Last updated 6-03-2024

A guide to kitesurfing  Fort Desoto East beach.

Everything you need to know kiteboarding here. 

Ryan Goloversic Rygo.png__PID:5fc51d4f-9a92-41bf-ad85-6f00729d5847

Kiteboarding East Beach, Fort Desoto.

West of Tampa Bay, nestled within the expansive Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, Florida, East Beach stands out as a welcomed escape for kitesurfers looking to get away from the crowded and bustling beaches and kitesurfing crowds. Known to locals for its prime kitesurfing conditions and the epic view of the Skyway Bridge.

This Tampa Bay kitesurfing destination is one of the best for flat water and quiet sessions. Recently it has become more popular so there are days when it can be crowded here, particularly on the weekends or when there is a strong forecast. 

East Beach has vast, shallow flats with an average depth of knee-to-waist-deep water, making it perfect for beginners and pro kitesurfers. The water here is protected by shallow waters and a huge sandbar about 1,400 feet from the shore. Like Skyway Beach, the conditions here are incredible and probably the easiest in the area.

The water here experiences less current and can be glassy flat, depending on the tide. The lack of current makes riding upwind and jumping higher much easier! You can wing foil and kite foil here, but you'll have to walk a way out. There are locations with easier foil access, like Skyway Beach or down the road at North Beach Desoto. 

One of the highlights of East Beach is the abundance of space for rigging your gear. Plenty of grassy areas ensure a sand-free setup and takedown process. However, keep an eye out for fire ants while you're preparing your equipment.

East Beach is pet-friendly, but if you plan to bring your furry friends along, ensure they are always on a leash, and be diligent about cleaning up after them. The park rangers at Fort De Soto are very strict about these rules to maintain the park's cleanliness and safety.

East beach kiteboarding at Fort Desoto copy.png__PID:6f67a45e-1c51-4c16-af59-0b6cd1e16c5f
Kitesurfing East Beach Fort Desoto .png__PID:590b6cd1-e16c-4fae-8130-3edb820c9349
KItesurfing at East Beach Fort Desoto.png__PID:6cd1e16c-5fae-4130-bedb-820c9349e63d
Kiteboarding Fort Desoto East Beach.png__PID:5fae0130-3edb-420c-9349-e63d4a3cfe5b

Table Of Content

  • Why you will love kitesurfing at East Beach Fort Desoto.
  • The best wind directions to kitesurf East Beach Fort Desoto.
  • What you need to know when kiteboarding here.
  • What to avoid kiting here.
  • Why you need to take kiteboarding lessons at Skyway Beach.

Why you will love kitesurfing East Beach Fort Desoto.

Beautiful nature, kitesurfing slicks, a massive beach to set up, and a vast riding area. The conditions at East Beach are world-class and unique to the area. East Beach is more secluded and often quieter than other Tampa Bay Spots. Like all of the Tampa and St Petersburg kitesurfing destinations, you'll always find other welcoming kiteboarders here to help launch and land.

This is a mecca and respite for kiteboarders who dream of perfect conditions in the US during winter.  It's important to pay attention to the tides when kiteboarding here, as the water depth can vary wildly and impact the conditions. The high tide here has plenty of depth, but the water can be choppy if many kiters are out. You will generally have the beach to yourself at low tide, but take care.

East Beach Kiteboarding Fort Desoto.png__PID:3edb820c-9349-463d-8a3c-fe5b8c1048cb
Kiteboarding East Beach Fort Desoto.png__PID:01303edb-820c-4349-a63d-4a3cfe5b8c10

The main riding area will be about an inch deep in most places. You'll have to kite closer to the sandbar to find pockets of knee-to-waist-deep water. These are my favorite times to kite here because the seagrass and sandbar make these pools glassy. Outside of finding a private jetty, you'll never find conditions this good for freestyle or learning new kiteboarding tricks.  

Down the road, you'll find public restrooms, picnic areas, and beach showers to use after your session. It's a short drive from the main riding area, so it could be more convenient, but it's nice to have regardless.

Best Wind Directions for Kiteboarding East Beach, Fort Desoto.

