Kiteboarding in Oman
Completely in its infancy, Oman is still a novice when it comes to the kiteboarding craze. If you’re looking for no crowds, some Middle Eastern culture, amazing food and really beautiful, sandy beaches then Oman may be the option for you. Ride the Arabian sea and Gulf of Oman in 30-40°C waters, and blazing sunshine. Beginners and intermediates can shred flat, warm lagoons for the short season in July, August and September, and embrace a journey led by the southerly prevailing winds and friendly locals.
When you consider kiting in Oman, you have to bring things back to basics. There are no strips filled with bars, or back to back kiting clubs fighting for business. No, this is laid back, undiscovered and remote- a little hidden gem.
Surrounding the beautiful coastline, there are a few spots to check off your kiteboarding bucket list. And when you link them together, you will find the ultimate kiteboarding safari. So mix it up a little here and there, because variety is key. This is absolutely the best way to view the breath-taking nature and surf spots here.
You can stay beach-side at Ras al Hadd lagoon and experience an ultimate 300km downwinder, exploring the unexplored offshore islands, lagoons and wave spots. Or simply hire a 4×4 and drive point to point. If you’re a beginner then this can easily be your vibe too… with great tuition hubs, guides and safe beaches, one guy can lead you the way. No matter what your ability level, here in Oman, you’ll have the chance to experience cool sessions with no crowds, incredible winds and a mix of waters perfect for any rider – all the way from glass flats to 4m waves!
So, what about the “heads up” part. Well, because the infrastructure isn’t quite there yet for travellers, it is recommended you bring your own gear. If you don’t have your own stuff then you may have to book your gear in advance (mainly through a tour company, as “kitesurf hire equipment shops” don’t really exist here). And in all honestly, the kit you may find won’t be the best quality.
Your own gear will fit, you can learn faster, and it is ideal when you do that ultimate surf safari. Oh, and don’t forget a repair kit too as it’ll be tricky to find someone to fix those issues… and trust us when we say you won’t want a snag to stop your shred.
What else? Well, ladies, you probably know Oman is predominately Muslim. And your safety is our number one concern, so don’t start stripping down to a bikini (or less) without using your head. Your best bet is to link up with a local tour / adventure company who can lead the way. Alternatively find some local surf lurk and tag along!
When to go?
The season here is relatively short. From June to September the prevailing winds run up the Arabian Coast from the Indian Ocean and hit the northern part of Oman. But despite the short season, during those 3 – 4 months, you will get guaranteed consistent winds! Hitting around 25-30 knots, you’ll be easily soaring the seas on your kiteboard, with the sun on your face and salt in your hair, flying along the Gulf of Oman. Don’t forget the suncream, as Oman is scorching! With air temperatures regularly hitting 40°C+, you can’t expect the water to cool you down as it also hits the 40°C+ mark too. But then again, you do have a few benefits of flying along the Arabian coastline, including the crystal clear waters, abundant marine life and miles and miles of empty beaches.
Where to rig up?
There are so many small spots dotted along the Oman coastline for the adventurous soul. With reliable winds in season, safe and shallow lagoons, open ocean wave and flat waters all in the same country, it becomes a source of discovery.
Kite Beach, Muscat
Also known as “The Wave”, Muscat, or Al Hail, this is located 20km west of Muscat, Oman’s capital. Offering amazing open ocean flat and shallow water conditions, beginner and intermediate kiters flock here. This is the best spot closest to the city. The northerly onshore, thermal winds are protected behind The Wave Muscat breakwater, creating a safe area for sea-goers. A beginner-friendly practice spot on the beach is set around 100-200m and keeps the beginners and guides safely away from the water so it is the perfect balance for all abilities. Although famed to be the best spot, there are other options that continue further west along the shoreline (noted below). Winds here are not as strong as other areas in Muscat, maxing at 15knots.
Further along the west coast lies Al Sawadi and Musannah (near Barka). This area is known as the Batina Area, and it is a bit of a tourist trap popular for national and international holidaymakers. Hotel resorts around here are built with 4/5* glory and offer their own tuition schools for those wanting to try their hand at kitesurfing. About 70km from Muscat (around 1 hour), Sawadi Beach as you guessed, is great for beginners with flat open ocean to practice in.
With this spot, look out for snorkelers, divers and swimmers because it’s a common area for all watersports, including diving at the nearby Damanyat Islands. This being said, the beach stretches for miles in both directions so there is still space to launch. From the Millennium Resort, Sawadi Beach becomes a hub of activity for comfortable coaching (wind dependent), and around Sawadi Peninsula there are a number of shallows that help build up confidence even with the tide. Temperatures stick around 35-40°C and the wind is consistent around 25knots.
Along the opposite coastline, 90 minutes east of Muscat lies Quryatt. Depending on the forecast, this can be a great spot for adventurous advanced riders. Kitesurfers, Foilers and Racers head to this spot to embrace the rightside onshore winds. Thermals here are generally stronger than the west side of Muscat (kite beach) at 15-20knots, and the shore break can make this a little bit more challenging for sure.
