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Kite buggy rally and fun-fly. May 12-15, 2010, Jekyll Island, Georgia

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Airial view of Kite Beach Cruising in Buggy on Kite Beach
Kite Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia Cruising on Kite Beach on a summer afternoon

What, When & Where
The JIBE is Jekyll Island's first, and the Southeastern US's only annual kite buggy rally. It is planned as a loosely organized, informal get-together for kite-buggy pilots, but ATB/ landboarders and all traction and power kite fliers are welcome. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, located on Jekyll Island.

For 2010 We have decided to start on a Wednesday so that we have three weekdays with fewer other people on the beach. Jekyll beach is never crowded anyway and this is still pre-season, so we will have a better shot at extended distance runs. During JIBE 2009, some of our best days were on weekdays with clear beaches allowing four-mile runs. Sunday is reserved as a travel day.

Wednesday, May 12th, noon, through end of day Saturday the 15th.

Map of Southeast USA Showing Location of Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island is located on the southeast coastline of Georgia, about halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida (about 30 miles north of the Florida Border). It's an easy 15 minute drive from Exit 29 on I-95 (see "Getting There", below)

The event staging area will be located on a stretch of beach we have come to call "Kite Beach", located in front of Blackbeard's Restaurant, just a half-mile north of the main island entry point. The stretch of beach is favored by power kiters and kitesurfers since offers a wide area at low tide and relatively crowd-free. (Jekyll Beaches don't get too crowded in the first place). When the few crowds do clear in the late afternoons, a four mile stretch is available for buggy runs with the right winds (east to southeast is best, west winds are second best).

Jekyll Island is a unique venue. From the 1860's through the first part of the twentieth century, the island was the home of the Jekyll Island Club, owned by America's elite and wealthy industrialists, including names like Astor, Rockefeller and Carnegie. In 1947 it was turned into a state park and to this day, development remains highly restricted, leaving over half of its area and all the beaches as a public wildlife preserve. The Island is home to all kinds of wildlife including alligators and American Bald Eagles.

The island is also a nesting ground for Loggerhead and other species of sea turtles, whose lives, health and nesting areas are now under the care and study of the new Georgia Sea Turtle Center located on the island. The Center is unique and includes medical and rehabilitation facilities as well as a public education program. JIBE attendees may attend a private group tour of the facility during the weekend (during high tide).

Schedule of Events (preliminary and subject to change)

Wednesday, May 12h
Low tide: 2:15 pm, Sundown: 8:12 pm

12 noon - 6:45pm...

5:00 pm - 6:45pm

Dinner on your own

Thursday, May 13th
Low tide: 2:57 pm, Sundown: 8:13 pm

12 noon - 6:45pm...

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm 5:00 pm - 6:45pm

Dinner on your own

Friday, May 14th
Low tide: 3:40 pm, Sundown: 8:13 pm

12:00 noon - 6:45 pm

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm 5:00 pm - 6:45 pm

7:30 pm

Saturday, May 15th
Low tide: 4:23 pm, Sundown: 8:14 pm

11:00 am Private Tour of Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Noon - 6:45 pm

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

NOTE: There will be no buggying after dusk at this event due to the possibility of hatchling sea turtles making their way from nests in the dunes to the water.

Buggy on Jekyll Buggy on Jekyll

In this video I am heading south past the convention center watching out for people at the surfline, when young kid darts in from the dunes on the right, heading right for my path and forces me in to a quick jibe. Loose dogs and young kids with no situational awareness present one of the biggest safety risks for buggy riders here. After the quick 180 and getting set up on a northbound tack, the camera comes back on for the trip back to camp. Kite is a Phantom 18m in 7-9 mph winds yeilding a 23+ mph run up the beach. This is March 10 at half tide. Sure there will be more people on the beach in May, but not as many as you'd think, especially weekdays.

Event Registration

Click here to go direct to the secure registration purchase page This window will stay open so you can come back and brouse the information page some more.

Event Registration will be required for all who buggy on the beach, including land boards/ ATB's & Blokarts (most welcome).

Extra dinner-only and Sea Turtle Tour tickets will be available for family members who come along but do not buggy. Anybody can static-fly any kite on the public beach without registration.

Full Registration ($30) will include...

Beach-Only Registration ($15) will include...

Dinner-only Tickets for Friday night ($20) ...

Georgia Sea Turtle Center tour ($10)...

NOTE: There is a $5 per day parking fee collected at the kiosk when you drive on to the island. This gets you lots of convenient parking, clean restrooms and open-air showers. If you think you will be making return trips to Jekyll, the $45 annual pass decal is a real bargain and very convenient (you drive through a special lane with no waiting in line).

Click here to go the secure registration purchase page This window will stay open so you can come back and brouse the information page some more.

