If you want to experience the very best of Tampa Bay then you need to participate in the Lassing Park to Skyway Bridge Downwinder. The total distance is about 9 miles and will take about an hour and half to complete. The majority of this trip consists of knee to waist deep water that runs along Coquina Key.
Prerequisites to a Downwinder
Before going on a downwinder there are a few skills you need to learn. Here’s what we believe to be the most useful:
- Riding Toeside
- Self Rescue
Downloops – Downloops are an efficient way of going downwind fast. They will make the overall experience easier and more enjoyable.
Riding Toeside – Riding toeside is another way of going downwind and changing your weight distribution to give your other muscles a break.
Self Rescue – You always want to be prepared for a worst case scenario. Being familiar with your safety systems is always a plus.
Want to get good at downloops and riding toeside? Schedule an advanced lesson with us and we’ll get you in great shape for downwinders… Just comment under “Availability” that it is advanced lesson for downwinders.
There are a few difficult spots to get past on the Lassing Park to Skyway downwinder. The first turn around Lassing Park is deep and choppy. There’s a channel around the corner that once you get past, you’re in shallow water. The second challenge is crossing from the southern tip of St Petersburg to the Skyway Bridge. There’s a deep channel and you’re away from land. This area is a place you do not want something to happen and want to get past as quick as possible.
When to Downwind
Two rules for downwinders, make sure there’s plenty of wind in the forecast and rig 2m bigger than normal. The right wind direction for the Lassing Park to Skyway Bridge downwinder is a NE, ENE or E wind. We like to see at least 15-20 mph of wind that lasts for at least 5 hours. We’ll time leaving when we believe the thermal will increase the wind for the most consistency. Since you’re traveling downwind, rigging a kite slightly bigger will make it easier to travel the distance.