One of the most important parts to kiteboarding is checking the wind forecast. Being able to read the wind forecast can provide you with more time on the water, and save you from unnecessary drives to the beach. Over the years of kiteboarding in Tampa Bay, these are the most accurate forecast models we have found.
Forecast models change. Although some models forecast seven to ten days out, that does not mean they are accurate. If a strong front or low pressure system is coming to the area, then the forecast is more accurate. In general, we do not look further than four days out.
There is more than checking the wind forecast. There are other variables that play into the wind forecast. Over a decade of experience kiteboarding in the Tampa Bay area has provided insight to certain trends in the wind.
Ikitesurf provides the most accurate wind forecasting for the Tampa Bay area. It is worth downloading the app on your smart phone and save the above link on your desktop. For the most accurate forecast, use the “Egmont-Fort Desoto” sensor. Ikitesurf offers a “Pro Forecast” that will provide you with access to the yellow sensors and additional forecasting models. Over the years we found their “Quicklook Plus” forecasting model to be the most accurate forecast for the Tampa Bay area. Another worthwhile benefit is access to the yellow sensors that provide realtime wind readings and are updated every few minutes.
The smaller box on the left shows the current wind speed, wind direction and a graph of the previous wind speed for the past 4 hours. The yellow arrow indicates what direction the wind is blowing. In the example above it is pointing to the left and up meaning the wind is coming from the east, southeast.
The larger box on the right shows the 7 day forecast. The three important variables to focus on here is wind (mph), gust and the arrows between the two. The actual wind speed for a certain time will be somewhere between the range of the wind (mph) and gust. The arrows indicate the direction the wind will be blowing, the arrows in the above forecast point north so the wind will be coming from the south.
Windfinder provides similar data as Ikitesurf by using a different forecast model. If a forecast looks skeptical on Ikitesurf, you can compare it with windfinder’s forecast. Make sure to use the “Egmont Channel” sensor so that you have an even comparison. If both forecasts relate, then you have an accurate prediction of the wind. Windfinder tends to over-forecast the winds in our area.
NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you want a technical and more detailed forecast or if Ikitesurf and Windfinder do not align then check NOAA’s forecast.
if you’re more visual and want to see what the winds doing around Florida or North America then check out Windyty. Windy is visually appealing but tends to be on the weaker side of wind forecasts.
The Windyty forecast will provide a better visual of what’s going on around Florida. In the above image you can see a cold front to the left of the screen indicated by two opposing wind directions. On the far left the wind is coming from the west while the middle of the screen (Florida) shows the wind coming from the south.