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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1) What currency/credit card should we bring?
The best currency to bring with you is the euro (not US Dollars or Pounds). You can use euro on the island or exchange it for escudo’s at the airport or local bank. The rate is 1euro to 110escudos. Visa card and Mastercard are the only card that is accepted with businesses. There is a 3.5% charge on visa and mastercard. Only the bank will accept American Express. The cost of changing traveller’s cheques is very expensive here. PLEASE NOTE, that a lot of businesses have recently stopped using credit card machines, so it is always safe to bring cash. Also there are on and off problems with signals, so even though a business may have a machine they do not always work. Welcome to island life!
Do I need any vaccinations: No, Cape verde is brilliant, there are no tropical diseases here. But I would bring mosqito repellent, as we do get these little pests at certain times in the year.
2) What is the average size kite used on the island?
Summer: June to October: 14M to 16M
Winter: November to May: 9M to 12M. If you are little on the heavy/muscle side then maybe 10M and 13M
Average Wind Surf Sails?
Summer: June to October: 6.5-8.5
Winter: November to May: 4.7-6.1
WIND: June to October are our summer months and the months with the least wind -avg wind is between 10 to 15knots (september being the month with the least wind)
November to December: avg 16 to 21knots
Jan to march: are the strongest wind months with feb being the strongest. Avg wind is 17 to 28knots.
April -May: avg wind 17 to 19knots
What will the wind be like when i am there? I have no idea! wind is like a woman, completely unpredictable!!. Funny how often I get asked that question. If you go to the windguru or windfinder they can give you a 7 day forecast. Windfinder also has a section where you can see wind statistics from previous years.
2A) Why should I come to Sal for kite surfing and wind surfing?
Because there is not other place like it! Sal is brilliant as it has 4 completely different kite spots all within 15min of each other. Each spot offers something different to both the kite surfer and wind surfer. For those wanting even more of a challange the west coast offers some of the best waves in the world. By taxi, the ride is anywhere between 15min and 25min. As an added benefit, sal remains a little known jewel in the surfing world, so there is loads of space on the water for you to experiment without crashing into another surfer (this i find to be a big positive!).
3) Do I need a wet suite?
In the summer months June to November the water is warm enough that no wet suite is required when surfing/windsurfing/kitesurfing. In the winter months, we recommend a 3 mm shortie or long wet suite depending on your blood circulation. Wetsuits are normally not included in RENTALS.
Do I need warm clothes? If you are coming between December and April I would bring some trousers and a hoodie for the evening. This year the evening and nights were very chilly. The chill is from the wind and this year we had ALOT of wind.
4) Should I reserve course/board/rentals before hand?
We recommend that you reserve a course or rental prior to arriving to guarantee you a spot as well as material. Do you offer Storage: Yes we do. The cost is 40 euros for 1 week and is for 2 kites and 1 board. we also offer windsurf storage for 50 euros a week (2 sails and 1 board).
Do you organize trips to other locations: No sorry we do not. However, we can organize a taxi for you that knows the main surf spots. Cost is between 15 and 40 euros.
5) Can I book and pay on line?
You can book for a course or rental via e-mail and pay in full prior to arriving. Payment can be made into a Surf Zone account in the UK or Germany. Once payment is made we send you a voucher to bring with you to the school
6) What do I need to know if I am bringing my own equipment?
Bring all your own gear: wet suite, harness, helmet, leash, etc if you have it. Schools tend to only rent out helmets and harnesses when available (these items, wet suites and leashes are included in lessons) It is also difficult to buy parts here, so bring some spares for your bar and line (chicken loop etc.), board etc. Schools normally only have spares for their own school equipment. Additionally, different brands require different parts.
7)What do I need to Know if I am renting Kite Material from you? Rentals do not include harness, wet suite, helmets, swim vests or leashes. If you need to rent these items, please tell us before you arrive. However, I highly recommend bringing your own wet suite, as our wet suites are mainly reserved for clients doing lessons. Kite rentals are Kite, Bar and Board ONLY. On most new kite boards you cannot put a leash on them. Though if you are renting you should be at a level, where you do not need a board leash.
For more information on renting kites, please go to our kite rentals page.
