In addition to beautiful setting for whale-swimming, diving, free-diving courses, paddle-boarding, windsurfing and dining, Matafonua Lodge had the added attraction of kite-boarding.

Monty in the shallow gybatorium with Whistler in the background.

Sand spit on a windy day, with rescue boat on the left and Monty(centre) with the blue and green kite.

Monty got kiting last season, but being at Matafonua gave him an opportunity to progress with instructors keeping a watchful eye and giving tips when asked.  It was nice that they also had a rescue boat available making it much safer than kiting on his own.

Monty stepped up his game considerably with numerous windy days to practice.  Sometimes it was too windy, and we had to seek shelter for Whistler in another anchorage to the south.  He is now confidently doing slide turns and has started taking some jumps.

Monty kiting in the channel off the sandpit.

Monty getting some air.

It was not an easy place to learn to kite with lots of coral bommies and a strong current at high tide. I took some kiting lessons when conditions were “suitable”.  I was nervous about the coral as we had paddle-boarded in the lagoon and had seen how close to the surface they were at low tide. Generally mid-tide was best as the current wasn’t as strong and there was enough water over the bommies that I would not touch them when I was thrashing around. Sometimes, the winds weren’t right or the instructors were busy with resort guests, so I didn’t get out that often.  I can’t tell you how many cups of salt water I drank, attempting to body drag upwind.  It is not my favourite pastime!  I eventually got to the point of getting my feet in the foot straps and getting a water start with a very short ride. I have a long way to go, with more instruction needed.

Julien giving Margy a demo on flying the kite, with Whistler in the background.

Practicing a body drag with the instructor hooked on so I could not do too much damage.

Practicing body dragging downwind.

Attempting to body drag upwind.

Friend, Steve from S/V Citrus Tart showing his stuff.

Steve (S/V Citrus Tart)

Monty and I showing our stuff — not really!!! Credits to our instructors, Julien and Anahi.

Julien taking some big air. Monty’s next trick!!!

Julien like an orchestra leader giving Monty tips, Anahi in the air behind him and JJ kiting with a surf board in front.

Sadly, Julien and Anahi left Tonga for their home in France at the end of August. We wish them well and hope our paths cross again.