Ras al Hadd
Continue east to Ras al Hadd, which sits on the north eastern peninsula of Oman, on a point at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Famed for its sea turtles, the spit creates a 1 km2 lagoon that is perfect for beginner and intermediates. Flat water at medium – high tide, the shallow warm waters make a perfect soft bed to practice, with the systems of both the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea winds working together. Around the lagoon entrance, and out to the sea you can explore some heavier riding conditions, including big wave, point breaks, and some bump and jump in between. A heads up to keep your eye on the tide, as once this is low, most/all of the water disappears. Also, there are power lines around the lagoon – don’t get caught up in those!
No doubt one of the more famed kitesurfing spots in Oman, the Wave Spot Aseelah lies 12km north of Aseelah town. Its location offers stronger winds than those on the Gulf, powering up to 45knots and kicking up some serious waves. A right side-shore wind blow offers clean waves, but this is definitely suited for the more advanced rider with a gnarly beach break. Perfect as part of the kitesurf safari, the town isn’t really set up for a kite holiday, but it’s more accessible than the better spots found further south… (back to that infrastructure thing!). Watch out for reef here on the downwind side.
Continuing south along the east coast of Oman, you’ll find one of the most diverse spots for kiters. Just off the town of Maghlah is a small island. Masirah Island is a kitesurfer’s dream, with all conditions available within a 20minute 4×4 drive of each other – so it doesn’t matter what ability level you are. The monsoon hits this area between June and September, perfectly timed for a kitesurf session! Here winds reach between 25-45 reliable knots most days. On the west of the island you’ll find 12km of natural lagoons, knee deep, warm, clear waters, alongside back to back flatwater bays. On the east coast, there are waves ranging from small to big depending on what playground you crave. A guide is recommended.
Bar al Hickman
Directly opposite on the mainland is Bar al Hickman. Known as the hidden jewel, it’s built into a peninsula that fills up with turquoise crystal waters, fine white sands and protective sandbars. Beyond remains the 40+knot winds from the seasonal Indian Ocean monsoon, but the natural 4km lagoons are calm, flat, and knee-deep. With a natural entrance to the sea, these lagoons are tidal. If you want to rest up in this area for your whole visit, then there are 3 main lagoons that spread over a 35km range – plenty to keep you occupied and fulfilled. If you want some more challenging terrain, then head out to the ocean beyond the bars.
From al Hickman, you can visit the sugar dunes of Al Khaluf. Soaring high, the natural white sand dunes make an incredible backdrop to your day at sea. An amazing sideshore will complement the deep water, making you feel invincible and at nature’s peril. But, this is a unique spot that is tricky to get to – a 4×4 offroad vehicle and a guide will be required for this getaway… if you’re lucky. Here, access can be really dangerous, as the quicksand can kick-in at any side of the tide. Whatever happens, do not do this solo! But if you can reach it with a guide, then this is a place like no other.
As you continue your safari south, you will head to Al Jazir, just north of Salalah, and just north of Yemen. Yup, this is far into the Oman world, and so really do not expect any infrastructure down here. But there is a tonne of natural beauty. The incredible lagoon at Al Jazir is undiscovered, remote, untouched, and will undoubtably be a highlight of your trip. As the wind blows through this 5km stretch, the lagoon is separated by a natural downwind sandbank.
The more skilled kitesurfers will revel in their private playground, making their way upwind in the shallows before soaring downwind towards the shorebreak. A natural protection from the roaring Indian Ocean, the consistent winds run throughout the season. Due to the remoteness of this spot, take a guide and a buddy – untouched spots are hard to find and this amazing lagoon is inaccessible from the road without knowledge and expertise.
Oman is a destination with everything and nothing going for it. The natural beauty is incomparable to anywhere else. It’s marine and land biodiversity, its landscape extremes. Mother nature’s force impacts it on rock and sand, and its historical, political and cultural variety equally offers unique beauty. But this isn’t Dubai. You won’t find bars, strips of hotels or the westernised influence here. Although not completely frigid, Muscat will be as lively as it gets. So, read up on your history, as you’re going to be learning a lot this holiday.
If you want a drink, or a party then Muscat is the place. Due to strong Islamic beliefs the country is mainly dry, but there are a few spots within the city centre, particularly inside the hotels.
Spending your whole time on the water, you may catch site of the odd turtle, or even whale. But one place to check out is turtle beach on your visit to Ras al Hadd. If you want to see the protected yet endangered Green Turtles, then this is the spot when the mothers return year on year to lay their eggs, in time for the baby turtle’ttes to shimmy on into the Indian Ocean.
Despite preconceptions of being a desert country, Oman is home to over 22 species of whale and dolphin, as well as Oryx, gazelle, tahr, ibex and wild cats. Take your pick.
Nizwa, Jebel Shams, and Oman’s Grand Canyon, endless Wadi’s and Wahiba Sands Tours make great day trips for those who wish to explore the lands of Oman. Take a guide and a 4×4 to experience the real Oman in its natural glory.