There are a few core places to kiteboard on Martha’s Vineyard between the southern, eastern, and northern shorelines. The island gets strong breezes during the fall, winter, and spring (<12M weather) and a consistent thermal during the summer (12M – 19M weather). While there is great kiting on Martha's Vineyard, there are also lots of restrictions and other people trying to enjoy the island. Please be aware of the rules and respect other boaters and beachgoers when you go out.
Please see individual riding spot guides below for specific rules & regulations pertaining to each spot. Big picture items include:
Katama Bay, or as the locals call it "The Kitty Pool," is an enclosed bay on the southeast corner of Martha's Vineyard. It is a great spot for those learning to kite, as well as the advanced riders due the waist deep, flat water in portions of the bay where you can do circuits as you are learning. It is also accessible to the public. While a great spot for kiting, there are also lots of other beachgoers, fishermen and shell fishermen, and restricted driving and riding areas due to nesting shorebirds, as well as private property to be aware of. You'll find it has a limited launch area, restrictions on where you can ride, and light(er) breeze than some other spots on the Island.
Riding Level: Green, Blue, Black, Double Black
Riding Type: Flat Water (Waist Deep), Flat Water, Chop
This is a classic flat water spot in southerly breeze approaches with the flattest water close to the southern shoreline and getting choppier as you go out into the water. This spot is great for riding a twin tip or learning on a surfboard in mid-tide or higher so you don't rip your fins off.
There are two ways of getting to Katama Bay for kiting:
Katama Bay Boat Ramp
Drive right up and park in the public lot at the boat ramp. Four wheel drive is not necessary. You will need to walk a bit to get to the setup spot across the way on the south shore.
Access Type: Park - Short Walk, Off-Road Capable Vehicle Required
From the boat launch, facing the water, walk to your right down a rock wall, continue down the beach on the north side, past the moored boats until you reach a little beach with a sign that says, ‘Private Beach.’ When you hit this sign, walk directly across the bay to the south side. It should be shallow enough to keep your stuff dry and rig on the beach. High tide can be challenging during a supermoon. Launch on the beach across the way. Keep your lines tidy as the Trustees want to be able to drive around with ease.
South Beach Access
You can drive out onto the beach and rig right from the back of your car at Katama Bay. Ride to the South Beach Left Fork, let air out of your tires to 15 PSI and drive on at Left Fork - you will need an Off-Road Vehicle Permit to be able to drive on the beach & you must verify none of the areas are closed due to nesting shorebirds. Stay left when you pull on towards the northern edge of South Beach and follow the road. The rigging spot is the first pullout you get to.
After driving onto the beach at Left Fork, stay left on the northernmost road on South Beach until you hit your first clearing and park off to the side. That is the rigging spot. Refer to the image above.
Boat Ramp Kiters are not permitted to launch at the boat ramp. Do not set up and launch here, go across the way to the south shore.
Private Access The beaches adjacent to the Katama Bay Boat Ramp are private, do not launch from them. Walk (or wade) across the way to the clearing on South Beach to rig up and do not anger the landowners.
Bird Closures During the spring & summer (Typically May - mid July), South Beach is closed to off-road traffic, access is limited to not disturb nesting areas, and you must keep a 200 yard buffer if you have a kite up near nesting zones. There is almost always room to set up on the southwest corner of Katama Bay opposite the boat ramp, but please call ahead to the Trustees to understand where you can and cannot kite.
Hazard Types Wind Shadows, Sharp Bottom, Tight Launch Spot, Boat Traffic, Hazards in the Water
Katama Bay has a tight launch spot that can be gusty due to wind shadows. Head across the way to the proper launch spot on the south side to avoid this.
There are razor clams and oysters on the bottom randomly throughout the bay, if you anticipate needing to walk on the bottom wear booties to be safe.
There are moored boats on the west corner of Katama Bay and massive oyster farms on the NNE corner of the bay. There are also fishermen and shell fishermen using the bay and a channel leading to the boat ramp. Steer completely clear of all the above with a 100 yd buffer!
Kiteable Wind Directions WSW, SW, S, SE, ESE
Best Wind Directions SW, S, SE
Predominant Wind Direction SW
There is always clean wind from all southerly directions. Southwest winds tend to be stronger here than on other places on the island including Cape Poge Bay and the rest of the south shore.
Northerly breezes don't work well here as it is coming off the land and is turbulent.
