The kiteboarding on Nantucket is world-class, and we are lucky to be part of the community. Calls come in all the time about where to kite on Nantucket and what to be aware of when kiting, so we have put together this guide for islanders and visiting kiters. We love kiting our home spot and consider ourselves a resource for other kiters, so always feel free to give us a to give us a call or shoot us an email. The only thing we politely ask is that you are respectful and leave the beaches better than you found them!
Defined as everything including and west of Jetties Beach.
Note: We do not recommend riding any north facing shores that are east of the entrance to Nantucket Harbor.
Defined as everything including and west of Jetties Beach.
Overview — Jetties Beach is the perfect spot for your first oceanside session. Located at the end of Bathing Beach Rd., past Sandbar Restaurant, you'll find a small beach protected by the seawall that forms the westernmost entrance to Nantucket Harbor. It is a great spot to twin tip, jump, ride foil, and ride small waves near the entrance to the harbor channel.
Restrictions — Jetties should not be ridden during peak season months when lifeguards are in their chairs. You'll also want to keep an eye out for any ropes marking bird closure zones, as it is prohibited to ride in those areas. During off-seasons, you can drive onto parts of the beach as well.
Rideable Wind Directions — Jetties Beach comes alive in north facing winds that are predominantly northeast, but it is also rideable in a northwest breeze. Look for wind to be in the high teens at a minimum. As the breeze turns further east, the water becomes flatter thanks to protection from the jetty.
Hazards — Jetties is a relatively small launch area with dunes downwind to be wary of, as well as other beachgoers. If you feel yourself getting pulled away from the launch area, go back to shore and walk back upwind. Make sure to stay away from the jetty too as it is extremely uncomfortable to come in contact with!
Overview — Head west of Jetties, and you will find Water Tower Beach (also known as Washing Pond Beach) at the end of Washing Pond Road. It has many of the same qualities as Jetties Beach, but a less defined sandbar and no protection from the jetty seawall. This is a great spot to ride a twin tip or surfboard, ride chop, and jump small waves. Water Tower Beach is also a good place to escape crowds.
Restrictions — Water Tower is not as busy as other beaches in the summer, nor does it have lifeguards actively patrolling. While you cannot park directly on the beach, it is just a short walk from the parking area. If you go to kite, still be sure to stay away from any other people.
Rideable Wind Directions — Like Jetties, Water Tower requires a breeze with north in it. Too far east or too far west and it becomes extremely gusty and inconsistent. Straight north makes it difficult to get offshore.
Hazards — Water Tower has a limited launch area depending on the tide and dunes that will be directly downwind of you. Be wary of updrafts due to the dunes, as well as of other beachgoers (who do tend to thin out earlier and later in the day).
Overview — Located on the northwest corner of Nantucket, Eel Point Beach is located at the bitter end of Eel Point Road and requires an off-road vehicle to get to. It marks the westernmost end of Nantucket, is isolated, and has small waves and chop to ride. While it is not generally a go-to place to ride, it can be fun to park cars there to end a downwinder.
Restrictions — Eel Point Beach is not patrolled by lifeguards. You must have a capable 4WD vehicle and a valid beach permit from the town in order to access it. This beach also a prime breeding area for shorebirds and is closed to kiters for much of the summer season.
Rideable Wind Directions — To ride here, you'll want north facing, strong winds. It can handle a bit more east in it as the point sticks out but tends to become gusty and inconsistent with too much East (You’d be better to go ride Pocomo).
Hazards — The waters off Eel Point tend to be shallow and have extremely strong currents. Be careful of getting blown too far west from the beach — if you go too far downwind, the next stop is Martha’s Vineyard!
The South Side of Nantucket is home to incredible downwinders, pumping waves, and massive slicks for flatwater riding. It comes alive during the offseason in the spring, fall, and winter when the big crowds leave.
Note: The airport is a strict no-go zone due to inbound and outbound flight traffic. DO NOT KITE IN FRONT OF THE AIRPORT. When passing in front of the airport on a downwinder, you must keep a minimum of one mile offshore to stay out of any flight patterns. Otherwise, you can face fines and there could be a loss of privileges for the entire ACK kite community.
