One of our favorite combinations is to go kiteboarding at the Skyway Bridge on a southerly wind. To fully enjoy this spot on this wind direction, there is some important information to know. We recommend beginner kiteboarders go to Fort Desoto East Beach on a southerly wind. Riders must tack upwind to fully enjoy the best location for this spot and wind direction.
Understanding This Spot
Situational awareness is important towards making the most out of any spot. See the image below for a deeper understanding of the west side of the Skyway Bridge on a southerly wind.
Skyway vs Fort Desoto on a South Wind
Everything is relative to the “launch spot”. At the west side of the Skyway Bridge, a kiteboarder can end up in deep water if they cannot tack upwind. Fort Desoto East Beach has shallow water for miles downwind of the launch spot. If a kiteboarder cannot stay upwind, they will at least be in shallow water at Fort Desoto. Skyway Bridge on the west side is still an amazing place to kiteboard for riders that can stay upwind. Foilboarders will also enjoy the west side of Skyway more because there is deeper waters to foilboard in.
Best Place to Kiteboard
Our favorite spot at the west side of Skyway is the place marked “Shallow Water – Amazing Riding Area”. It is an excellent location to free-ride, practice tricks, or learn to kiteboard! The conditions are world-class and there is plenty of space for everyone. On busy days, we take our lessons to this location to put them in the best environment and with less people around. We personally ride here to enjoy our own sessions on the water.
Launching at Skyway West
With a southerly wind, the direction is considered a “cross-shore wind”. The mangroves can sometimes block the wind away from the water’s edge. This can cause a wind shadow that makes it more difficult to launch a kite. If launching with the assistance of another person, we recommend having the kite in the water and the person on the shore. If facing downwind, the kite should be on the left and the kiteboarder on the right. Our preferred method of launching a kite on this wind direction is to drift launch. Check out our post for more information on how to drift launch a kiteboarding kite.
Southerly winds are our favorite winds. These winds tend to be under-forecasted. The best times are typically between 10am and 4pm. They usually occur before a cold front, so they are warmer winds. The two key features with southerly winds are warm and consistent. This makes for a great combination for kiteboarding!