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The Wind Conditions In Tarifa
Before throwing yourself into the water, it’s important to know what the weather conditions are.
This is a basic rule every kiter should know. Check the wind level and direction, and make sure that no bad weather is on its way. Because after all, no one wants to be rescued by a patrol boat. Here are more details of what you should look out for.
If the wind comes from the land and blows towards the sea, it’s called « Offshore ». This wind is called Levante in Tarifa when it comes from the East, from where the sun rises. Depending on which kite spot you are, the wind can also be side offshore. You have to be careful, as this wind is quite dangerous. If you have any problem in the water and lose control, the wind will push you out and it will be difficult to get back to the shore.
This wind is also dangerous on the beach. Our surrounding landscape (mountains, forests and buildings) create obstacles for the wind, which in turn makes it irregular and gusty. Gusts that create variations in wind power can make controlling the kite quite difficult. Strong gusts can make kitesurfing uncomfortable, and even dangerous at times. If you’re kiting in « Offshore » (or also in cross-offshore) wind, make sure there’s a safety boat nearby that can take you back to the beach, should you run into any problems.
In Tarifa you have the Sea Angels, the rescue boats company, which offer rescue cards for the independent riders. You can easily buy one at the beach bar of the kite spot. It costs 30€ for 2 rescues or 60€ for 5 rescues.
If the wind blows from the sea to the beach, it’s called « Onshore ». We get this direction in Tarifa when the wind comes from the South. Beware with this wind during your waterstart because the wind and waves will push you towards the beach.A bad start could cause a more or less dangerous fall depending on the configuration of the beach and the obstacles (rocks, trees or walkers).
If you don’t feel comfortable doing a quick waterstart safely to get away from the edge, it’s best to pass your turn. Exiting in an onshore wind requires a minimum of experience and technique.
The best wind direction for kitesurfing is « Side Onshore » and safe for all riders. It’s a wind that comes from the sea but also from one side. This wind is called Poniente in Tarifa when it comes from the West, where the sun sets.
This wind will allow you to put your kite down on the edge of the wind window, to move away before making your waterstart, and will bring you back to the shore in case of any problem.
Side shore or Cross shore
Side shore is also a safe wind. It means the wind-directions are blowing along the waterline/beach, parallel to the shore. You can go out away from shore and kite right back to shore easily.
Wind directions can change depending on the shape of the coast. For example if you’re riding a side shore day, near a point where the coast change direction, past that point, the wind can be side offshore. So make sure to have a look on the map of your kite spot before going to the water.
Which kite spots choose in Tarifa according to the wind conditions
When it’s Poniente, so On shore or Side Onshore wind in Tarifa, we recommend you to go kitesurfing in Los Lances beach. The direction is usually more side than in Balneario beach, in Centre Tarifa. You can meet your friends at Agua Beach bar or at Arte Vida.
If the wind is Side Offshore, Levante in Tarifa, you can ride in Los Lances beach using a rescue card. But it’s better to go more on the left side of the kite spot (in front of Rio Raja) where the wind is less gusty. In offshore wind, the best is to go kitesurfing in Valdevaqueros beach where you will have a more steady wind and side shore wind. It can be even side onshore wind, due to the orientation of the coast. You have the Tangana beach bar or the Bibo where it’s easy to park.
After years of travelling the globe and kitesurfing along all the best coasts, I've decided it was time to settle down and share my knowledge. