KITEBOARDING IN TURKS AND CAICOS. 3 REASONS WHY ITS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LEARN KITESURFING

26th January 2019 7:41 am

KITEBOARDING IN TURKS AND CAICOS. 3 REASONS WHY ITS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LEARN KITESURFING

Over the last 20 years of Kiteboarding we’ve travelled, taught, and lived in some of the best kitesurfing locations on the planet.

In the most recent years, we’ve have been very lucky to be coaching more advanced kitesurfing students who have happily told us about all the places in the world that they have kited that we haven’t, yet.

However, if you are thinking of learning to kiteboard then without question (in our professional opinion) Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos is (drum roll please) THE best place on the planet to learn. 

So with all that in mind, I think its fair to say that we have a good idea as to what spots rock and what spots do not.

And we can safely say that Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos is, for sure world class and one of the best kiting locations on earth.

Now that’s a bold statement so here’s 3 of many reasons why …

1. Shallow water

Turks and Caicos is also known as Provo or TCI. The Turks and Caicos islands have one of the largest barrier reefs in the world which along with many mangrove forests, creates an 80 square kilometre, waist deep, crystal clear, warm, swimming pool in the sea.

We’re going to repeat that as that’s so important…

Turks and Caicos has an 80 square kilometre area of obstruction free, waist deep, warm, crystal clear water.

Learning to kite in shallow water takes out all the stress of your lessons because no matter what happens, your feet will touch the sandy bottom and you will be able to stand up at any moment.

This is a huge benefit for so many reasons. Safety is of course number one!

Closely followed by your speed of progression and of course it’s so much more FUN when you are progressing at a decent pace.

Most places where you can learn kitesurfing around the world do not have an abundance of shallow water (if any) and if they do then generally they become busy locations especially if they have regular wind.

Now we’re not saying that you cant have a great lesson from a professional instructor in a busy, deep water location, it just takes more time and more effort.

For example – When you fall off in deep water you have to relaunch your kite and while this is pretty easy, you are being blown downwind and away from where you started meaning you will be doing a lot of walking back upwind.

The chances are that you will fall off your board. This means that in deep water, you will be some distance away from your board which you will have to rescue, and this means even more distance travelled downwind and an even longer walk back.

This loss of time and energy distrups your flow of learning as well as takes up a large part of your lesson time.

With shallow water, when you crash (and you will crash!) you simply stand up, relaunch your kite in a matter of seconds, walk a few meters to get your board and then immediately try again, all with your instructor standing only a few meters away from you, encouraging you, calmly offering you tips with no shouting or even having to wear lots of restrictive safety equipment.

It’s all extremely civilised, safe and most importantly it really is even more fun learning in a vast area of shallow water.

2. Empty beaches

Busy locations can also be stressful and cost you valuable time and energy when you are learning to Kitesurf.

This is mainly because of the unpredictability of other people who are learning. Collisions happen reguarly at busy beaches and while most of the time its just tangled kite lines it’s still time consuming.

Also it’s fair to say that most learner kitesurfers are quite rightly apprehensive and do not want to crash their kite into anyone else.

This is where Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos really shines as there is enough space for literally thousands of kitesurfers.

But the greatest irony is that there will probably never be too many kiteboarders in Turks and Caicos.

Why? Several reasons but mainly because Turks and Caicos is not cheap.

Ok so it is possible to come kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos and not break the bank to badly but it is definitely more pricey than other locations which keeps the crowds well away.

On top of that there are only a few direct flights for people coming to learn kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos so it’s not the easiest place in the world to get to.

Now who ever though that expensive and not easily accessible  would ever be a good thing!?

When it comes to having plenty of space to learn, kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos is as good as it gets.

It’s hard to believe that when you arrive and stand on the famous Long bay beach looking out over the endless turquoise blue water that you could walk to the horizon and another 4 kilometres further on.

3. Reliable wind

There is nothing worse than booking up a kitesurfing holiday only to be let down by the wind.

Ok so nowhere on the planet is 100% reliable and even Kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos is not guaranteed on every single day of your trip but the consistency of the trade winds give you an incredibly high wind probability.

The windy season in Turks and Caicos is almost year round running from December all the way through to September. A 10 month season!

