How Much Wind is Needed to Kitesurf?
Unlike many other sports, kitesurfing is utterly reliant on the weather conditions, and not just come rain or shine, but one of the most inconsistent, unreliable elements there is; the wind. Further to that, it’s far from black and white and is, unfortunately, more complicated than assuming if there’s wind, you can kitesurf. Here at F-One, we understand that whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out on the board, it’s not easy to judge the weather conditions and this can be the difference between an awesome and a not-so-awesome session, or even whether you can get out on the water at all. Read on for our take on wind conditions to help you better assess conditions in the future and make the most out of your sessions.
A windless day for a kitesurfer is similar to pond-like conditions for surfers, so if there’s little to no breeze out there, we recommend nipping your windsurfing plans in the bud and perhaps engaging in another activity that will contribute towards your overall performance. In terms of establishing the minimum wind speed required for launching a kite, you must consider a variety of technical, meteorological and personal factors that can affect your experience. These include, but are not limited to, average wind speed, the size of the wing and the weight of the kiteboarder.
The practicalities of the sport mean that there is a minimum wind speed to launch in the first place, as well as drag you back to dry land; there’s little worse than being stuck out to sea for a few hours while you wait for the wind to pick up! Prevent this problem by checking the forecast using apps such as Wind Guru, along with other trusted weather sources that include an hour-by-hour forecast to ensure there aren’t any predicted wind lulls. On the other hand, strong, gusty, storm-like winds may send your kite crashing to the ground, could damage your kit and is dangerous for both yourself and others in the sea alike. Avoid turbulence whenever possible, particularly if you haven’t got much experience windsurfing in turbulent conditions.
Generally, all abilities will be able to launch a kite with between 5 to 7 knots of wind. However, to start flying a kite, the average rider will need 10 knots, while lighter and heavier kiteboarders will need to adjust this number slightly, requiring slightly less for the former and a bit more for the latter. Swell size can also affect how much wind you need for a relaunch, but it’s a good idea to hold the wing tip at the edge of the wind window and have a minimum of 10 knots of wind to relaunch. If the wind is forecast to be 12 knots, but lulling at six or seven, it’s worth postponing your session so you don’t find yourself unable to return to shore.
Another thing to bear in mind when considering the wind speeds needed to get airborne is the size of your kite. The smaller the kite, the larger the strength of wind required to have a successful session. Larger kites won’t need as much wind to get up in the first place but remember no kite can fly without a little bit of wind. Additionally, the sailing behaviour of kites can also depend on the type of kite that you have, all of which are going to behave differently in identical conditions. Here at F-One, all of our kitesurfing kites come with all the required details including sizes in relation to wind range, so you can be sure of the conditions your kite works best in. The product information also includes a video, a 3D image and a user manual, along with a gallery of the kite in use.
There are various types of wind, each bringing its own unique challenges to kite surfing. An offshore wind is when the wind blows from land towards the sea. This can be dangerous because a momentary lapse in control at sea and you could find yourself pushed further out than you would like and experience difficulty in returning to shore. Onshore winds, from the sea to the sand, are safe for all riders but can cause some issues on launching for beginners. The best conditions for kitesurfing are known as side onshore, and that’s when the wind comes from both the sea and one side. This makes it easy to move away from the edge when you start and back to the edge in the case of an emergency.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to wind and how much you need in the first place for a successful kitesurfing session. If this has inspired you to look at alternative kite sizes to make the most of the conditions near you, or you’re just curious about what’s out there, don’t hesitate to browse our extensive range of kitesurfing kites today! If you have any questions about the kites on our website, or the equipment that would be best suited for you, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our dedicated and passionate team who would be more than happy to help.