Overview — Tom Nevers Beach is located on the southeast corner of the island near the old Kennedy Bunker site, at the end of Tom Nevers Road past the fairgrounds and baseball fields. It is a great spot to start or end a downwinder and is characterized by moderate shorebreak, strong currents, and chop (often smaller than you'd find on the full south side like at Madequecham, Nobadeer, and Cisco). Tom Nevers is not a beginner kite site.
Restrictions — There are really no restrictions on using Tom Nevers, and you are able to park right next to the beach. During the summer, there can be a lot of beachgoers and fishermen that must be avoided. That being said, it is also rarely windy enough to kite at Tom Nevers Beach during the summer months.
Rideable Wind Directions — Tom Nevers is at its best in south facing and easterly breezes. You want to avoid kiting here when the breeze has a lot of west in it or is forecasted to turn west as it shifts offshore.
Hazards — Tom Nevers is marked by strong shorebreak and currents, as well as the possibility of getting blown offshore. As mentioned, it is not a beginner spot. Be cautious of launching and landing on this beach, as there is limited launch area and dunes that can create updrafts. Be on the lookout for old concrete and rebar in the water and on the beach from beach erosion — you will see these hazards sticking out of the dune faces.
Note: Nobadeer Beach is purposely left off this list as it is too close to the airport, and we do not recommend kiting there.Overview — The South Shore of Nantucket is incredible for kitesurfing and downwinders! The middle portion of the South Shore has breaks facing southwest (Cisco to Miacomet) southeast (Surfside), and south (Madequecham), that can all fire off depending on swell and wind direction. There are large sandbars that move constantly, and the breaks are characterized by steeper, shorter period waves with shorebreak making it tougher to get out of the water and easy to get caught up in waves. While there are smaller days, this area is for experienced riders only.
Restrictions — The South Side beaches are very popular by beachgoers in the summer, and there are lifeguards at most of the aforementioned beaches. Remember to stay well clear and downwind of these crowded areas, especially beaches with lifeguards, and don't forget to watch out for swimmers while riding! Please be respectful and courteous to anyone you come across, as well as of the airport closure zone. And make sure to enjoy during the offseason when the wind and waves pipe up!
Rideable Wind Conditions — Due to the number of waves and current along the South Shore, we generally recommend a minimum of wind in the high teens for riding. For westerly facing winds you can kite anything west of Madequecham. After that point, the breeze shifts offshore and becomes extremely variable. For any southerly facing winds, you can kite all of the South Shore Beaches.
Hazards — As mentioned above, powerful shore break and waves present a danger to beginner kiters. The beaches can also become tight in terms of launching space depending on beach erosion/deposits. If facing large dunes downwind, you may also experience updrafts.
Overview — Located on the southwestern corner of Nantucket at the end of Madaket Road, Madaket Beach offers both flat water and incredible wave riding. Due to its long sandbar, Madaket is one of the only spots that will hold up during large swells and is characterized by long period, crumbly lefts that roll in endlessly. Drive past Madaket Beach, turn right, and drive to Madaket Harbor to find a massive protected bay that forms an incredible flat water riding spot.
Restrictions — Like all South Side riding spots, Madaket has a lot of beachgoer traffic during the summer and they have right of way. Stay away from crowds and areas patrolled by lifeguards. The South Shore of Madaket Harbor is also a shorebird breeding zone that is frequently closed during the breeding season of June through August. Keep an eye out for, and avoid, roped off areas indicating these breeding grounds. Lastly, much of the land inside Madaket Harbor is private and people will ask you to leave if you park on their property. Expect to ride Madaket during the offseason.
Rideable Wind Conditions — Madaket Beach is great in west and south facing winds. When it becomes too easterly or northernly, the breeze shifts offshore and it is not advisable to ride there. You want to ride Madaket Harbor in southwest, west, or northwest winds. There is generally a light breeze here during the summer, and we recommend wind in the high teens, particularly while riding oceanside.