On top of great wind stats, the quality of the wind is also super important. Gusty, inconsistent wind is frustraighting. Strong wind can also be stressful.

So when learning kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos, the chances are that you will be blessed by some of the most consistent trade winds on the planet. Most wind days are between 12 and 20kts which is simply perfect for learning.

Ok lets assume the absolute worst case scenario that you are really unlucky and you don’t get at least 70-80% wind days on your trip. Sad face 🙁

Fear not, as there are so many other world class activities to do on the islands.

Firstly (if you hadn’t quite got the message yet) there are endless empty, picture perfect beaches with water so clear and so blue it’s hard to believe.

The pristine and unpopulated natural ecosystems are teaming with wildlife such as Turtles, dolphins and even Whales.

Activities on a no wind day that won’t break the bank include supping through the mangrove forests, world class snorkelling even amazing Kayaking too.

Add to that an arguably perfect climate and all of a sudden a rare no wind day is actually a welcome break and opportunity to take a gazillion photos that are guaranteed to make all your friends jealous.

So to conclude, if you are serious about learning to kiteboard, overlook the price and the extra effort it takes to come kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos because in this case you really do get what you pay for. 


Filed under: kite boarding, Kite Surfing

Everything you ever wanted to know about kite boarding

30th January 2019 8:30 am

Everything you ever wanted to know about kite boarding

It’s no secret that the Big Blue Collective are in love with the fascinating sport of kitesurfing- but you may not know too much about it. Today we’re taking a closer look at all things kiteboarding… and we’re sure you will fall in love with this magnificent sport too. Better yet, come try it ‘in the flesh’ here in the TCI, and we’re confident you’ll never look back.

Where did kiteboarding come from?

Kiteboarding has deeper origins then you may expect. Even in the 19th century, enterprising folk used sails to propel both land- and water-driven conveyances using the 4-line system fans are so familiar with today. The English Channel was even crossed in 1903 using a canvas boat and a kite! However, it wasn’t until Kevlar and Spectra came onto the market in the 1970s that the sport truly took off. October 1977 saw the first true KiteSurfing patent granted. Sadly there was no commercial interest, but it sparked the interest of some devotees.

Decades of innovation followed. Kite buggying had a hey-day in the 1990s, using a three-wheel buggy/cart with a parafoil-like sail. A few names stand out in kitesurfing history, however. The Roeselers of the U.S and the Legaignoux of France, who both pioneered similar innovations separately. Bill and Cory Roeseler, with ties to Boeing, patented the ‘KiteSki’ system. While it was a far cry from modern boards, it could launch upwind and had water launch capabilities. By the late 90s, it was already a single board not unlike a surfboard.

The Legaignoux brothers were the minds behind the ‘Wipika’ kite, meanwhile. This innovation would later help the development of the bow kite so familiar to many designers. By 1999, kiteboarding could finally claim to be a mainstream sport.

The noughties only saw this fantastic sport grow and grow. We’ve seen the rise of the bi-directional board, kite surfing become a course race, and much more- and now the sport’s eyes are set on inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. It’s already a key part of the Youth Olympics after 2018.

So, what’s the difference between kitesurfing and kiteboarding?

Unless you are a connoisseur, there really isn’t one! You’ll find the two terms user pretty interchangeably among many people- even among ourselves if we are honest! For devotees of the sport, however, there is actually a small difference- kiteboards are strictly ‘twin tip’ boards, a little more like a wakeboard in design, and offer similar performance no matter whether ridden with the left or right tip forward. This ‘technically correct kiteboard’ is also the easiest style to master, and performs brilliantly for cruising, jumping and doing tricks.

Equally strictly speaking, kitesurfing uses a directional board that can only be used with the nose forward. It’s a style specialised for conquering the waves, and is adapted for the extra stress of this activity.

If there is a difference, however small, then why did the two terms come to be used so freely for the same sport? It’s easy- the strictly proper kiteboard is where everyone starts, no matter what their ultimate ambitions may be. Directional boards need you to master your abilities- you need to stay upwind, be able to transition and tackle medium waves, make small jumps, and control your kite instinctively. This makes them the preserve of the intermediate and advanced kite boarder with a good year or more experience under their belt. There’s also a lot more decision making by the time the strict kitesurfing stage has been reached, as this is where you decide if you will be using straps or not.

