Making the most of the “Off Season”

A New Wave Kiteboarding customer using light wind equipment. PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Lund.

It’s hard to believe the windy season is already at its end. For most of you reading Coastal Angler Magazine, excitement is in the air as you clean up your vessels and get ready for the diving and fishing season. For you avid kiteboarders, it can be disappointing to see the winds drop off.

However, with the evolution of light wind kites and light wind boards, especially foils, light wind days have found a form of unique excitement. If you haven’t tried foil boarding yet, now is the time. Due to the efficiency and lack of drag associated with foil boarding, kiteboarders can ride in wind as light as 6 knots. During the summer months, kiteboarders can take advantage of this opportunity because we often exceed six knots daily with the afternoon sea breezes. If you are a beginner kiteboarder, foiling may still be out of your reach. However, the calmer summer conditions are a fantastic time to make that first transition from riding flat water to riding in the ocean. Many beginner kiters who spend the summer practicing are often ready for the more advanced conditions we get in the fall and winter.

To get the most out of these light wind conditions, you will want very specific light wind equipment. What makes these light wind kites special is the lower wing design along with lighter materials. Essentially think of a large cargo plane. It has thicker wings with more curvature. This allows the wing/kite to provide more lift with less airflow across it. The average 190-pound man will want a 15- or 17-mtr light wind specific kite and a 150- to 160-cm light wind twin tip. The average 140-pound woman will want a 12- or 13-mtr light wind specific kite and a 140- to 150-cm light wind twin tip. Of course, you will want to scale the kite and board size up or down based on your actual weight and wind conditions.

When it comes to summer time riding, the real challenge is knowing when it is going to be windy. Most of our summertime sea breezes are not forecasted to happen. However, they are somewhat predictable. If the day starts out with calm or southerly winds along with clear skies, there is a good chance of kiteboarding later. Look for small puffy clouds forming over land but not over water. If you see this happening before 12:00 noon there is a good chance that by 3:00 p.m. there will be a moderate southerly breeze taking place at the beach. It is important to note that you may not even notice wind inland so you will need to follow the wind sensors or take a midafternoon drive to check it out. Often, these sea breezes will only last a few hours so you will want to have your equipment ready to go.

I hope this article helps you score a few extra days out on the water this summer. As always, know your limits, know your safety mechanisms and be respectful of other beach goers. Have a great summer!

FORECAST BY: Jeremy Lund
Lead instructor and owner of New Wave Kiteboarding
Find us at Sailfish Marina in Stuart, FL
(561) 633-9362