Where to Kiteboard on Martha's Vineyard

Where to Kiteboard on Martha's Vineyard

 

  • Overview

    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.


    Types of Riding & Riding Level

    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.


    How to Get There

    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.


    Rules & Regulations

    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.


    Hazards & Items to Watch Out For

    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!


    Wind Details   

    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.

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