So, in the end, and if you’re getting technical, all kitesurfers are kiteboarders, but not all kite boarders are kitesurfers. In day-to-day chatter, however, the terms pretty much universally refer to the same exciting sport.

How do I start kiteboarding?

As fully accredited instructors, we recommend starting your kite surfing journey with someone who has already mastered the sport. This not only gives you the benefit of their years of knowledge, but you have a calm, clear head available to you if you get in a pickle while learning- which we all do. A master boarder has had the time (and the amateur upsets of their own) to develop automatic reflexes for the sport, and having one guiding you as you take your first steps will help you get comfortable with your board and learn to enjoy the sport the right way.

If you’re a baby beginner, you’ll typically start out with flat water boarding first. We’ll guide you through the basics, and help you to learn your transitions as well as get comfortable with moving around the board. Over time, you’ll be more and more confident with greater surf. A key issue to watch for is overconfidence… the power provided from the kite can be a little hypnotic, and you don’t want to end up in water you aren’t comfortable with! Every boarder in the world- even the greats- has spent a lot of time swimming, especially as they learned, so always make sure that you are working in water you’d be happy to take a dive into if you get something wrong.

Don’t overthink the process, however, even if you are aiming to become quite competitive in the sport. The Big Blue Collective believes in safe, steady instruction that helps you explore and progress gently and safely, so we’ll help you on the way to mastery of the sport while you enjoy the learning experience.

Kite surfing has a long and fascinating history- and you simply need to be part of it, too. While we hope this informative little article has whet your appetite for the facts, you won’t know how truly spectacular the sport really is until you try it for yourself- so come join the fun in the Turks and Caicos sun with the Big Blue Collective today!


Filed under: Uncategorised

Explore the wonders of the Conch Bar Caves with Big Blue Collective

25th January 2019 8:28 am

Explore the wonders of the Conch Bar Caves with Big Blue Collective

When you think of the TCI, we’re sure you think of sunlit beaches, swaying palms and the glorious blue of the water. Have you ever stopped for a moment to consider what lies under all the beauty, however? We bet you haven’t! The Conch Bar Caves are an utterly unique karst system of sinkholes, caves and ‘blue holes’… and today we’re showing them a little love too!

What is a karst cave, anyway?

Making a cave takes a good, long time. Karst caves are what you get when a mild acid eats away at limestone over millennia- something that happened in the Turks and Caicos when acidic rainwater slowly dissolved the exposed limestone bones of the island when sea waters were lower. Limestone itself is a little acidic, which adds to the effect. Soft areas are exploited, while harder areas (often with a stronger mix of rock) remain intact… and over time systems of sinkholes, dips and caverns are formed.

The Turks and Caicos is built on a skeleton of limestone, so the entirety of this unique corner of the earth- from the beautiful underwater vistas and her unique shores to the exposed rock outcrops you find as you explore the back country- is shaped by the unique erosion effects of water and sand.

Where are the Conch Bar Caves?

The Conch Bar Caves nestle on the Middle Caicos Island, and are possibly the best known cave system throughout the whole of the Turks and Caicos. It also holds the title of the largest non-submerged cave system in the entire Bahamas, so you’ll understand how unique this amazing chain is.

Unsurprisingly, this means it has a long history intertwined with island culture. When storms threatened, the Taino aboriginal people would take shelter here. Even after colonisation, the cave system was used as a bat guano resource, and it yields fascinating finds and tiny glimpses into the prehistory of the TCI (and some unique now-extinct animals) even today.

While Conch Bar Caves are the most impressive in the system, they’re not the only gorgeous underground vistas for you eager spelunkers to explore. Very close to Conch Bar is Indian Cave, notable for its natural ‘skylights’ bring light and tantalising glimpses of the sky into the cave depths. Desperate for the nourishing sun, unexpected wild ficus and papaya trees thrust trembling branches skyward here, making the most of what little nature has left them to work with.

East Caicos is another great site to explore if you’re interested in getting into the darkest depths of the TCI. While considerably smaller than the Conch Bar Cave system, they’re still fascinating- especially if you happen to stumble upon the faint traces of rail track showing its history as a guano mine.

