With its good wind, warm water, big beach and friendly, professional kite school/rental shop, this is a nice place to kite if you're living in SE Asia and want a very chilled out kite vacation for a few days. If, however, you're from somewhere farther afield, I don't think it would be worth hours of transit time and expensive flights to get to - you might find it a bit disappointing. But for those of us living in SE Asia and suffering from wind withdrawals, this is a pretty nice nearby spot. Here's what we experienced:
The wind: The windy season is from about June through August, but note that there are periods when they will have zero breeze for a week at a time. If you want the best shot at getting wind, book your trip at the last minute after confirming the forecast. When it's windy, it's pretty consistent. In our 6 days there, I rode the 7, 9 and 13. Most days, the wind is side-on or sometimes side-shore (so not idea for wave-riding, but good for freestyle). Note: there's really not much else to do in the area, so if you get some no-wind days, you might go a bit stir-crazy.
The water and waves: The water is warm and clean, and pretty choppy on the inside before you get to the waves. Upwind, there's a small jetty, and in its shadow, the water is pretty smooth (but not butter-flat). About 200 meters from shore are the waves, which are reef-break and nice shape, and there's a keyhole/channel to get out. But the prevailing side-on wind direction makes it not ideal for wave-riding.
The spot, shop and kite school: The beach is long, wide and clean. Maurice and Jo have set up a nice little bungalow school and rental shop on the beach, where you can relax and have some cold water in the shade on swings, hammocks or picnic tables when taking breaks from kiting. They're super friendly, helpful and very good instructors, and they've got good gear for rent. As for a former kite instructor myself, I can attest to their proficiency as teachers - they were getting students up and riding very quickly, and they kept everyone quite safe.
Local cultural considerations: The locals are very nice, especially if you speak a little bit of Bahasa. Several asked to take photos with me - they were so excited to talk with a Westerner who spoke their language. :-) You should note though that Banda Aceh has very conservative Islamic hudud laws, so that means there's no alcohol (except for what you can smuggle in yourself), and all women - including non-muslims - are supposed to wear conservative clothing that covers everything but your face, hands and feet. (I wasn't keen on wearing a hijab or long sleeves, so I wore a hat and a light beach coverup over my tank top - locals seemed to be fine with that.) If you go during Ramadan, note that you will be kept up at night by prayers or singing that's blasted from mosque loudspeakers.
All in all, we had a nice kite trip there and we'll be back for sure...but it's only a 80 minute flight from where we live. Some kiters who flew from further away seemed to be a bit disappointed though. So that's why I'd say it's great as a local kite destination for those living in SE Asia. Maurice and Jo are fantastic - they're really great people and they're putting their heart into Seabreeze.
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