Kiteboarding in the summer time is tough because 1. we don’t get fronts that come through 2. storm winds = lots of lightning and 3. it’s hard to predict consistent wind. Afternoon storms are almost a guarantee throughout the summer so the safest time to kiteboard is in the morning. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check the Egmont Channel, Skyway Bridge and Tampa J-Cut sensors on Ikitesurf. Sometimes I’ll check out Klystron 9 Radar or will use The Weather Channel app.
If I see 9 – 13 mph or better then I’m out the door by 5:45 am. The Cabrinha Contra 19m has given me the confidence to get out in such lightwind. I know that in 9 – 13 mph of wind I can ride a twintip and have fun. I could also foil, but I only foil if the current is moving fast and with the wind. If the conditions are not favorable for a twintip (too light or bad current) then I have a 12m Cabrinha Drifter I’ll use with a foil. The Drifter is stable in light winds and super fun to ride with a foil. It turns on a dime making downloop transitions feel really smooth. It’s fun to work the kite up and down and feel the power increase as you edge into the wind. Whether I ride a twintip or foilboard, kiteboarding in the morning is a perfect way to start the day.
Chances are that if there’s wind in the morning it’s out of the east. If it’s out of any other direction I’m skeptical and will compare the Ikitesurf forecast with NOAA and Windfinder. If both these sources look good and there’s no storms on the radar then I’ll make the drive out to the Skyway. East winds are good but you need to catch them early otherwise they fizzle out fast. They’ll usually last until about 9am or 10am when the sun begins warming up the land. By 11am the east wind turns off and a sea breeze begins to form. The east wind is safer because there’s a far less chance of strong thunderstorm developing in the morning.
October is right around the corner, this means cold fronts and more consistent winds. The wind before and after the front is much easier to predict and is a lot safer. There’s only one month left until October but in the meantime there may be some wind this weekend!