8)Where will I Kite Surf?
-All the Kite surfing in Sal is excellent. ALL KITE SURFING IN SAL IS DEEP WATER.
There are 3 main kite areas
a) Kite Beach: Kite beach is the most popular spot for established kite surfers. It is on the east coast approximately 10-15min from Santa Maria. The wind is mostly side on shore and less gusty. There is no accommodation there and is only accessible by car. You can catch taxi's there and arrange for the taxi to pick you up at a later time. The total cost of the round trip is 15euro. Try to not take any valuables there, just the bare necessities (water and sun screen). You can walk along the beach here with your kite in the air. The water is more wavey here and there is a reef a little further out for waves.
b) The Bay of Santa Maria is great for long runs on flat water to kind off flat water. The wind sometimes is a little more gusty here and you cannot walk along the beach with the kite in the air here. The wind is more side off at the start or the bay and more side on near the end.
C) The Bay outside the Riu hotel. This is good for more advanced kitesurfers, as the wind is more off shore here and tends to be stronger.
**Look at map page for more information on kite surfing spots.
9)What do I need to bring if I am doing Kite lessons with you?
a) Lessons include all the equipment. Just bring sun screen and swim wear. If you have your own wet suite bring it with you.
* Look at the kite surfing lessons page for a guide on what and how many lessons you would need.
10) If I am renting Windsurf material from you, what should I know?
If you are a Windsurfer rental is the rig only, however we often have extra waist harnesses in the school for use. Wet suites are not included, so if you have a wetsuit please bring it with you.
You must be able to go out and come back to the same place (area in front of the school), in order to rent windsurf material. There is optional insurance on the material, which can be purchased when you arrive.
1) 1 complete rig while you are windsurfing in the Bay. It does not cover wave riding, if you take the material to other locations, and shore break. There is always a team that will take your material in through the shore break and out through the shore break.
You are welcome to take the Santa Maria school windsurf material to any other location, expect Punta Preta. Sorry. But history tells us that material taken to Punta Preta will go in one piece and come back in several.
When we are not busy we are happy to rent board only or sail only.
If you want to keep a rig with you for the period of the rental, please do. We just ask that you leave your passport or national ID card with us in our safe. When possible we will give you an extra sail to take with you. Many windsurfers like to take their equipment to kite beach to windsurf. Good place, even though the kite surfers are a little possessive about the area. **Look at Map page for more information on windsurfing spots and Windsurf rentals page for more info on prices and equipment.
11)What if I want to take windsurf lessons?
Lessons include all the equipment. Just bring Sun Screen and swim wear. If you are beginner we recommend the 3 hour course. Normally after this period people are at a point where they can rent and practise on their own (when conditions are good for beginners). We like to get all our surfers to a point of independence. Makes for less wear and tear on the instructors body.
We aslo have excellent instructors for more advanced lessons (jibes, water start, foot straps etc.). Advanced lessons are done as private lessons.
12)What if I am a Good Old Fashioned Surfer?
Then you are dying breed, a trend we are sad to see. What can I say; Sal has some of the most impressive waves in the world if you are a more advanced surfer.
However, all our waves on the island are swell dependent. Only when an ocean swell comes in (in conjunction with a number of other factors), do we get waves. The most popular wave spot is beside the main pier in Santa Maria. Then there is Punta Preta (waves can get up to 6meters high here)which is a 5min taxi ride from Santa Maria. For, all other wave spots, you would have to hire a car or a taxi (avg cost 30 to 40euros round trip)**Look at map page for more information on spots.
From May to Oct there are more waves in Santa Maria. For the rest of the year the waves come in on the west coast. If you are renting, bring a shortie with you as the rental is only board and leash. Our leashes are average size so if you want shorter or longer, we recommend you bring your own. Also we will wax your board, but unfortunately we do not have extra wax for take away.
You are welcome to keep the board with you for the time of the rental. However, we ask that you leave us a copy of your ticket or a national identity card (please not a passport) with us in our safe, so we know that the material will come back. We have had clients take our material home. Why! I do not know.
If you are wanting to learn to surf there is 50/50 chance that there will be waves good enough to learn when you are here. This is a better island for learning to windsurf and kitesurf.
