Before you kiteboard..

Check the weather forecast, the tides and any possible wind effects

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Will there be enough wind for my skill level and my equipment?
  • Will there be too much wind for my skill level and my equipment?
  • Is the wind strength going to pick up so it is too much for my skill level and equipment?
  • Is the wind strength going to drop off so it is too little for my skill level and equipment?
  • What will the direction of the wind be? Will it be a steady cross on shore at the beach that you intend to Kitesurf on?
  • Is the wind going to be changing direction and turning into dangerous offshore winds?
  • Are there any severe weather warning predicting dangerous storms, lightening of fog? 
  • What is the temperature of the air and water going to be? 
  • Will the tide effect any currents or create dangers at high tide or expose any dangers at low tide?

The best weather forecast is for stable weather with consistent wind strength and direction. The worst forecast is for wind that is stopping or changing direction as this could leave you stranded in the water having to swim or be rescued.  

High clouds or no clouds mean high pressure which usually means stable wind and stable weather.

High clouds like this mean high pressure which mean stable weather and most likely stable wind

Low clouds mean low pressure so unstable and changeable wind/weather

Low clouds like this mean low pressure and therefor more likely unstable/changeable wind and weather

Use common sense but do not Kitesurf if you see lightening, the wind is dropping or changing direction, there are storm clouds or strange looking clouds or there is anything other than perfect visibility. 

Remember that a forecast is just a forecast!

A forecast is a prediction and it is only a guide as to what may happen. You cannot rely 100% on any forecast as it is just a forecast. Always check the actual wind speed and direction before you set up your kite at the water’s edge. 

Wind effects that all Kitesurfers need to be aware of…….

The Venturi Effect

is when the wind is forced through two objects  such as mountains, hills or buildings. The Venturi effect  causes much higher wind speeds. This can be dangerous if you are launching near buildings because you may not be expecting higher wind speeds but this well known wind effect can also be highly beneficial as many Kitesurfing locations around the world are windy because of the Venturi effect.

Venturi effect
There are kite spots around the world that have amazing wind because of this and yet only a few hundred meters away there is almost zero wind. Its like putting your finger over the end of a hosepipe, the water accelerates just like the wind does.

The Sea Breeze effect

is also known as thermal wind and it is most likely to happen in cooler waters, when the sun is out.  

The sun heats the land up, the warm air rises from the land, the cooler air from the sea rushes in and causes onshore wind. 

A good sea breeze can add 20-50% more wind to a forecast and provide beautiful, consistent wind when nothing was predicted or add to existing wind and making it much stronger.

The Land breeze effect

is the opposite effect of a sea breeze. You need to understand it because when it happens, an onshore sea breeze can quickly turn into dangerous offshore winds. 

A land breeze is most likely to happen at the end of the day when the sun is setting or if the sun is suddenly covered by thick clouds. 

This one one of the many reasons that you need to talk to local kiters when going to ride a new spot. The land breeze effect can be super dangerous turning the wind into offshore wind. Kiting near the end of day is more risky as you are losing light fast. If something went wrong and you needed a rescue then it would be very difficult to find you in the dark. If the wind is being weird dont go further out, get back to the beach asap and only go out as far as you are prepared to swim.

When the land cools down, the warm air stops rising and starts falling and the wind direction changes from onshore to offshore.  

If you feel the wind dropping or changing direction while you are in the sea, get back to land as soon as possible and avoid Kitesurfing after the sun goes down.

A good tip regarding wind effects is to simply stay as far away as possible from any large objects. 

For example, buildings, hills, cliffs, small islands and even steep slopes can all cause areas of dangerously turbulent, unpredictable and super strong wind. Wind shadows are areas of no wind that are downwind of a large object. If you fly into an area of turbulent wind or into a wind shadow from a large object, your kite is likely to fall in the water and be almost impossible to relaunch. 

Other dangerous wind effects to consider are updrafts and down drafts. This is where the wind is accelerated upwards or downwards because the wind follows the land or a structure such as sand dunes or cliff. When the wind hits a slope on the beach going upwards it can increase the wind speed by up to 200%. This is why you can see birds hovering in very light wind as they use the updrafts to float. 

If you are going to Kitesurf at a new location

  • Ask local Kitesurfers if there are any wind effects that you need to consider. 
  • Always take all of your Kitesurfing equipment with you. The weather can change quickly and you may need a bigger or a smaller kite.
  • Check and confirm with locals possible tide effects that could expose hidden dangers or if there are any dangerous currents

Remember the following saying if you are unsure of any wind or location 

“It’s better to be on the beach, wishing you were out to sea, than out to sea, wishing you were on the beach”

Forecasts, tides and wind effects made simple 

  1. Always check wind, weather and tide forecasts before you go Kitesurfing.
  2. Remember that a forecast is just a forecast and that you must check the actual conditions at your location.
  3. Talk to local Kitesurfer’s for all local wind and tide information remember if in doubt don’t go out.

Similar Posts