Works In: SW-W
Ideal Wind: WSW
Conditions: Longniddry gets a cleaner and stronger wind than Gullane in a SW or WSW which is the most common direction we get at any given time of year. Longniddry is not suitable for beginners or improvers who are not confidently staying upwind on a high tide. There are a lot of rocks to the left of the beach which are hidden when the tide comes in.
Hazards: Rocks, rocks and more rocks. At high tide there is very little beach and a lot of rock. Please don't underestimate the potential for things to go wrong at Longniddry - if you are in any doubt of your abilities please don't go out - head to Gullane instead where it is safer.
At low tide it becomes a lot safer as you are away from the rocks - a trip down to Gosford (next bay downwind) is recommended if you are confident that you can get back up wind. Otherwise it's a long walk.
The tide comes and goes very quickly at Longniddry - please watch out for your kit and remember to leave enough space to land if the tide is coming in during your session.
Works In: W-NE
Ideal Wind: WNW
Conditions: Gullane works best when there's a little bit of north in the westerly wind. If it's blowing form SW to WSW it gets really gusty and you might have issues coming back in. This is because the wind comes over the headland sometimes creating 50m windless or very gusty stretch.
Hazards: The beach itself is a long stretch of sand so nothing to worry here. However, it's challenging to land or launch on a high tide as there's very little of beach left so make sure to have someone to assist you. Also, the beach is very popular with beachgoers on the summer (yeah those 4 days we get every year, scattered between April and September!) and windsurfers. There are rocks at each end too.
Access: There is a fairly large car park at the top of the cliff so it's a 2 minute walk down. There is a £2 parking fee during the summer sadly.
Works In: ENE - NNW
Ideal Wind: N
Conditions: It's by far one of our favourite kitesurfing beaches but because we rarely ever get the Easterlies to kick in apart from summer breeze we sadly don't rid there as often as we'd like! It's a great relatively safe spot with over a mile of sand. Works best on NE to N, it's rideable on NNW, anything more westerly makes it cross off shore and very gusty. Doesn't work too well on straight E either but you can always chance it!
Hazards: It picks up a rather large swell on those very windy days. So be careful when heading out kitesurfing as the waves can get quite brutal. Also, the tide moves fast due to the flat nature of the beach. So make sure your kitesurf gear is safe before heading out.
Access: Park in the Belhaven Bay car park opposite the metal bridge linking the land to the beach and walk across. Alternatively if the tide is right in you can park at John Muir Country Park and walk across the flat land behind the dunes to reach the beach. It is also easier to park here in a Northerly as it's a shorter walk to reach the far end of the beach.
Works In: N-E
Ideal Wind: NE
Conditions: Cramond is the favourite spot of most Edinburgh based kitesurfers. It's close to the city centre and offers long stretch of shallow water. Works best in NE winds but it's also rideable in anything from N to E. It doesn't work in offshore winds however as it gets very gusty. Also, we don't recommend kitesurfing in off-shore conditions anyway. Works best on low to mid tide as the bay fills in quite quickly. If you're not confident at staying upwind when the tide is in you might end up going for a long walk back.
Hazards: It's best to come down on a low tide to see all the bits an pieces that will be under water. There are only few in the middle of the bay but it's good to see for yourself where they are. There are small wooden spikes next to the wall to the far right of the spot. There is also a causeway linking the small beach to the island so try to kite well away from it.
Access: We all usually launch from the beach near Marine Drive (as per the map, next to the small roundabout). You can just park on the street. There's also the Cramond Beach (to the far left) that we use on a high tide (not suitable for beginners). There is a fairly large car park accessible through a narrow road.
Works In: SW-NW
Ideal Wind: W
Conditions: A really nice spot - definitely worth the wee trek on a good windy day. It's a long, sandy beach with massive sand cliff so beware of updraft on a high tide. Spot is the best on a low to mid tide as when the water goes up there's very little place to land or launch your kite. Also make sure not to ride in the birds estuary (see the image below!) or we'll get banned from using this spot altogether.
Hazards: Apart from the incoming tide you have to be aware of quite strong currents so having someone to help you recover the board is always handy when it starts to run away. There aren't too many rocks but do please come on a low tide to have a look around as there are some few wooden spikes and... a wreck of WWII submarine! As awesome as it sounds make sure not to crash into this as it's a long walk back...
Access: Yes, it's a long walk to and from the beach. There are paths that lead through the golf field with 2 different parking options - see below for images. Try not to overload the tiny parking space next to the gate on the bend (parking 2). Not only it's dangerous when someone rams into your car but it can also annoy the golfers (for some reason). Also, make sure you're not blocking the gate. Parking 1 is a bit further away but with more spaces (if it's not sunny and it's not full of bird watchers!). Happy walking!