Buggy on Jekyll Buggy on Jekyll

What to Bring

Getting There
How do we get to Jekyll Island?
It's easy. You will need a car, as there is no local public transportation. Just take I-95 to exit 29 or 38 in Brunswick, Georgia. Jekyll Island about is 15 or 20 minutes from either one. (Exit numbers in Georgia are referenced by their mileage from the Florida border). Brunswick is a little over an hour south of Savannah and about an hour north of Jacksonville.

The Brunswick / Golden Isles Region is convenient to three airports:

from Florida and points south.

From Savannah and points north

Once on the island, you will find ample beach parking, clean public restrooms, water, outdoor showers and easy beach access.

Welcome sign Causeway
The Cuaseway to Jekyll Island is easy to spot off of Route 17. From here it is 6 miles over the salt marshes to Jekyll Island.

To find Kite Beach, turn left at the end of the road after the parking collection booth onto Beachview Drive (just in front of the big Convention Center). Go one half mile north and you will see Blackbeard's Restaurant on the right, with a parking lot overlooking the beach. Pull in there and you will see the ramp with stairs going down to the beach.

Buggy on Jekyll
The ramp to the beach is about 6' wide. It has stairs, about twenty steps, going down to the beach. It is easy to get a buggy down by putting a tow leash on the foot pegs and letting the buggy down backwards. I do this all the time with my 75 lb Bigfoot loaded with gear. Going up is not as bad as it sounds. The handicap ramp that some people prefer just to the south in the next lot will not be accessible this year due to construction of a new dune-side park. If you really must roll something on to the beach without stairs, there is truck access (permit-only for vehicles) 1/3 mile (600 yards) to the south in the large parking lot, but there is soft sand there.

Stairs at kite beachBuggy Up the Stairs
Bring a rope leash to lower your buggy down the stairs backwards. It's easier than you'd think, even with smaller 16" wheels. Going up, turn the front wheel to one side and rest the side of the tire on your thigh, then take a step at a time, lifting with your leg, not your back.Getting your buggy up the stairs is not as hard as it looks, even with lots of gear in it. Turn the front wheel to the side, rest it on your thigh, and go up one step at a time. This way the weight and strain is on your legs and not your back. It works with 16" wheels just as well, too.

Jibe veterans will remember that there were public restrooms in the lot just to the south, but they are gone due to the construction (being replaced with new ones featuring showers as of June 2010). Blackbeards restaurant is state owned and managed, so restrooms and all facilities are public. You can usually get in to use them in the morning while they are setting up before lunch.

"Kite Beach" is the 1/4 mile stretch of beach from the access stairs at Blackbeard's up to the Jekyll Island Club Pavilion, the next building up the beach. Because it is between public access ramps, it is not crowded with a lot of sunbathers. There is a sand bar here that makes it an ideal spot for kiteboarders and kitesurfers, too.

Buggy on Jekyll Buggy on Jekyll

Jekyll Weatherflow Station
The new WeatherFlow station near the souteast corner of the parking lot overlooking Kite Beach provides near real-time wind data and is accessible on iKiteSurf.com.
Wind & Weather
Perfect winds for Jekyll Island buggying is east-southeast, with anything a few degrees off one way or another still just fine. The beach runs south-southwest to north-northeast. Right at Kite Beach, there is a bend in the beach right at the sand bar that favors a northeast component to the north, and a southeast component to the south.

Anything can happen, but unless we are influenced by a major frontal system, we can expect good buggy weather for early May. This time of the year, we are under the influence of the default patterns that put a high pressure system off the Carolinas with the clockwise rotation bringing northeast or east-southeast winds onto the South Georgia and North Florida shores. It is normally warm enough that the sea-breaze effect kicks in as the island heats up in the afternoon, drawing the wind right off the water for a decent on-shore breeze. If we do not get the sea-breeze, and end up with northeast or east winds, the we can still work extended runs but with up-wind slogs in one direction and fast deep broad reaches the other way.

If we do get a frontal system moving in from the west, all is not lost, but we might end up with lumpy west winds coming over land.

Wind velocity is normally forecast at 10-15 knots, but 7-12 is almost as common, with 15+ less common but often enough for the kiteboarders to get excited. Mornings can start with light winds, building in the afternoon, usually. For this weekend, low tide and maximum buggy space is in the afternoon. We now have a WeatherFlow station installed right over the dunes at Kite Beach, providing wind data in near real time. You can access it at iKiteSurf.com.

Temperatures in the Georgia summer can be hot and humid, but ealy May tends to keep the edge off, with average temperature ranges listed as 67-81 F, rather than the 90's or higher that can prevail in July and August.

Of course, there is no guarantee!

Things to do for the Whole Family
The "Golden Isles" region of Brunswick, Jekyll, and St. Simons Islands has much to offer for any family members not into kite flying. Some possibilities are...

There are several options for lodging and there are numerous options for dining.

Contact: Angus Campbell, Coastal Wind Sports, Inc.

Last updated 4/3/2010

Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010 Coastal Wind Sports, Inc.