Wanna to go on a kitetrip or just ride the spot near you, but you don’t really know how to interpret the wind forecast? 🧐
In this article, we explain how to read wind forecasts to avoid arriving at the spot with no kites around you 🤪 It’s very important to learn how to read forecasts so that you can then kitesurfing in good conditions and in complete safety. 👌🏻
THE BEST WIND FORECAST WEBSITES
We start by deciphering the most famous of wind forecasting sites: Windguru.
HOW WINDGURU WORKS?
On Windguru (as on every forecast site), you can launch a search for your spot (top left).
On forecasting sites, you’ll find several models. We’re going to look at the WG model, which is an average of all the other models (Zephr, GFS…) on Windguru.
If we take this case as an example, we can see that I’m in Portugal on the Foz do Arelho spot. Several data are interesting to read.
WINDGURU INDICATORS TO LOOK FOR
1. Wind force, expressed in knots (1 knot corresponds to 1.872 km/h)
It’s this data that’s going to catch our eye the most. You can kite in many wind ranges, but under 10 knots is not enough, and over 40 knots can become dangerous.
In our case, we can see that at 3pm on Thursday, we’ll have a steady wind of 18 knots, gusting up to 29 knots.
2. Wind direction
Just below wind strength is wind direction. Before heading out to a kite spot, it’s important to know how the spot works. Some spots only work with one wind direction.
It’s important to make sure that the direction doesn’t change every hour, otherwise it’ll be dangerous to go riding.
In our case, the wind is blowing from the north, and remains established.
Then there’s the wave forecast, with swell height, period and direction. This forecast can be important if you want to navigate in the open sea and ride waves.
In our example, we can see that on Thursday at 3pm, we’ll have 2.5m waves coming from the NNW (north-north-west) with a frequency of 7 seconds.
4. Spot weather
Temperature, percentage of clouds according to altitude and rainfall are then indicated.
In our case, we can see that at 3pm on Thursday, we’ll have a low cloud cover of 81%.
5. Windguru note
With all the data, Windguru establishes a rating ranging from 1 star to 3 stars ⭐️
In our example, we can see that on Thursday at 3pm, the rating is 2 stars. If we look at Thursday afternoon, we can see that the rating is the highest with 3 stars.
6. The tide
Many spots work with the tides. Some will only work at high tide (such as basins or certain lagoons) and others will work better at low tide. Once again, this is a very important factor when visiting a spot .
In our case, we can see that on Thursday, the high tide will be at 12.15pm and the low tide at 6.20pm.
Once you’ve made your interpretation, you can complete the data with Windy.
Windy’s bonus is live wind direction. With Windy, you can see the wind direction on the spot in real time.
Windy includes almost all the indicators already covered by Windguru. Windy also offers a number of other indicators available in the paid version, for even greater precision.
The last one, Windfinder will help you fine-tune your interpretation.
Once again, Windfinder provides all the basic wind data you need. Windfinder’s bonus is the Superforecast tab. This data offers fairly accurate hourly conditions.
Every time we look at the wind forecasts, we give priority to these 3 sites and use a mix of the three to choose the best wind ranges for teaching and kiting in the best possible conditions.
OUR TIPS FOR BEGINNER KITERS
If you’re a new kitesurfer, we’d advise you not to dive headlong into your home spot. The best forecasts are the kitesurfers around you. Go directly to the spot or to a Facebook community, talk to them about how the spot works (according to tides, wind direction…) and then go for it.