Reading tides and wind will help you to choose the right place to kiteboard. Tide and wind will affect where you can or cannot kiteboard. We’ll go over what sources we use for tide charts and wind forecasts. Certain kiteboarding spots around Tampa Bay are tide dependent.
Reading The Wind
For a more detailed analysis on checking a wind forecast, check out our other blog post. For kiteboarding, we want at least a consistent 10 knots of wind. Anything less and it is difficult to keep a kite in the air. The further out a forecast goes, the less predictable it is. We seem to find that within four days the forecast is accurate. Here’s what we use for checking the wind forecast.
Reading The Tides
The flow of water can either work in your favor or against you while kiteboarding. If the currents are traveling in the same direction as the wind then you lose apparent wind. As an example, 15 knots of wind with 3 knots of current going with the wind is like having 12 knots of wind. If the current is going into the wind then you have increased your apparent wind. iKitesurf has a fantastic chart to view the flow of currents for the Tampa Bay area.
Some spots like Fort Desoto North Beach are tide dependent. On a low tide, there may not be enough water to kiteboard at the spot. Here are a list of spots that tides affect.
Skyway Bridge West and East both have deeper spots that make it possible to kiteboard even on an extremely low tide. Tides 4 Fishing is a good source for reading the tides in St Petersburg. It will provide you with the high tides and low tides. It will also show you how low low tide will be or how high high tide will be. The other source we use is Baynews9 Marine forecast.
Reading An Eddy
An eddy occurs when a deep water current encounters a more shallow section. Eddys affect the way water flows. At a place like the east side of the Skyway Bridge where you have multiple deep spots and shallow spots, you’ll have different eddys. These will vary based on an outgoing tide or incoming tide. To read an eddy, you’ll have to pay careful attention to the way the water flows.
How To Read Currents or Eddys While Kiteboarding
The amount of bar pressure your kite has is one way to tell if the current is pulling you downwind or helping you stay upwind. If you’re experiencing more bar pressure than normal on your kite and it is difficult to stay upwind, then theres a chance the current is going with the wind. In this situation you lose apparent wind and it will be more difficult to stay upwind. If your kite feels like it has less bar pressure and you feel it is easy to stay upwind then the current may be going against the wind.
If you’re new to a kiteboarding spot, ask the locals what hazards there might be. Always try to work your way a safe distance upwind from the launch site. Avoid kiteboarding in too skinny of water to prevent injuries. Be aware of your surroundings.
Have questions? Send us an email