Before every session and whenever kite boarding in Squamish we do a site assessment where we determine how strong the wind is and which kite to take. Winds vary a lot not just from day to day but from location to location.
When kite boarding in Squamish the wind can be a lot different to other spots around the world. Warmer wind can feel less powerful than colder
wind making your experience of kite boarding Squamish different to kiteboarding experiences in other parts of the world. So before kite boarding in Squamish make sure to determine the wind direction and speed correctly.
We need to make sure we always know exactly where the wind is coming from. Stretch out your arms and feel the wind on your hands, turn your head from one side to the other and hear the wind in your ears, pick up some sand and see which way the wind is blowing it or observe a flag.
Once we figured out where the wind comes from we want to see the wind in relation with the shore. Here we distinguish between two main wind directions: on shore wind and shore off wind. As kitesurfers we usually want to go kiting in onshore wind so we will be getting pushed back
Off shore wind is not only dangerous as we get pushed out to sea in case something goes wrong (or we just can’t get back upwind) but is usually gusty as it travels over the land.
We also distinguish between cross shore, cross on shore and on shore wind.
It’s always good to check the wind forecast and look for changes in wind direction. Usually the wind won’t just change direction suddenly apart from minor shift. For the wind to change direction majorly it needs to drop of first and then return from a different direction.
At the beginning of everyone’s life as a kiter it can be tricky to determine how strong the wind is. Even for the more experienced off us it can sometimes be hard to say, especially when coming to a new location. The wind also has a different amount of power in warmer or colder climates (on an average: for every degree Celsius the temperature increases, the wind
losses 0.4% of its power) or in areas where there are more or less particles in the air.
That’s why the two most common questions between kitesurfers on the beach are: “What do you think it’s blowing?” and “What kite size are you using?” These two questions come in direct relation to each other as we use bigger kites in lighter winds and choose smaller sizes as the wind gets stronger.
As a general rule of thumb we can say light wind is anything up to 15 knots, moderate wind is between 15 and 28 knots and anything stronger than 28 knots can be considered strong wind. As a beginner it is usually best to stick with light to moderate wind. Even if we are not able to tell exactly how many knots it is blowing we usually develop a good feel of how much wind we need/like for our kites. After being out on our own kite a few
times and taking time before and after the session to just feel the wind we get an idea of how much wind is too much or too little for us.
Keep this in mind before kite boarding Squamish or anywhere else.