NE, E, SE, S 

Like all of Florida, the predominant wind direction during the windy season is north. To kite here, you'll be looking for a northeast, an east, a southeast, or a south wind. Northeast winds here feel smother than other beaches thanks to the wide open water. The sandbar will often produce small wave kickers that are fun to play in, or you can stay just downwind of them for the smoother, flat waters.

East winds here can be very smooth, but sometimes they will have sustained prolonged gusts of power with sustained holes and times with less power. This is nice as you won't often deal with punchy, unpredictable winds. If this happens, the key is to rig a kite for the highs or lows and wait for the gusts or lulls.

South winds get more frequent in the spring and are a local favorite here. Looking at the map, you can see how much open water the wind travels over first to produce smoother conditions here. Once in a while, on a northeast or a southeast, the wind can shift back and forth slightly at this location.

You'll notice there are times when it is more side shore or onshore. On the rare days this happens, the key is to do a small down loop before you jump to get a sense of where downwind is.

What to expect when kitesurfing East Beach, Fort Desoto.

To get here, you'll drive down Pinellas Bayway South all the way down into the park. The drive here has a vibe, and some restaurants are along the way. You will pass through a couple of tolls on the way. Once inside the park, take a left where the road ends and drive down to the roundabout.

This is a popular destination for bikers, so you'll likely see more than a few on the road or bike path here. The park is lush and full of thick palms and wildlife, so enjoy the drive. Take the park road to the end, past the sign for East Beach and the area with the restrooms, showers, and pavilions.

Kiteboarding at East Beach Fort Desoto.png__PID:e63d4a3c-fe5b-4c10-88cb-fc2a230ca193
Kiteboarding At Fort Desoto East Beach .png__PID:9349e63d-4a3c-4e5b-8c10-48cbfc2a230c

Launching here is easy as there are almost no obstructions on the beach, and generally, a few other kiteboarders are here waiting for the wind. Be careful walking out at low tide; the sand here can be slippery or muddy. Stay away from the water's edge, as this is the main launch area, and getting stuck in the mud is possible. 

The riding area is large, shallow, and mostly sand, but shells and oysters can be in the water, so wear booties when launching and walking your kite out. Beyond that, you can expect ample space and prime kiteboarding conditions here. Enjoy riding at one of St Petersburg's most beautiful kiteboarding spots! 

What to be aware of kitesurfing East Beach Fort Desoto.

East Beach Fort Desoto is known as a beginner-friendly kiteboarding spot. There are only a few things to be aware of kiteboarding here. You must use the machines or get a pass to park here. The rangers patrol and ticket people who try to sneak in.

The fire ants here can be bad at times. Watch out for ant hills when setting up your kites, and always wear shoes. Like all of Tampa Bay, the bottom is sand and sea grass, but there are shells and oyster beds, so booties are recommended. The riding area is shallow, about knee to waist deep, but it can get deeper to the west, depending on thetide.

To the south of the riding area, some mangroves are near the shore, giving them a respectful distance. Don't kite too close to shore when it winds onshore here. The beach is clear, but some trees are in the middle and on the outskirts. Watch out for the muddy spots when launching your kite at low tide, as they can be slippery.  

  • Paid Parking. 
  • Fire ants. Wear shoes while setting your kite up. 
  • Shells. Booties are highly recommended in the bay. 
  • Low tides. 
  • Deeper water to the west. 
  • Mangroves downwind.  
  • Keep a healthy distance from shore on east winds. 
  • At low tide, the beach can be slippery.

Why you should take Kiteboarding Lessons at East Beach Fort Desoto.

Elite Watersports has served the Tampa and St Petersburg area for years. They offer kiteboarding and wingsurfing lessons. They also have a retail shop equipt with the latest kitesurfing gear. This is hands down the best location to learn kitesurfing. With everything we have covered in this blog, you can see why we operate our kiteboarding school here. Call today and reserve your spot for jet-ski-supported lessons. If the wind is blowing, we're going!

If you need help give us a call. .

Kiteboarding Lessons Tampa.jpg__PID:214bc6e2-b27f-4e7b-8874-8d2b91878f7b


Rygo Profile.jpg__PID:5d039a79-240c-47cc-a20b-f005324f9f96

Ryan "Rygo" Goloversic


Kiteboarding St Petersburg

Kiteboarding East Beach Fort Desoto 

Want To learn more about kiteboarding?

Follow us to receive the latest update on our journey experience