Average Wind Speed In-Season 12 - 18 kts
The wind on Martha's Vineyard is predominantly thermal driven. In the summer, if there is a building southwest wind, you can count on an afternoon session on a large kite.
Fall, Winter, and Spring tend to be extremely windy and correlate to storm fronts pushing through.
Cape Poge Bay is the massive bay located on the northeast corner of Martha's Vineyard opposite from Edgartown. The Bay is enclosed so it provides excellent flat water riding that is protected from swell and is also deep enough to hydrofoil in. It is good for intermediate (Blue) through advanced (Double Black) riders and gets some of the best wind on the island. While you will find a clean, consistent breeze here, there are also numerous restrictions on beach access, including where you can set up and ride, and it requires a boat to access. The Bay is a nature preserve with limits on boat speed, jet skis and where you can and cannot go on land to rig up, so be aware of the rules and regulations by season.
Riding Level: Blue, Black, Double Black
Riding Type: Flat Water, Chop, Hydrofoil
Cape Poge is great for riding anything from twintip to surfboard to hydrofoil. It can be butter flat to choppy depending on how close you are riding to the beach, but drops off quickly to make the Bay suitable for hydrofoiling.
The best way to get to Cape Poge Bay is by boat from Edgartown. You can drive out with a beach permit but there are numerous closure zones and opportunities for wrong turns to make it not worth it. The best way to get to Cape Poge Bay to ride is to have a boat or have a friend with a boat.
The access point for Cape Poge Bay is on the WNW end of the Bay closest to Edgartown along the northern edge of Chappaquiddick. Follow channel markers and, when entering the Bay, stay in the center of the waterway. When you are in the Bay, it is idle speed only, and the water is deep enough to maneuver around. The best setup spot is along the NW shore of Cape Poge Bay to the left when you come in. Be wary when anchoring to stay out of the way of kiters using the spot.
Private Property The Windmill House is a property on the Western Edge of Cape Poge Bay. There is no trespassing on their property or setting up on the beach. All activities must be done below the mean-low tide line. Look for, and respect, signs posted along the beach.
Speed Cape Poge Bay is a nature preserve and is a 5 mph no wake zone. Jet Skis are also outlawed from Cape Poge Bay. Be wary of your speed while operating watercraft!
Bird Closures During the Spring & Summer (Typically May - mid July) portions of the beach are closed to off-road traffic, access is limited to not disturb nesting areas, and you must keep a 200 yd buffer if you have a kite up near nesting zones. Review the latest closure zone maps posted on the Trustee’s Facebook Page or call ahead to the Trustees (508 627 8390) to understand where you can/cannot kite based on birds nesting.
Beach Access As noted above for Windmill House, there are areas that you are not allowed on the beach. For the areas we are allowed on the beach, please do not leave gear on the beach and keep spare gear stored on your boat to reduce clutter. Do not run lines across or block roads or 4x4 tracks. Be respectful when anchoring. Be sure to follow all kite beach etiquette principles!
Hazard Types Wind Shadows, Offshore Conditions, Sharp Bottom, Tight Launch Spot, Boat Traffic, Hazards in the Water
Generally speaking, there are few hazards to watch out for within Cape Poge Bay. The seafloor moves along with sandbars so be wary of grounding as you explore. Since the whole Bay drains through one inlet, there can be extremely strong current close to the mouth of the Bay you must be careful of. It is advised to stay clear of the mouth of Cape Poge Bay to avoid the current and frequent boat traffic.
The wind blows straight offshore in the predominant southwest so you must be upwind capable. Additionally, you can hit significant wind shadows as you get downwind of Chappaquiddick.
Most important - be wary of getting in the way of Trustees Rangers who patrol the area to protect shorebirds - respect their asks and realize riding there is a privilege not a right.
Kiteable Wind Directions SW, W, NW, N
Best Wind Directions SW
Predominant Wind Direction: SW
The best wind direction to kite Cape Poge Bay is in a southwest breeze. The breeze tends to be strongest within the Bay as it accelerates across MV due to the thermal. SW provides a clean, gust free breeze approach that is a blast to ride.
Average Wind Speed In-Season 12 - 18 kts
The wind on MV is predominantly thermal driven. In the summer If there is a building SW wind you can count on an afternoon session on a large kite. Fall, winter, and spring tend to be extremely windy.
There are no local "kite shops" on the Vineyard. If you want to get information on anything kite related, we recommend you give us, Next Level Watersports, a call. There are other kiters on the island but, if you're coming out here, make sure you have all the right pump fittings and a repair kit for your kite!
