Aitutaki can grow into region’s premium windsurfing spot

2013-03-10T11:00:00Z

<p style="text-align: justify;">Though windsurfing is a popular watersport in Australia and New Zealand it is restricted significantly by seasonal conditions.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">When it gets too cold in the antipodal Anzac nations, windsurfers look for somewhere warmer, with steady windy conditions, to indulge in their favourite activity.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Unlike elsewhere in the world, a windsurfing holiday market as such is in its very early stages in this part of the world. However, the New Zealand offices of Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) has worked with Alan McIntosh and his windsurfing company Madloop NZ to bring windsurfing holidays in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Aitutaki is famed for its beautiful coral islands and often finds itself at the top of the lists of the most pristine places in the world.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">It took just a single visit for Mr McIntosh to fall in love with Aitutaki as a destination for windsurfing. “In May 2012, Pacific Trade and Invest, sent me to Rarotonga and Aitutaki to explore the possibility of creating a windsurf centre, Rarotonga lagoon was to small, but as I flew into Aitutaki, I realised that this was the perfect spot.” He says.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In August 2012, he took 12 people to Aitutaki. “They windsurfed, rented accommodation, rented cars and scooters, went out to restaurants and bars, had a great time,” he continues. “In May 2013, I went back to Aitutaki, took more boards and sails there, then in August 2013, I went back to Aitutaki for 2 weeks with 14 people… Same thing, people loved it, spent money on local economy, and really had fun windsurfing across beautiful lagoon."</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The local Aitutaki Sailing Club, teaches children to sail, but while Mr McIntosh is visiting, he teaches the local children how to windsurf, for no charge. The idea is that the children learn to windsurf, start racing, says Mr McIntosh. “And maybe one will be good enough to get to Olympic games, as windsurfing is a Olympic sport,” he adds.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Mr McIntosh says he would like to keep taking people to Aitutaki. “We can develop the windsurf holidays to include sailing Hobie Cats, and also people kite boarding. In Europe and the USA, it is normal that people go on such holidays.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Aitutaki has the potential to grow into the region’s premium windsurf destination, he believes.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">For more on Madloop, visit: www.madloop.co.nz; www.meltemibeachcats.co.nz</p>
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