Contributor: Sam Guest
Sam is the owner and chief instructor of Tantrum Kitesurf. He’s spent 3 years teaching windsurfing and sailing all over Europe, during this time worked as Chief Instructor of a major watersports centre in France. Arriving in Tarifa one winter he took up kitesurfing and has never looked back. Sam has been teaching kitesurfing for 5 years as a fully qualified IKO kitesurfing instructor, almost exclusively on the beaches of Tarifa and the Costa de la Luz. Read More about Sam.
The offer seemed almost to good to be true – unlimited kiting hours at a cost of €105 a day? We’ve paid that previously for a mere afternoon, and when you consider that half that afternoon is taken up with kitting up, a briefing and then taking everything to pieces again at the end of the day, you will understand that not much actual kiting gets done. And compare that €105 to some companies that charge €70 an hour!
Then you realise that if Tantrum is delivering what they’re promising it’s an incredibly good deal.
So we had to check it out. Tarifa , Tantrum Kites and Sam… BEWARE… we’re about to see if what you offer is what you deliver!
The first thing to say is that Tarifa is an absolutely delightful town. It almost seems to be in another country compared to the coastline that we had shuddered our way past, and then suddenly, after Gibralter, you crest a ridge and there is this wonderful unspoiled corner of Spain, of which Tarifa is the jewel. And it wasn’t long before we realised that we had come to a kitesurfer and windsurfers’ paradise.
At which point, one must remind oneself that the above two sports really come into their own when there is a good wind. And when you are learning to do one or the other the wind is an essential requirement.
Tarifa is known for its wind. Some call it the wind capital of the world. It sits at the meeting place of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The wind blows for over 300 days a year here and it is very unusual to have 2 consecutive days with no wind.
Morning #1: we met at the bar as organised the day before. There was what, to our mind, was a howling gale ripping around the old streets of Tarifa and we were told that Sam (Guest) was on his way, but just waiting for the wind to pick up. Pick up we thought? Bloody hell…
But soon enough we were on our way out to a bay where the wind would be as perfect as possible for a mixed group of 5 of us – some who had kited before and a couple of newbies. Kitting up that first day inevitably takes longer than it would on the following few days, but eventually we were ready to hit the beach for a morning of kite flying familiarity and practice. It had it’s amusing moments…
But obstacles overcome, the lessons progressed rapidly and we were shortly doing some body dragging in a conveniently close and nearly flat-water lagoon…
… and within minutes, it seemed, we were body dragging in the ocean…
By the end of day one our little group had mastered the art of launching a kite, flying it in and out of the water and were itching to get our feet onto a board… this looked easy but proved to be less so! However, it had been an educational and exhausting day… time to decide which Tapas bar to visit first on our recovery mission.
We had been on the beach for about 7 hours and had had a brief break for lunch.
Day 2 dawned with promise, although less wind. And practice makes perfect ‘though it seemed to take forever before our feet slotted with some ease into the board straps, our confidence allowed the kite to pull us from the water, and that experience of actually, maybe, possibly, this time we were going to go forward…. no, FACE PLANT… again!
We were there for 7 days. 5 of those days we had long kiting hours – certainly more than 7. Remember, this was April, not Summertime when you can take advantage of the long light evenings. On the two dud days when we thought we might go up coast and visit Jerez or see something more of the region, Sam would phone and say “… wind’s picking up. Let’s go.” He and his instructors, of which, in April, there were 2 others, were at our beck and call. We were there to learn to/or improve our kitesurfing – he and his team were on standby to make sure we got as much kiting in as possible. Then again, they allow for flexibility. Had we decided not to head out on one of the bad days, that would have been fine by them too.
“Instruction will run for as long as you have the energy or until the wind dies, we do not do 3, 4 or 6 hour lessons we will be teaching you for as long as you have the energy , every day. We know you’re here to learn to kitesurf and so we pack as much instructional time in as possible.”
Tantrum Kitesurf has been operating out of Tarifa for 5 years now. They have perfected a unique style of teaching and they tweak their operation constantly. Not for them the boring routine of learning how to kitesurf by the book. “We believe in getting you onto the board and having fun in the minimum of time. Over 5 years we have refined our teaching methodology and have come up with a system that rapidly improves learning time and gets you up and riding much, much quicker (how does in 1 day sound?) than with a conventional course… This incredibly rapid rate of learning is made possible by 2 factors, which seperate us from every other kite school on the planet, our highly advanced teaching methodologies and our Unlimited Hours format, so as long as there is wind and you have the energy, we’ll be at the beach getting you on the board.”
It’s not an idle boast…
There is an advantage to learning in the summer months. Not only do you have the wonderful long days, but the weather is sublime and you can shed your wetsuits. From June to September Tantrum use a rescue boat which means they can operate on beaches in Tarifa where it wouldn’t be possible without a boat. This gives them the unrivalled ability to train you on glass flat water whenever the Levante (easterly wind) is blowing…and it blows for most of the summer. This massively improves your chances of getting up, riding and learning to kitesurf.
Tantrum offer more than just a kitesurfing course. They aim to make sure that you have a trouble free vacation and with that in mind they offer accommodation in a very reasonable apartment or help you find a hotel that fits your budget. They do all the beach transfers, can help with airport transfers, and advice (and often personal guidance!) on nights out and places to eat in Tarifa. Now that’s what you call a ‘package holiday’.
Enjoy the video. So… it’s in Spanish, but it doesn’t take much imagination to get the drift.
Our week in Tarifa with Tantrum will be the first of many. I think next time we will probably go in June. April was great and not very crowded, but a bit too early for the beach restaurants and bars. Nowhere to get a nice cold drink, except, oh yes, of course, Red Bull were there to satisfy any thirsty customers…
If you asked us what we think of the location and Tantrum Kitesurf, we would, without hesitation, highly recommend both as one nice neat package!