Known locally as the "Storm Riding Spot" or "Senge," this is a large enclosed bay along the northern edge of Martha's Vineyard just west of Edgartown. The spot has a clean breeze approach for northeasterly breezes that forms a massive slick here as it comes over the road. It is an intermediate spot as it blows straight offshore here and is too deep to stand in most areas and it has a narrow launching area. You can also choose to cross over and ride the ocean side here; since it only gets wind swell, it is a great spot to try your first ocean side downwinder. Riding here is a blast and can draw a crowd too as people drive by!
Riding Level: Black, Double Black
Riding Type: Flat Water (Waist Deep), Flat Water, Chop, Wave Riding (Beginner), Downwinder, Hydrofoil
As an enclosed bay, Sengekontacket Pond has incredible flat water riding on the inside. If you ride close to the beach you can get butter flat water and then it gets choppier as you get further from the land. It is deep enough to ride a surfboard strapless or with straps here and not rip off your fins but you have to keep an eye out for shallows as you ride. It is too shallow in Senge to hydrofoil without running aground.
If you cross over to the ocean side you can ride hydrofoil, chop, and get some windblown swell for good beginner ocean side downwinder riding too.
If you wish to kite on the inside of Sengekontacket Pond, park on the east side of the Jaws Bridge closer to Edgartown along Beach Road. After parking, cross to the south side of the road and setup on the small beach that runs along the road. Space can be limited here.
To kite the oceanside of Sengekontacket Pond, you can park anywhere along the road that is going to be most favorable for the wind direction.Directions
How to Access the Spot
Access Type: Park - Short Walk
After parking on the street, look for the established paths that lead to the beach on the ocean side or on the Sengekontacket Pond side depending on where you wish to ride. It should be less than a 50 yard walk from your car to the setup area if you have parked correctly.
The Sengekontacket Pond kite spot has minimal regulations and rules. Since it works best in a northeast breeze, this spot turns on when it is stormy which means there are generally few beach goers.
Lifeguard Stands If you wish to kite ocean side during the summer, stay away from lifeguard stands (200 yds) and stay away from the beach and people in the water. There is plenty of space, so be sure to stay away from lifeguards and crowds and avoid any risk of an incident.
Beach Space Depending on the tide the launch spot at Senge can get extremely tight. Keep the beach clutter free, wind up your lines when you're not kiting, and steer clear of other tourists. If you need to change kites, we recommend you keep your spare gear in the car.
The Slick This is a favorite local spot when it is extremely windy for speed kiting as well as big jumps. Be aware of where the good riders are congregating and stay out of their way. There is plenty of open space out there to cruise without being on top of other kiteboarders risking an incident.
Hazard Types Strong/Adverse Currents, Wind Shadows, Offshore Conditions, Sharp Bottom, Tight Launch Spot, Fisherman and Shell Fisherman
Strong Currents Sengekontacket Pond fills and drains through the Jaws Bridge Inlet (where we recommend parking) and the next inlet north. Know what the tide and current are doing and steer clear of these inlets to make sure you (or your board) don't get sucked under the bridge.
Wind Shadows/Offshore Conditions/Tight Launch Spot When you launch and land here, you are close to the road and wind shadows exist. Always launch with your kites towards the water and away from the road to get the biggest fetch for clean breeze as well as to make sure that, if something goes wrong, you don't get pulled into the road. The spot is tight so keep your equipment tidy. Also keep in mind the breeze blows straight offshore so stick close to the land for your first few tacks to make sure that you can get back home.
Sharp Bottom There are oysters and clams within the bottom here. People are starting to party here frequently so there can be sharp glass and bottle caps at the bottom. We recommend wearing booties if you intend to be touching down a lot. We also ask that you help clean up any garbage and make the beaches better than you found it and keep other kiters safe.
Storm Conditions This spot generally goes off during storms and is dependent on storm fronts, "Nor'easters" as we know them. As always, be careful riding storm fronts for lighting, gusts, etc. Be wary of kiting as fronts are arriving as massive increases in the wind can fill. Always be ready to ditch your kite too.
Shallow Spots It can get shallow fast in spots while riding in Sengekontacket Pond. As always, explore the area first and familiarize yourself with where it is deep and where it is shallow. Steer clear of jumping and riding into shallow spots by accident.
Fisherman and Shell Fisherman Senge has an abundance of wildlife. Stay a minimum of 100 yds away from any fishermen or shell fishermen to prevent scaring them or causing problems.
