Aitutaki.
By Emily Kennedy

Aitutaki's perfect kiteboarding conditions will attract some of the biggest names in the sport for the first ever Cook Islands' kiteboarding (aka kitesurfing) competition. Named "Kiting Towards Heaven," the competition kicks off 29 June to 2 July, 2011, and will showcase the island's unparalleled kiteboarding conditions and some of the world's best riders. This is a match made in heaven.

A Kiter's Paradise
If I were to put money on anything, really anything, it would be Aitutaki taking off for kiteboarding. With a massive (and stunning) tropical lagoon providing shallow warm water with a sandy bottom, trade winds offering consistently smooth breezes from June to September, and a complete reef sheltering the lagoon from waves, Aitutaki "to kiters is akin to fresh snow for skiers," says Jimmy Rimmer, kiteboard instructor and co-owner of Kiteboard Aitutaki.

 Fred Peron. Photo courtesy of Jesse Rimmer and Kiteboarding Aitutaki
Kiteboarders on the shores of Aitutaki's lagoon.

Kite Stars
Entry into the competition is still open, but already some big names have signed on:

Jesse Richman - At just 18, Jesse is first in the world and has won the world championship twice. This young kiter from Maui is flying so high he set a new world record for the longest hang time at the Big Air Wind Jam in San Francisco (22 seconds!).

Cameron Dietrich - This blonde-haired blue-eyed surfer has become an international poster boy for kiteboarding. Despite being on a busy international circuit, Cameron is making time for "Kiting Towards Heaven" — a good sign of where Aitutaki may be heading on the world stage of kiteboarding.

 James Everett. Photo courtesy of Jesse Rimmer and Kiteboarding Aitutaki
 Kiteboarding Aitutaki's aqua-marine lagoon.

The Judges
Cindy Mosey, three-time world champion from New Zealand, will head the judging panel. Susi Mai will join her, along with Tahitian pro rider Moehau Goold and Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) head judge Bradley Price. Local André Raoult will act as Race Director.

Where To Be
Everything starts on the neighbouring capital island, Rarotonga, where an exhibition will be held on Muri lagoon on Saturday, 25 June, with events for juniors, women and men.

Aitutaki's Honeymoon motu will host the main events and Jimmy says he's pumped to host an international set of kiters at his kite centre there. He's also looking forward to a few parties. With such an A-list of names already confirmed for the event, it's sure to be an all-out four days, hopefully setting a precedent for the sport to thrive in the South Pacific.

 Aitutaki's stunning lagoon. Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Oliver.
 Aitutaki's lagoon is protected by the surrounding reef.

Don't miss it! Keep your eyes on the Cook Islands' International Kitesurfing Contest page for updates and find accommodation and plan your trip with Jasons.