I have been a kitesurfing Instructor for two years now and have taught people in Auckland (New Zealand), Aitutaki (Cook Islands) and Squamish Canada.
So which out of those three is the best place to learn kitesurfing?
New Zealand is known to create the best sailors around the globe due to its gusty, various winds. If you can sail here you can do it anywhere. If you’re trying to find the best place to learn kitesurfing, New Zealand is going to teach you how to handle difficult conditions. Around the Auckland area the wind can be anything from nothing to 35 knots (sometimes even during one day). Where most countries have got a windy season, Auckland can get wind all year around.
Conditions here are tricky and you will have to learn quickly how to adapt to changing winds and weather. This is going to slow down your progression at the beginning and makes picking up new tricks hard at times. If can are able to manage, though, you will become an independent kitesurfer who is going to be able to ride pretty much anywhere.
The Cook Islands are an island country in the South Pacific Ocean which comprises 15 islands that. With the south eastern trade winds blowing consistently from June till September Aitutaki is great for kitesurfing holidays.
On these palm-fringed beaches the sand is incredibly white, the water is transparent blue and warm and since the Islands have been spared by mass tourism, there I hardly see anyone kiting here.
Learning on Aitutaki is easy! Steady winds and hip deep water allow you to progress quickly through your lessons and once you got the basics and fully understand your safety systems, you are able to keep practising by yourself. Walking back upwind is no problem here so after having a lesson on waterstarts you are good to go on your own (with other kiters and a safety boat around).
The only problem is: You are only here for holidays, which means there is only limited time. If you are unlucky you only get a couple of days of wind during a weeks stay. Nevertheless Aitutaki is one of the best place to learn kitesurfing.
With strong, consistent winds throughout the summer months, Squamish is an amazing place to learn how to kiteboard. In general it takes people here around 8-20 hours to become fully independent.
Being taught from a boat makes progression fast and easy. No more walking upwind and wasting energy, simply jump back into the boat and get taken back upwind. The wind here is steady and during summer it is windy every day. There is probably no place where you can progress faster.
So now, which out of these is the best place to learn kitesurfing?
My vote clearly goes for Squamish! With the steady and consistent wind all throughout summer progression is fast and effortless making it safe and easy to become self-sufficient.