Nitinat Lake, BC, CA

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Nitinat Lake is a large lake located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Nitinat is known for reliable and consistent thermal winds often between 15 and 25 knots. The season runs from May to September.

Accessed by logging road via Lake Cowichan (60km) or Port Alberni (80km), the lake is approximately 2.5 hours drive from the cities of Nanaimo or Victoria. The road is graded but can be rough at times especially after heavy rains but 4WD is not required. Watch for logging trucks.

Map

Riding Conditions: The beach is made up of small rocks with grassy patches. The water is salty due to a tidal passage at the west end of the lake. Seals and jellyfish (most non-stinging) are not unusual. Wind is side-onshore. Small waves come up with the wind. Most kiters are comfortable in a shorty or a 2-3mm wetsuit.

Forecast: Because the wind is thermal, look for sunny skies and temperature differential between the coast (Ucluelet) and the interior of the Island (Port Alberni). Temperature Grid

Accommodations consist of a rustic campground with no services except a single water tap at the entrance. It’s first-come first-serve, which often means sharing your site with others when the campground gets busy. There is no phone service or internet access. Fees are $15 per night per vehicle with a $2 surcharge for waterfront sites. Bring warm clothes… it can get chilly at night.

Another accommodation option is the Nitinat Motel at the Dididaht First Nations Village, which is a 5-minute drive from the campground. Call (250) 745-3844 for reservations.

Local Services: The gas station/store at the Dididaht Village offers limited supplies but does have a small café and internet service for a fee. The gas is often sold out so fuel up before you arrive. It is possible to do laundry at the motel and there are paid hot showers as well. One of the locals does a steady business of tire repair.

Lessons and Rentals: There are two schools that operate at Nitinat – Elevation Kiteboarding (www.elevationkiteboarding.com) and Strong Kiteboarding (www.strongkiteboarding.com). Elevation offers rentals and has a small gear store.

Events: WindFest is a weekend-long kiteboard competition that takes place in July. See www.windfest.ca for more details.