13) What is the average cost of a meal/drink on the island?
The average cost of a meal is between 10 to 20euros per person. A beer is 1.50 euro, and can of juice 1euro. There are loads of great restaurants and little bars in Santa Maria. It is a great little village. Try not to hide in your hotel, venture out, Santa Maria is fun and safe.
14) How do we get to the station from the airport and how expensive is it?
The average cost of a taxi is 10 euros during the day and 12 at night. Santa Maria and the Riu hotel are appox 15/20min from the airport.
-The Santa Maria school is located right beside the main pier in Santa Maria. We are located in the beach club of the Morabeza hotel. Main hotels near this location include:
Expensive but very good: Morabeza Hotel (On the Beach) (great for families, single, dating, not dating, young, middle young, older etc. People)
Less Expensive and okay/good for the price and location ( On Beach): Belorizonte Hotel. Check also Salinas Sea hotel, it is supposed to open summer of 2013.
Less Expensive and good for price: Dunnas Sal Hotel, and Saburu.
Less less Expensive and good for price and location (not on beach): Pontao hotel, Sobrado, Nha Terra and Porto do Vento
-The Riu school and hotel, is located a little out of Santa Maria. The walk to our school in Santa Maria is approx 35min by beach, 20min by road and 5min (3euros in a taxi during the day and 4 at night-no idea why-taxi drivers believe using thier head lights uses more gas!). Other hotel near this location if you want to windsurf and kitesurf from the Riu hotel location: Hotal Saburu is a great hotel and located opposite the Riu.
15) Can you recommend accommodation for us?
For a full list of hotels listed above and others please go to: www.caboverde.com, click on Ilha do Sal and then accommodation. This web site also provides the web sites for all the hotels
Should I vist the other islands: Only if you are wanting to do something other than kite or windsurf. Some of the other islands are stunning and good for hiking. For more information on the other islands go to www.capeverde.com.
16) Should I bring anything special? Sunscreen-as expensive and hard to find, flip flops, childrens beach toys, lycra for kids, and a hat. For those of you who are a little on the pale side, you may also want shoes for kiting and windsurfing, as I have seen many people burn their feet, strange. Mosquito repellent, as sometimes we get them.
17) Do you give instruction to children?
For wind surfing and surfing we can teach children from 6-7yr and up. In the past we have had some kids get to a point where they can rent and practise on days with light wind and flat water.
The conditions in Sal for learning to Kite Surf are difficult for children. The water is deep and sometimes there are waves and a shore break. After many years of doing this, we have found that younger children find these conditions difficult. For safety reasons and to ensure that all our clients have access to lesson slots we have had to institute the following policy.
For kite surfing, children should be at least 15+ and should be able to learn in a group. If they can not be put in a group, then they will have to take private lesson. During our peak periods (Christmas, Easter, school holidays etc), we do offer private lessons, but the cost is 120euros for 2 hours. We do teach kids under 15years of age, however this depends on the size of the child, as well as other factors: have they kitesurfed before, do they do other water sports etc.
If you have a child that is under 15 and you think they can learn in a group, or if one of you are going to do the lessons with him/her or you want private lessons for them, then email me and we will see what we can arrange.
18) FISHING: NO WIND! Do not be distressed! Surf Zone has recently purchased a local fishing boat for those days when there is no wind. So, if you can not kite or wind surf and you have some mates, family or picked up some strangers in the local bar then tell us. Big foot will take you out for half a day and you will fish local style with a piece of wood and fishing line. You are welcome to keep the fish, otherwise Big Foot will happily take them off you. Avg cost is 30euros per person.
19) Surf Zone. Surf Zone is made up of a very diverse team and a dog (though really, the contribution of the dog is still up for debate). Most of us live on the island all year around and therefore know the town, the people and the conditions. We try and keep a relaxed, family like atmosphere around the school; it is after all your holiday and our life. Pretty much the school is a good 80% of our waking lives, so we try and make it as fun and easy going as possible. For this reason our groups are small and we limit the amount of rentals we do, so quality is always a priority over quantity. So if you are looking for something more impersonal, where no one may ever remember your name, and more regimental, then we may not be the right place for you.