Cave delving in the deep blue sea

Overland caves like Conch Bar Caves aren’t the only spectacular natural formations you’ll find in the Turks and Caicos, however. The TCI is also home to some spectacular underwater systems, especially in the beautiful mangrove channels and the shallower areas of the sounds. There’s so many, in fact, that scientists and naturalists debate the exact number- after all, one man’s ‘small cave’ is another man’s ‘deep crack’. No matter what you’d classify them as, however, there’s no doubt they are beautiful, and some provide amazing opportunities for divers.

The submerged caves are a mystery of their own, in fact. Most are not connected to the ocean by any means we’ve discovered, yet exhibit clear tidal behaviour. This strongly suggests a subterranean connection to the ocean we have yet to discover, adding another layer of glamour to these dark and mysterious depths. We’ve even found barracuda populations inland!

When is a cave a sinkhole instead?

Caves, as we’re sure you already know, tend to encompass a lot of horizontal space to go with their depths. Sinkholes, on the other hand, represent a dramatic plunge in the landscape, often formed originally by sudden subsidence. They can be tiny, less than a metre in depth, or massive, with soaring depths. ‘The Hole’, the famous Provo sinkhole, plunges a dramatic 60 foot to the water! You’ll find many beautiful examples around Provo, especially around the Cooper Jack Bay Beach. While the site remains unprotected at present, we’re hopeful more interest in this beautiful area- which also features storing stone formations and breath-taking scenery- will help drive efforts to conserve the natural beauty. Don’t forget to swing by Crossing Place Trail in Middle Caicos too!

What colour is your favourite?

‘Blue holes’ is a special term for sinkholes characterised by remarkably perfect round surface openings that conceal deep, watery depths. You’ll see magnificent examples at Cottage Pond and the Middle Caicos Ocean hole here in the TCI. Cottage Pond has even proved to be home to a previously unknown species, a marine remipede. While remote, Middle Caicos Ocean Hole is so impressive it’s well worth the visit as part of our eco-tours. 2000 feet wide, it’s possible the largest of its type in the world! Another can’t-miss, East Caicos holds a variety of blue holes scientists suspect are, in fact, super rare black holes, of which only 5 or so are known worldwide.

Get a glimpse into the distant past

Caves have been way more to mankind then just pretty items of scenery, however. It’s unsurprising, if you consider it, how closely tied early man was to these sheltering, protective areas of the landscape. It was no different in the Turks and Caicos. Splendid artefacts from the proto-population of the area, the Taino, have been found throughout caves on the island, especially at West Harbour Bluff in Provo. Consider taking one of our popular boat cruises out to see the area.

The TCI isn’t just a pretty island destination- it’s a spectacular eco-adventure just waiting for you to explore it! Be sure to add Conch Bar Caves, and some of these other remarkable natural features, to your Big Blue Collective tour itinerary on your next visit.


Filed under: Tourism

Learn the sport of kite surfing with the TCI’s best, fully accredited kiteboarding instructors

4th January 2019 8:27 am

Learn the sport of kite surfing with the TCI’s best, fully accredited kiteboarding instructors

What’s better than kitesurfing the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean? Doing it under the eagle eyes of a team of IKO accredited instructors of course! From in-depth insider knowledge of the area gleaned from living in the TCI, right through to our extensive experience that will help you boost your own skills into the stratosphere, you’re going to want to try kiteboarding in Provo with the Big Blue Collective team.

What is IKO?

IKO, or the International Kiteboarding Organisation, provide accreditation for kiteboarding schools worldwide. They are a leading kiteboarding accreditation organisation, internationally recognised as promoting safe practices and high standards for the kite surfing industries. With IKO backing, you know that the ultimate balance of safety and fun will be waiting for you. From those first tentative steps in the sport, right through to the experienced kiteboarder, IKO helps you achieve your very best self.

IKO accredited instructors are free to keep their own individuality and unique experience, so you won’t receive a boring, cookie-cutter monologue under our instruction, either! Our own IKO accredited core team consists of five men and women, each with a passion for teaching and a deep love of the sport. They’ve got impressive chops to back up their claims to fame, too- with a long and amazing history with not only kite surfing to call their own, but a host of other athletic and water sports achievements to their names.

