This article will cover what hurricane season means for kiteboarding in Florida. Is Florida always windy during hurricane season? How often do hurricanes actually occur? What does it mean when a hurricane is coming at Florida?
Misconceptions About Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is technically June 1st through November 30th. When most people think of hurricane season, they think August and September. Although August and September are the peak months for hurricane season, Florida is not constantly staring down the barrel of a hurricane. There is a common misconception that because it is hurricane season, it is also windy. This unfortunately is not true. Although August and September are peak months for hurricanes, they are our worst months for wind in Florida. A hurricane, tropical storm or depression could bring good winds for kiteboarding. However, tropical systems are not our preferred nor most common sources for wind in Florida.
What Are The Common Sources For Wind?
The most common sources for wind in Florida are fronts and thermals. Cold fronts (cold is subjective, not all cold fronts are “cold”) come down from the northwest bringing drier airs. These drier airs and temperature changes help create good winds. More information on cold fronts can be found in this link. Thermals are another source for good winds. A common occurrence will be afternoon sea breezes. More information on sea breezes can be found here.
Can You Kiteboard In A Hurricane?
When in doubt, don’t go out.
If you have to think about whether or not it is a good idea to go kiteboarding, then you probably should not go. With the right amount of knowledge and understanding of these storms, wiser decisions can be made. It is important to know and respect your limits. Do not try and push it.
Advice for Kiteboarding in Tropical Systems
Kiteboarding in a hurricane sounds crazy. But what if the hurricane was located over the Bahamas? Depending upon the strength of the hurricane, Tampa could still get 15 kt winds. Even though the storm may be hundreds of miles away, the winds can still affect certain areas. This was the case for hurricane Dorian a few years ago.
Our advice is to reach out to the local shops or schools and see if and where they are going out. Try and stay with people who are more experienced than you. If there are storms or projected to be storms, then do not go out. Storms can create dangerous situations such as waterspouts, sudden gusts, and wind direction changes. In tropical systems, these storms can pop up with little to no warning.
Tracking a Hurricane
The ideal side is to be on the west side of a hurricane or tropical system. The east side tends to generate more storms and is not advisable. For tracking storms during hurricane season, we use the National Hurricane Center. For checking the wind we use iKitesurf. If we’re looking for a visualization of where the system is heading, we use Windy. Keep in mind storms can change with little notice. When tracking these systems it is important to keep an eye on them every couple of hours.