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Ocean Impact Tarifa

“When you surf, all your problems get pushed to the back of your mind. Afterwards you enter a meditative state. Once the adrenaline rush is over, the best drug in the world, you reach a state of peace”. Richard Vicente Maximo, director of Ocean Impact Tarifa, sells real-life euphoria in his kitesurf, windsurf and surf shop and school in Tarifa (Cadiz).

By:  Zoe Martín
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Kitesurf school and shop
Birth: 2007
Location: Tarifa, Cádiz
Stands out for: professionalism and safety
Did you know? it’s getting more and more common to see women kitesurfing

If you make your way to the beach known as Playa de los Lances you’ll find, at the point at which the River Jara hits the Atlantic Ocean and the low tide forms a pool of water, amongst the kites, lines, boards and people flying like birds and doing somersaults in the air, Richard Vicente Maximo, director of the kitesurf school Ocean Impact Tarifa. “This is my office,” he explains looking out at the sea, the sand and the show taking place in the skies of Tarifa.

With a half Andalusian and half Portuguese accent, and skin hardened by the Levanter wind, Richard teaches one of his students to fly during the last part of a twelve hour course: “We’ve reached the point at which I’ve taught him everything I can and now he’s got to take over”. Richard doesn’t lose sight of his student, but steps back to give him some space to feel independent and get his confidence up. It seems to work.

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When you’re new to this water sport malarkey, choosing a school in Tarifa can be a bit of an ordeal. On calle Batalla del Salado, kitesurf schools line both sides of the street, their windows brimming with surf equipment, clothes and accessories. When it comes to choosing the right school, just make sure you take pay attention to their licence: “The biggest danger in Tarifa are the people who are out on the water without any qualifications or are taught by pirate schools that follow any particular teaching methods and don’t have any insurance,” explains Richard.

Richard decided to move to Tarifa from Portugal to set up his own school in 2007. “Tarifa is an international Mecca because of the consistent wind throughout the year. In Gincho, Portugal, the waves are better, but the season only lasts three months. Here the season lasts about nine, which means that I can live from what I love.” While we talk his son Martín is running around launching paper airplanes. It seems that flying runs in the family. Richard transmits an uncommon enthusiasm when answering how he feels when kiteboarding: “When you surf, all your problems get pushed to the back of your mind. Afterwards you enter a meditative state. Once the adrenaline rush is over, the best drug in the world, you reach a state of peace. That’s when I find I can solve problems and face the world”.

If you’ve never held a kite before, putting yourself in the hands of Ocean Impact Tarifa is a safe bet. They’ve got simple goals: “To train our students as well as we can so that they can enjoy the sea with total security, like we do, and to imbue them with same respect we have for the sea,” clarifies the director of Ocean Impact Tarifa. With a twelve hour-long course (€ 285) spread out over three days (taught in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and English) you can reach level two of the three levels that exist in kitesurfing and obtain an internationally recognized IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) Member Card. “You can learn to Kiteboard pretty quickly and you don’t need to be particularly sporty to do it,” he explains. The only condition is that you don’t suffer from any cardiovascular diseases. But take note: “If you’re usually a very sedentary person, the day after boarding your muscles are going to hurt!” warns the instructor.

Three of the twelve hours take place on the sand, until the student learns how to set up the kite, launch it and take control of the wind. “The idea is to touch the ground as little as possible. Beginners need to get used to moving in the water and being self-sufficient,” highlights Richard. In the beginning students work with short lines, about ten metres long, so that the wind don’t exercise too much force on the inexperienced kiteboarder. But, what’s the first thing the novice needs to learn? “To let go of the kite. The first thing to do is realize that when you let go of the kite you’re going to be fine. That’s why it’s so important to avoid pirate schools, because you’ll end up learning with your own kite. They are very expensive and if a student looses control they can get damaged,” he answers.

Aside from the introductory courses, Ocean Impact Tarifa also offers jumping and advanced courses, surf and windsurf workshops, equipment rental, quad adventures and a shop filled with the latest in sporting equipment and fashion. They also offer a dose of common sense, the chance to lift both feet off the ground and turn into a bird for a fleeting moment, as well as enjoying one of the most beautiful landscapes in Andalusia. Like Richard, those who manage to master the art of kitesurfing won’t want to leave Tarifa: “I wouldn’t change it for anything”.

Getting there?

Ocean Impact Tarifa
C/ Batalla del Salado, 30
Tarifa, Cádiz

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:30 to 14:00 and 17:30 to 21:00.

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El 17 June 2010 a las 6:10 PM, Natalia dijo...

Siempre he querido probar esto, pero me da un poco de miedo…no estoy muy en forma. Viendo el tema de las escuelas piratas y todo eso, creo que mejor elegir bien antes de lanzarse a hacer un curso. Gracias por la información, no tenía ni idea…

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El 24 June 2010 a las 5:55 PM, Victor dijo...

No sabía que hay escuelas que no tienen licencia. Me imagino que al haber tantas allí habrá de todo…es bueno saberlo para tenerlo en cuenta. Qué bueno lo de soltar la cometa!

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El 29 June 2010 a las 10:21 AM, Alberto dijo...

Es verdad, yo no sabía lo de las escuelas pirata, pero ahora que leo esto, tuve esa impresión con lo de soltar la cometa cuando hice un curso en Tarifa. Nunca me dieron la opción de soltarla como lo primero que debes pensar cuando te ves que te la vas a pegar….

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El 2 July 2010 a las 11:52 AM, Rafa dijo...

Me cae bien este Richard…me da buen rollo, parece un tipo muy legal!

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El 17 September 2010 a las 12:59 PM, Teo dijo...

Richard es un tipo majo, yo lo conocí este año y tiene las cosas muy claras.
Además te asesora en la compra de material, el equipo de Ocean Impact todo te da buen rollo.
Ojo con los piratas si no queréis acabar con una pata de palo!!

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