What is the big Blue Collective’s kiteboarding difference?

The Big Blue Collective want you to have the safest, most exhilarating experience while kiteboarding with us, both in and out of the water- and no matter your prior experience. We’ll teach you from scratch, or we’ll help you get even better. As long as you’re on the water and having safe, skilled fun, we’re glad! With over two decades in the industry and the solid backing of IKO’s standards, we’re perfectly placed to make your dreams of kiteboarding in Provo come true… and we’ll help you do so safely, effectively, and while having a blast.

You’ll never be pushed to do something you’re unhappy with, even if we have faith you can do it, and two-way communication lies at the heart of our kiteboarding instruction. Our instructors aren’t the only members of our full kiteboarding team, either, so there’s always an eagle eye and helping hand around should you need one on a Big Blue Collective activity. We’re even able to lay claim to Hope Levin and Kit Griffiths, two of the very best local kiteboarders, as our kite surfing ambassadors!

Why come kiteboarding in Provo?

The real question here is ‘why not’? Of course, there are all the benefits of learning with the most experienced kiteboarding team in the TCI, but there’s much, much more too. The Turks and Caicos seas are truly unique. The islands sit perched on a ‘shelf’ of land, which is how they can offer such calm, flat and gorgeous seas yet still provide spectacular dive sites, coral reefs and other epic vistas just waiting for you to explore. Don’t think the sheltered nature of the water means dull, flat seas either- the brisk presence of the trade winds almost year-round ensures there’s enough air-power to keep things interesting for those kiteboarding on the water.

The trade winds also provide a little cooling air for the perpetually hot temperatures, ensuring that (while the water is deliciously warm even in the morning and evening) there’s just enough breeze to keep you comfortable.

This secluded, calm atmosphere has made the Turks and Caicos a haven of natural beauty, too. From the friendly stingrays to the iguanas of Iguana Island and the many tropical birds you’ll spot in the trees, there’s a feast for the eyes wherever you turn. Add in some of the world’s most beautiful beaches (complete with powder-soft white sand) and you’re almost set for a perfect holiday in the sun.

There’s one more lure, however. The Turks and Caicos, while a popular destination well used to catering to tourists, is far less populated than many of the Caribbean islands. It’s one of the few premier tourist destinations in the world where you stand a very real chance of being able to soak in that beautiful beach view accompanied by no one else. The islands cast a magical spell anyway, but the fact you can experience it without crowds adds an extra depth to the experience.

Does this make Provo a kiteboarding dream destination? We like to think so! Blend the sparkle of the islands with our expert kiteboarding instruction and come experience it for yourself.

How do I get a slice of the kiteboarding action?

Keen to come and try this amazing sport for yourself? Then why not book a session with the Big Blue Collective while you are here in the TCI? No need to wait until you land, either. With our fully automated, easy to use online booking system. Not only does this let you plan and budget ahead, but it also allows you the convenience and peace-of-mind of being able to chat with our experienced team throughout the process- we’d love to get to know you before you take your first lesson! You can opt to book a private lesson or share with a group to keep your budget tight.

If you are already a kiteboarding fan but don’t want to drag your gear along, the Big Blue Collective is powered by the Cabrinha kite and board line, and we offer a range of rentals to suit every kiteboarder.

With Big Blue behind you, you don’t even have to worry if the wind lets us down… our No Wind, No Problem options allow you to still have a ton of fun with Stand Up Paddle Boarding, beach cruising, or any of the myriad of great activities open to you in the TCI.

Come experience kiteboarding in Provo with our accredited teaching team, and let the delights of the TCI charm you today.


Filed under: kite boarding, Kite Surfing

Travelling solo in the Turks and Caicos: Your one-stop ultimate guide

16th January 2019 8:27 am

Travelling solo in the Turks and Caicos: Your one-stop ultimate guide

Travelling solo is one of the most formative experiences you will ever have. It’s an utterly unique experience which leaves you free to do it all your way, free of compromise or other’s expectations. It can even be a way to re-find yourself in a busy world of deadlines and joy-sapping daily grinds. Yet the beautiful beaches of the Bahamas are seldom sold to the weary solo traveller looking for a way to relax and unwind- and they really should be! Travelling the Turks and Caicos solo is an epic experience everyone should have under their belts- and here’s Big Blue Collective’s top tips on making the most of the experience.

