Nitinat Lake is a hidden oasis for kiteboarders that are seeking steady thermal wind. The end of the lake opens up to the Pacific Ocean, and the cool coastal air gets sucked down the lake like a vacuum, creating the most incredible thermal. The surrounding area is old growth forest, making this destination seem like a setting for a kiteboarder’s fairytale. The lake is located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island at the end of a regularly graded logging road. Being on an Island and away from any large communities has kept this spot almost secret for many years. The location is excellent for both those wanting to learn how to kite or advanced riders seeking to get the biggest air or nail unhooked tricks!
Wind and Weather
The kiteboarding season at Nitinat Lake runs typically from late May to early September. Some seasons the weather is good, and people are already kiting at the lake in April, or we have a warmer Fall and the season is extended later into September. The wind usually blows between 15 - 25 knots, with people flying smaller kites. If there has been a stretch of rain and the lake is cooler, the wind can drop down to 12 - 15 knots and the kite size increases. The best months for wind are July and August.
To get to Nitinat Lake, you need a car as there are no shuttle or bus services that facilitate the lake. Once at the lake, the campground is located next to the kite beach and everywhere is accessible by foot or bike.
Food and Drink
There is a small convenience store located in Nitinat Village that has a limited inventory, but usually has a consistent supply of propane canisters and ice. If you are coming for more than a day, it is recommended to bring all the supplies that you would want/need during your stay, including any alcoholic beverages, as there isn't much around!
As the majority of kiters stay in the Nitinat Lake Recreational Campground, the majority of nightlife is located around campfires. The atmosphere at the lake is very laid back and friendly with people that will invite you over to enjoy their fire. If you’re looking to socialise, you would not be hard pressed to find people looking to have fun.
Hike Carmanah Walbran and see some of the oldest and largest trees in the world, you won't be disappointed.
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) there is no cellular service at the lake. The convenience store located in Nitinat Village offers wifi at a charge, and there is also a coin operated phone booth. For emergencies, the local kiteboarding schools or the Ditidaht Nation’s office located in Nitinat Village can contact the Coast Guard.
Nitinat Lake Recreational Provincial Park is located right on the lakeshore where kiteboarders and windsurfers launch from. The campground has 53 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits. The campground offers essential amenities with outhouses located throughout the campground and potable water (located at the entrance by the ranger station). The campground does not supply firewood, have electrical & water hookup campsites or an RV Sanitation Station. For more information about the campsites, please click here.
The Nitinat Lake Motel is run by the local Ditidaht Nation in Nitinat Village and is a short drive to the campground. The motel offers kitchenettes and wifi. If you’re staying at the campground and you’re craving a hot shower, the motel also has coined operated showers for non-guests. The motel is open from May 1st to September 30th. Advanced reservations are highly suggested as it is a smaller motel. You can reach them by email at email@example.com or give them a call (250) 745-3844.
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Been to Nitinat Lake? What did you think?
Where are the Best Kitesurfing Beaches in Nitinat Lake?
The lakeshore beside the Nitinat Lake Recreational Campground is the only spot to safely launch and land from, as the large cedars surrounding the lake don’t offer much of a beach elsewhere. Here you will find many who would be happy to launch or land your kite, as well as the two kiteboarding schools located at the lake - Elevation Kiteboarding and Strong Kiteboarding.
If you’re in need of gear to purchase or gear rentals, there is a kiteboarding store at Elevation Kiteboarding that offers an array of North Kiteboarding gear with Ion apparel and accessories.
Like clockwork the wind turns on at 10:30 am, it’s like someone has flicked a switch and a wall of wind comes blowing down the lake from the coast. Typically by the early afternoon, the wind is at its steadiest and strongest, usually blowing until the late afternoon or as the sun is setting. As the lake is ocean fed, it does have some chop and is not glassy, but the steady wind more than makes up for the water. The wind is so smooth that it has been referred to as slicing through warm butter. As the lake is ocean-fed, the water is colder, by the end of the season, the water is also saltier.
During the early season, many wear a full 5/4 mm wetsuit or drysuit, by August and early September many switch to a 4/3 mm wetsuit or 3/2 mm wetsuit for men. The lakeshore is rocky; many kiters prefer to wear surf booties or aqua socks. There is little boat traffic on the lake, most fishing boats have already gone out to the further reaches of the lake or the Pacific Ocean before the wind comes up and typically come back to Nitinat Village when the wind has shut down in the early evening.
There is usually very little debris like logs floating in the lake. The majority of the traffic on the water is kiteboarders and windsurfers with a few instructors on jet ski’s teaching. The majority of students use the bottom of the lake to learn, leaving the rest of the lake for intermediate and advanced kiters.
- Wind: Side Shore
- Waves: Some chop
- Shorebreak: No
When is the Best Time to go Kitesurfing in Nitinat Lake?
The windy months to go kitesurfing in Nitinat Lake are May, June, July, August