Last updated -08-2024

A guide to kitesurfing Skyway Beach East.

Everything you need to know kiteboarding here. 

Where can i kiteboard in Florida? Rygo.jpg__PID:f22ecde0-c32f-4286-bd9a-e60af26a280b

Kiteboarding Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

Tampa Bay, hands down, has the best winter kitesurfing in the USA. Consistent winds, a temperate climate, and perfect kiteboarding conditions. You get the same palm tree vibes of South Florida without the hustle and bustle of hectic traffic conditions. The people are friendly, there is a vibrant kitesurfing community here, and you can find relatable support from the local shop, whether that's kitesurfing events, races, lessons, parties, or simply gear repair, local knowledge, or the latest gear.

There are more prime kitesurfing spots in the greater Tampa Bay area with more options than any other place in the United States or most of Florida, for that matter. You can find flat water, good waves, private beaches, secret lagoons, or link up with the massive kiteboarding community here. One famous location with perfect kite conditions and a fun kite scene is Skyway Beach. Chances are you have seen photos of the iconic Skyway Bridge and the local kitesurfers shredding here.

Skyway is my go-to destination every November and the closest I can call to a home spot with my hectic travel schedule. I chose this location for many reasons, but you can get more kiteboarding sessions here than anywhere else in the USA from November through April.

The wind works in any direction here, and the water is generally flat depending on the tide. The crew here is fun, and the shop vibes are all the time. In this blog, we'll share everything you need to know about kiteboarding Skyway Beach East, from the best wind directions on this side to what to expect and what to avoid.

Kitesurfing Tampa Bay Skyway East.png__PID:d40b1695-d24d-462f-978f-5da7c15c2cb5
A guide to kiteboarding Skyway Beach East St Petersburg Florida.png__PID:6c125764-6419-486e-a272-ac2db9dc1536
teaching kiteboarding at the skyway.jpg__PID:b6eef373-ede8-4d8a-b086-fb566b20ccab
231121 SkywayE-33.jpg__PID:59dfcbfd-cd8c-43e8-b6cc-366f2dd4afa1

Table Of Content

  • Why you will love kitesurfing at Skyway Beach East
  • The best wind directions to kitesurf Skyway Beach East.
  • 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 Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

Imagine a place with white sand beaches, palm trees, and shallow water protected by a massive shallow sandbar. Now, picture a vast riding area with knee-to-waist-deep water. A few kitesurfing schools teach from the sand bars off in the distance. You look to the beach, and local kiteboarders hang out by their vans, sharing a drink or having a "bro-down" about their session.

You look upwind to the outskirts of the sandbar, and there is a crew of wing surfers shredding in the chest-deep water, taking full advantage of the consistent north winds. A couple of dedicated kite foilers are tacking and jibing upwind, enjoying the ample space to practice their sport

sunet beach kiteboarding Florida.png__PID:26c750cf-7c6a-4310-98b6-a1f47041f70c
221204 Skyway-56.jpg__PID:f784510f-efa1-48dd-b195-641e4156c301

You look downwind towards the Skyway bridge and see some freestyle kiteboarders throwing down freestyle and big air on an unmatched level on most US beaches. There is support from Elite Watersports and a crew of instructors at the beach daily, helping bring new people into the sport and showing them the lay of the land.

It sounds too good to be true, but this place actually exists, and while it's a popular spot, I'm still amazed that more people don't know about kiteboarding in St Petersburg.

Best Wind Directions for Kiteboarding Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

N, NE, SE 

Two beaches are located at Skyway, each working in various wind directions. Skyway Beach East works best with a north wind, a northeast, and a southeast. Northeast winds are the most prevalent in the fall and winter months. As downtown St Petersburg heats up in the day, we get consistent thermal winds even when not much is forecasted.

The further north the wind clocks, the more boost you can get for big air, but it can be gustier, too. As the wind clocks east, you can anticipate smoother conditions. In the late morning, it's common for the wind to shift a little from north to northeast and back, thanks to the city upwind. Riding upwind to the sandbar will be the best place to catch prime conditions. This is due to how the water flows here.

You will notice a small current often moving toward the wind. This small current is always near the shore at the edges of the beach, where the shallow water meets the deeper areas. It's not strong enough to notice when walking in the water but enough to take a knot or two of power out of your sail if caught up in it. It's always best to keep a reasonable distance from the beach for safety anyway!

In the spring, around late February to April, there will be more and more south winds here. These are always fun and smooth. Light south winds are less dense, so be ready to use a bigger kite if necessary! Skyway is excellent if the wind clocks east, but we recommend visiting Lassing Park! We can only ride there in specific wind directions, and it's something to take advantage of!

What to expect when kitesurfing Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

Driving down the 275, you'll take the rest stop exit on the St Pete side of the Skyway Bridge. Go to the east side, where there is a small access road down to the beach. You'll drive across some hard pact sand to the main launching area. There is a clearly used path in the sand, but watch out for deep sand and small pools of water. There are small patches of grass with rubbish bins that you can park next to; just be sure to stay off the grass.

This is the prime area for setting up and tearing down kites! Deeper waters are perfect for wingfoiling or kitefoiling to the beach's north. To the east, you will see the main riding area for twintip kiteboarding. For about 1200 feet, knee-to-waist-deep water is protected by the large sand bar here. There are usually jet ski-supported kiteboarding lessons from Elite Watersports happening on the sandbar that you can use as a visual reference to see the border of the main kitesurfing area.

231121 SkywayE-24 (1).jpg__PID:e19fb6ab-ebc0-441a-b2f1-dfce82acf116

The water near the sandbar will be the smoothest and have the least current. To the south, you will see the Skyway Bridge and the other main hydroiling area. The water here is also chest-deep overhead, depending on the tide. Be mindful on a north wind, as there are no exits downwind of the riding area. You can set up along the shore or on the grass areas along the beach.

There is almost always a crew of kiteboarders here to support launch or land kites, and if there is wind, you can expect the Elite Watersports team to be here teaching. This is the main area for most kitesurfing events in central Florida. We do downwinders from Lasing Park to here, often in the spring when the north winds start to fire.

Skyway Beach is the epicenter of kiteboarding in Florida. I like to think of it as the Tarifa of the USA, as this is the largest and most vibrant kiteboarding community I've encountered in my travels.

What to be aware of kitesurfing Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

Skyway Beach is one of the most beginner-friendly locations in Florida, but there are a few things to be aware of. Like most of Tampa Bay, the bottom can have oysters and shells, so booties are necessary.

This is a famous kiteboarding beach, but other beachgoers will visit it occasionally. It's important to share the space respectfully and yield to the rare swimmer. The current here is light but can make light wind feel extra light. Ride away from the shore for safety and to get out of the gentle current for more power.

The most significant hazard here is the deep water area to the south; unlike the main riding area, it's too deep to walk back here, so if something goes wrong, you'll need to self-rescue and swim back in.

  • Yield right of way to all beach and water users.
  • Wear booties, as there are shells and rocks
  • The water gets deep to the south
  • Light currents

Why you should take Lessons at Skyway Beach East, St Petersburg, Florida.

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

Skyway Beach East 

Want To learn more about kiteboarding?

Follow us to receive the latest update on our journey experience