How To Read a Wind Forecast
One of the best things that you can do before you head out to the water is check the weather forecast. Reading the wind and weather forecast is even more important when you are taking on activities like Kiteboarding. Reading the forecast can let you know more about the best conditions for you to go out in and will give you an idea of how much time you can expect to have out on the water.
Live wind is a great app that you can use for checking the wind in your area. With the live wind app you will just need to enter your zipcode to see the wind conditions in the area. The live updates can be checked on the app before you head into the surf and the real time updates come from indicators out on the water.
Some of the top aspects of the forecast to check:
The direction will be displayed in white and yellow arrows. For kiteboarding it is always best to find a beach that has the wind blowing you back onto shore. If the lines are moving out from the beach showing an offshore breeze do not go out. If you can find an area such as a lagoon where you can get blown back towards a shoreline that will always be safer than going out in conditions where the wind direction is away from the beach. With an offshore breeze you can be taken away from land and out into the ocean. Always keep an eye on the change of wind direction that can happen in the afternoon.
The strength of the wind will determine how much the kite will be affected. The yellow and white sensors on the screen indicate the average wind speed and 12-13 mph is usually ideal for an easier kiteboarding experience. Ten miles per hour is the minimum windspeed to kiteboard safely depending on your weight or experience level. With that being said, at a lower wind speed it can be more difficult to keep the kite in the sky and ride. Check the live sensors for the wind conditions and if the winds are low and you don’t have the right equipment, plan for a different activity at the beach! Also, if you have any questions or doubts as to if you should go out or not, always give us a call!
The Local Forecast
Apart from apps you could also consider going to the local forecast. The sensors at Egmont-Fort Desoto and the Skyway bridge are quite reliable, but keep in mind they will often show a higher wind forecast than the app. When checking the wind speeds and the basic local forecast it is always best to try and plan your trip in a 3 day window. Kitesurfing forecasts are always best taken with information from the last 3-4 days. Wind forecasts will change by the hour but if you are taking a day off to kitesurf based on the weather forecast 7 days in advance, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Check out an application like the Live wind app or the iKitesurf free forecast app. These apps are not 100% as accurate as professional tools but they can provide you with a more detailed marine forecast than the majority of other online forecasts that are a few days out.
The best rule of thumb that many kite surfers follow is to do a multiformat forecast. Many kite surfers are likely to check into a few forecasts and then get good insight on their applications to cross reference when the news or long term forecast is saying. Check the winds, the marine forecast and the temperature as you are going out. Remember to always wear sunscreen and make sure it is reef safe. Be ready to adjust your plans by checking the forecast before you head out.