One thing to love about kitesurf downwinders is the freedom of rigging your kite and going with the wind. Right when you learn waterstarts your instructor drills you to learn how to ride upwind. That “golden ticket” is the moment you can kitesurf out and get back to the point you started from. But when you do a downwinder, you can forget about staying upwind and just go where the wind takes you!
What Is A Downwinder?
Kitesurf downwinders are when you rig a kite at a location upwind and kitesurf to a location a few miles downwind. It allows you to explore new places and kitesurf in spots you may not typically ride at. It’s a great opportunity to get a true feeling for a general location. For example, Lassing Park and the East Skyway are known for flat water but there are miles of flat water in between these two launches that are excellent to cruise around. Downwinders are also a great way to escape the crowds and explore some new places.
When Are You Ready For A Downwinder?
You want to be a proficient kiteboarder before you do your first downwinder. This means you know how to transition, how to water relaunch, how to body drag, how to self rescue, and preferably how to jump. You want to have spent enough time kiteboarding that you don’t need to look at your kite while you ride. Kite control is super important and will keep you out of danger. Unexpected things can happen on a downwinder that can potentially put you in a dangerous situation. To avoid being in a dangerous situation stick to the basics and have gear that is reliable. You don’t want to do a downwinder on a kite that may leak air halfway through. Kiteboarding St Petersburg uses and recommends Cabrinha gear for its build and reliability. You’ll know you’re ready for a downwinder when you begin to feel confident with your riding, when you can jump, cruise downwind, cruise upwind and most importantly have fun while riding!
When Do We Do Downwinders?
We do downwinders only when there is enough wind and that wind will last for at least a few hours. Knowing the wind patterns around Tampa Bay makes it easier for us to know when to make the call. If the wind is associated with a front, it’s easier to predict and the downwinder can be planned a few days in advance. Sea Breezes are more difficult to predict and are more of a last minute decision. The season for downwinders mirrors the windy season, from October to May. The best months for downwinders in Tampa Bay are October/ November and March/ April.