Tropical Storm Cindy started as a low pressure system south of the Yucatan Peninsula over a week ago. As it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico, it quickly turned into a tropical storm. When it comes to kiteboarding and chasing tropical storms, it’s extra important to educate yourself on the nature of the storm before going out.
Safety for yourself and those around you is always a priority when it comes to kiteboarding. Most accidents can be prevented with a little awareness. Before going out make sure to check Ikitesurf for any spikes or rapid changes in the wind. Also check Baynews 9 for the local radar. If you see strong winds on Ikitesurf but see a red storm cell on Baynews 9, then it’s not worth going out kiteboarding. Storms can develop within a blink of an eye, so if you’re on the water be extra aware of what’s going on around you. While out giving a lesson we saw one particular cloud lingering around the Skyway Bridge. All the other clouds were moving except this one cloud, which was weird and raised a red flag. It was slowly getting darker but nothing too intimidating. We decided to go back to the beach, set the kite down and wait to see how this cloud would develop. Within 10 minutes there was a 30mph wind squall, torrential rain and thick lightning all on top of us. It’s so important to be aware of your environment.
The Baynews 9 tropical weather report at 49 minutes past the hour will tell you everything you need and want to know like when the greatest chance for storms will be. Knowing that the majority of storms will be later in the day, we scheduled our freeriding and lessons in the morning. Now that we were prepared, we were able to enjoy all that Tropical Storm Cindy had to offer:
For Tropical Storm Cindy we had the best possible scenario, good winds and minimal storms. It all started late Sunday (6/18) with 15 kt winds out of the southeast. The prevailing SE winds continued Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday increasing 15 to 20 kts. A few storms came through the St Petersburg area but nothing too severe and long lasting. The storms that did pop up were quick moving and isolated. Thursday morning and even this morning (Friday, 6/23) has decent 11 to 14 kt winds at the Skyway Bridge. For kiteboarders in the Tampa Bay area, this has been a perfect week and a nice summer gift.