Get to know the real you

Don’t worry, this isn’t the moment we launch into some deeper metaphysics. We mean it very literally. The way to get the most out of solo travel to Provo, or anywhere in the TCI, is to know your likes, wants and dislikes. Do you like to live at the centre of the party? Is it cocktails and heady nights dancing for you? Then rich and vibrant Provo is the destination you need to explore. Are you more of a contemplative type who longs to be out in nature? Then let us craft you the perfect eco-experience so you don’t miss a single inch of the unique natural landscape and vibrant wildlife that makes the TCI so special. Are you a super-active athlete who wants to cram every inch of the day full with sports that challenge your body and mind? Then let’s hit the water together and explore the many sports open to you, rounding it off with some backcountry cycling for variety. Are you keen to embrace the iconic fun-in-the-water that screams ‘Caribbean’, but have never so much as seen a kiteboard, paddle board or canoe? Great news- we have some of the best instructors in the world working for us, and we’re here to help folks of all levels discover the deep passion for kiteboarding, stand up paddle boarding and many more sports that we all share.

In short, plan your solo experience so that you ‘play nicely’ with yourself. Catering to your personal strengths is the key part of crafting the best solo experience possible- and the Big Blue Collective is here to help you create the holiday of your dreams, every step of the way.

Know when to hang with the crowd

Solo travellers are always warned to take a little extra care with their personal safety. It’s great advice, of course! You’ll be glad to know that the TCI is one of the safest destinations in the world, making it a fantastic choice for the solo adventurer. All the same, while you man-made threats are few, you don’t want to get too stuck in the one-man groove either, especially if you are playing on or in the water or exploring the less developed islands. That’s why opting for a Turks and Caicos experience with the Big Blue Collective is so rewarding for those flying solo- you always have a buddy on hand if you hit a sticky patch, feel ill, catch too much sun or need a helping hand, but can still enjoy your alone time too.

We’d advise considering a resort or shared accommodation rather than a private villa if you’re all alone, so you don’t feel lost or isolated too much. As a tour provider, we’re happy to help you find the perfect match for your personality, so don’t be afraid to ask. Come armed with useful numbers, just in case you need them- we’d advise having your accommodations telephone number, and our own, firmly added to your address books in case you need them.

Don’t be afraid to schedule some ‘you time’, though- especially if you already know you love your own company. The TCI is refreshingly free of touts and over-eager ‘helpers’, so you’ll be able to have a fun time exploring the local bars and haunts without practising the polite-but-firm ‘no’ seasoned travellers to other parts of the world get so used to wielding.

Not getting out of your depth- even in the waves

Another great aspect to solo travel in the TCI is how very familiar everything will seem to you. Everyone speaks English fluently, and the U.S dollar is our major currency. We’re a British Overseas Territory with strong links to U.K culture, and much of the local’s daily lives will be completely familiar to you, if slower and a lot more fun! Culture shock won’t come into play, and we guarantee you’ll feel at home immediately. All of the Big Blue Collective’s instruction is carried out in English, so lessons will be easy to access and you’ll have more time to get out and do your thing.

Won’t I feel like I’m missing out?

We’re absolutely certain you won’t. Solo travellers can sometimes feel a little homesick, so it’s important to get into the spirit of your solo adventure. Come ready to snap photos and make the most of every day. Pack your time here with all the things you want to do, free of the need to compromise or listen to others whine and spoil the experience. Get ready to make new friends and explore the edges of your comfort zone in the very best way possible. Bring along devices so you can stay in touch with family and friends along the way- and make them super jealous as you go! Change your mind, go where you will, experience what you want- and all in the super-gorgeous Caribbean surroundings of the Turks and Caicos, where fluffy white beaches, turquoise seas and gorgeous vistas at every turn are the name of the game.

With the Big Blue Collective on-hand to help you make the most of your solo travel in the Turks and Caicos, and your spirit of adventure driving you onward, an epic experience in the Bahamas awaits you!


Filed under: Tourism, Travel