Wind is the key element to kiteboarding and it is important to know the direction, speed, and orientation to ensure it is safe to kitesurf.
WHERE IS THE WIND COMING FROM?
You can determine the wind direction by the following methods:
- Turn your face into the wind and when you feel the wind blowing equally on both ears, you are facing upwind.
- Pinch sand from the beach with your hand and then release it to see which way the sand blows away.
- Use a visual cue such as a flag or windsock to find the wind direction.
HOW STRONG IS THE WIND?
You can use a wind speed meter at the beach or visit GoKite’s live wind webpage to find out an accurate measurement of the wind speed.
We recommend that you learn to kiteboard between 15 to 25knots. 15knots is generally the minimum wind strength that anyone is able to kitesurf (without a light wind specific kite) while holding an edge.
The Beaufort scale is a system of estimating and reporting wind speed devised by British Rear-Admiral, Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857) in 1805, based on observations of the effects of the wind.
|Effects observed on the sea||Effects observed on land|
|0||under 1||under 1||–||Calm||Sea is like a mirror|
|1||1 – 3||1 – 3||0.25||Light air||Ripples with appearance of scales; no foam crests|
|2||4 – 6||4 – 7||0.5 – 1||Light breeze||Small wavelets; crests of glassy appearance, not breaking|
|3||7 – 10||8 – 12||2 – 3||Gentle breeze||Large wavelets; crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps|
|4||11-16||13-18||3½ – 5||Moderate breeze||Small waves, becoming longer; numerous whitecaps|
|5||17-21||19-24||6 – 8||Fresh breeze||Moderate waves, taking longer form; many whitecaps; some spray|
|6||22-27||25-31||9½-13||Strong breeze||Larger waves forming; whitecaps everywhere; more spray|
|7||28-33||32-38||13½-19||Near gale||Sea heaps up; white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks|
|8||34-40||39-46||18-25||Gale||Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks|
|9||41-47||47-54||23-32||Strong gale||High waves; sea begins to roll; dense streaks of foam; spray may begin to reduce visibility|
|10||48-55||55-63||29-41||Storm||Very high waves with overhanging crests; sea takes white appearance as foam is blown in very dense streaks; rolling is heavy and visibility is reduced|
|11||56-63||64-72||37-52||Violent storm||Exceptionally high waves; sea covered with white foam patches; visibility further reduced|
|12||64 and over||73 and over||45 and over||Hurricane||Air filled with foam; sea completely white with driving spray; visibility greatly reduced|
|* World Meteorological Organization|
WHAT WIND ORIENTATION IS GOOD FOR KITESURFING?
When kite surfing, the wind orientation to the beach is very important because you need the correct wind angle to be able to return to the shore.
Side Shore: (Safe) The safest wind orientation for kiteboarding because you are able to return to the beach with ease and you have plenty of water downwind.
Cross On Shore: (Safe) The second safest wind orientation for kiteboarding as you are able to return to the beach with ease.
On Shore: (Caution) This wind orientation should be kited in with caution when near shore. The wind will be pushing you directly towards the beach.
Off Shore: (Dangerous) Never kite in off shore wind unless you have a rescue boat as support. This wind orientation will be pushing you away from the land.
Cross Off Shore: (Dangerous) Never kite in cross off shore wind unless you have a rescue boat as support. This wind orientation will be pushing you away from the land.