Kiteable Wind Directions E, NE, N
Best Wind Directions NE
Predominant Wind Direction NE
NE Breeze is the best wind direction here as it forms a massive slick with almost no wind shadow.
If you wish to ride the ocean side and setup for a downwinder, you want to have a little north or easterly in it so your downwinder isn't comprised totally of straight onshore breeze.
Average Wind Speed In-Season: 18 - 25 kts
It is tough to ride here during the summer when the predominant wind direction is SW; the breeze comes across the full island and is extremely gusty. Sengekontacket is fun when it is blowing from the northeast which happens most frequently in the fall/winter/spring when storms roll through. As a result, you're generally kiting here during storms when it is windy and you are riding small kites.
The South Shore of Martha's Vineyard is home to some incredible oceanside riding suitable for advanced (Black) to expert (Double Black) riders. The South Shore of Martha's Vineyard has perfect exposure to receive hurricane swell and large, peeling waves prime for wave riding and ocean side downwinders. The vast majority of property on the south shore is private so access is limited. There are also vast tracts of land where it is hard to get back to civilization so you need to plan accordingly for downwinders. Most importantly, the breeze is light on the south shore and the riding there really only goes off during stormy season in the fall, winter, and spring.
Riding Level: Black, Double Black
Riding Type: Chop, Wave Riding (Intermediate), Wave Riding (Advanced), Downwinder, Hydrofoil
The south shore of Martha's Vineyard is classic oceanside riding. You can use a twin tip for jumping, surfboard for wave riding, and hydrofoil for wave riding + exploring.
Accessing the South Shore is difficult because you need to be a landowner with a beach permit to go on the beach for the vast majority of the shoreline. That being said there are a few options to access:
Long Point Wildlife Refuge Is the best option for guaranteed access to the south shore. During the summer months there is a summer entrance where it is $15 to purchase a day pass and park right next to the beach. During the winter, there is a separate entrance that requires you to drive a bit further to access the parking area, but it is free. We recommend you get there early if you want to buy a day pass during high season!
Katama Bay (South Beach)/South Fork You can drive out onto the beach at South Fork if you have an off-road vehicle permit issued by the Trustees and kite the south shore.
How to Access the Spot
Access Type: Park - Short Walk, Pay for Access, Off-Road Capable Vehicle Required
Long Point To access Long Point in the summer, drive to the park, pay the entry fee and have a short walk over the dune where you can rig on the beach. In the off season at the winter entrance there is a long trail that will take you to the bay area and you can either kite upwind and walk over the beach or take an extra-long hike. This is not a spot that you walk back to the car to put anything away. It's a long hike.
Katama Bay (South Beach)/South Fork To access, drive out onto the beach at South Fork (Don't forget to let air out of your tires!) and drive along the beach till you hit a clear spot and setup.
The biggest rules to follow around south shore riding are beach access rules and obeying private property.
Beach Access - Long Point You must pay to access Long Point Beach during high season. We recommend you get there early in the day to ensure you get a spot and don't need to wait in line.
Beach Access - Katama Bay You need the Off-Road Vehicle Permit from the Trustees to be able to drive onto the beach and then you must be aware of, and respect, bird closure zones (Call the Trustees
Hazard Types Strong/Adverse Currents, Big Waves, Hazards in the Water
Riding on the south shore is for advanced and expert riders; there are strong currents and shore break and, if you have an emergency, limited access to getting help if you're on a downwinder. Read up on how to take your first ocean side session and how to set up for a downwinder prior to trying to go ride the South Shore. Big picture, be respectful of the surf and currents, stick close to shore, and have a game plan if something goes wrong. Also watch out for boulders covered in barnacles as you get in close to the beach on downwinders.
Kiteable Wind Directions SW, SE
Best Wind Directions SW
The best breeze to ride south shore is SW. During summers the breeze is generally too light for twin tip/surfboard kiting on the South Shore but is suitable for foiling.
During the Fall/Winter/Spring when big breeze starts to fill in and waves arrive, the south shore is a blast to kite in any southerly facing breeze.
Predominant Wind Direction SW
Average Wind Speed In-Season 12 - 18 kts
During the Summer season, the wind stays in the low teens from southwest predominate and accelerates as it flows across the warm island causing the thermal effect. As a result, it's typically too light to kite along the south shore during the season but is kiteable in Cape Poge.
During the fall, winter, and spring, it fills beautifully for ocean side riding on the South Shore.