ETHICAL SPOTLIGHT: Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding



Rating 9.5/10

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Instructors are paid a fair, livable wage that allows instructors to survive the low seasons with dignity—regardless of origin. In fact, preference is given to local instructors who cannot just up and leave when the wind drops.

LEK regularly hosts charity events and locally-run kite competitions, is involved in Cabarete charity work, and runs a program that not only keeps kites out of landfills but also creates jobs for locals! To learn more about the programs LEK is involved in click here.

The beach in front of LEK is always immaculate and as it turns out that’s not a coincidence. LEK’s commitment to the environment means more than just running their kite recycling program—it also means regular clean-up and maintenance of their front yard. 
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, French

Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding is one of the premier kiteboarding schools in Cabarete. It’s one of the only schools owned by a woman, one of my top-ten favourite places to hang out—and it’s the only place I’ve ever been fired from!

As far as ethically run foreign-owned businesses go, LEK is the golden standard. You can feel the commitment to the mostly local team immediately. From the moment you step onto LEK’s porch you are met with the kind of friendliness and warmth you can only get from a team that is valued and cared for.

You often hear corny lines about how small businesses feel like a family, well at this kite school it’s not just a saying, its actually true (no really, some of the instructors are actually related). Most of the instructors are locals, brothers, neighbours and childhood friends which has a significant impact on the work culture, unity and camaraderie you see from the LEK team.

On any given day (even the windless ones), it’s not uncommon to find guests hanging out, enjoying a cold beverage as they chat with the instructors—many are return visitors that come back every season. I strongly suspect it’s because of how great the vibes are.

On top of being an ethically-run business, LEK delivers the kiteboarding goods—and oh, does it deliver. The instructors are all IKO-certified, their English is phenomenal, the customer service is always on point, and with all the services LEK offers, it’s easily a kite one-stop-shop. On top of classes and supervision, they offer gear rental, lockers, repairs, sales on new and used equipment, cold beverages, snacks, accessories, and some of the softest, highest quality rash guards I have ever worn.

This is the kind of business you can feel great about patronizing because beyond the investment in its own team, community involvement is one of the pillars of this business. LEK is involved in different community initiatives that range from hosting fundraising events to pioneering a kite recycling program that is good for the environment and creates jobs for local people!

To read more highlights about this amazing business check out the sidebar! Have you had a great experience with the LEK team? Let me know in the comments below!

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