Hazards — At Madaket Beach, kiters should watch out for strong shorebreak, limited launch area, and people relaxing at the beach. Between the private property and high tides, at Madaket Harbor you'll find a limited launch area and the occasional extremely shallow water to watch out for. Beyond that, there are very few hazards.
This is defined as everywhere inside of the mouth of Nantucket Harbor.
Overview — The northern edge of Nantucket Harbor running from west to east is called Coatue and is marked by a series of points that stick out to the south. These points are numbered sequentially starting closest to town at 1st Point and end in the Head of the Harbor at 6th Point. The predominant kite spots on Coatue are 4th Point, located northwest of Pocomo Point, and 5th Point (or Bass Point), located northeast of Pocomo Point. Each of these points form flat water bays that are perfect for twin tipping, practicing riding a surfboard, and hydrofoiling in the deep water just off the points. Since the predominant breeze runs southwest and accelerates as it travels down the harbor, these points create incredible spots to ride. Bass Point tends to be the busiest spot during the summers and can become crowded - Keep in mind that the kiter going left (in southwest winds) has right of way and be sure to avoid boats other kite traffic.
Restrictions — Shorebirds use much of the western end (1st - 2nd Points) for nesting. Keep an eye out for fenced off areas and closure zones, steering well away of those areas. You'll find the breeze is better down harbor anyway. It is important to note that kiting spots on Coatue are only accessible by boat or by kiting over from Pocomo Point.
Rideable Wind Conditions — Coatue is best to ride in southwest, east, and northeast breezes. You can ride the bays on Coatue in straight north wind as well, but it blows straight offshore and there are wind shadows close to the water. If it is blowing from the south or southeast, conditions tend to be extremely gusty as the breeze comes across the Island.
Hazards — The bays of Coatue are generally very safe as you’re in an enclosed bay in flat waters. The biggest things to watch out for are the strong current as it comes through the harbor, sharp shells on the bottom of the bays, shallow waters on the points, and the active channel in the middle of the Harbor that has boat traffic. Additionally, watch out for wind shadows from foliage on the points while launching and landing.
Overview - This is the most popular spot to kite on Nantucket during the summer season as it is characterized by butter flat and choppy water. Pocomo Point (or Pocomo Head) is located at the end of Pocomo Road. Due to the thermal filling across the Island, this tends to be the windiest spot on the Island. That combined this beach being accessible by car and having public parking gives you the large numbers of kiters taking advantage of this area. Pocomo is restricted to experienced, self-sufficient kiters during the summer (July/August). There is no teaching permitted at Pocomo during the Summer. That being said, it is an incredible spot to ride when you have the opportunity. Most importantly, there are non-kiters with small kids that spend time on Pocomo throughout the summer, spring, and fall - please be extremely respectful. It can be best to kite across the way to Coatue and take advantage of the Harbor, as that will help you to keep the appropriate distance from of people in the water.
Restrictions - Pocomo is a public beach, meaning you'll find small kids, people shellfishing, and families enjoying a day on the beach. Unless you are experience and self-sufficient, do not kite here during the summer. As mentioned, it is also prohibited to teach anyone at this location, as it risks access for everyone and can be dangerous. Additionally, parking can be tight, please carpool if you can!
Rideable Wind Conditions - Pocomo fires off in southwest breezes, but can also be ridden in all north and due east facing winds. The tide has a huge effect on a kiter's ability to hold upwind, so be cautious of going out in a light wind if the tide is going with the wind.
Hazards - The biggest things to watch out for at Pocomo are other kiters, beachgoers & swimmers, and the current that can flow quickly in and out and prevent you from holding upwind. Once downwind of Pocomo Point, you'll encounter a large wind shadow that occurs -- be careful of this while launching and landing. If you do get pulled downwind of Pocomo, it is a long swim back (or hitchhike ride from Wauwinet!). Body drag home as soon as you feel you cannot hold upwind.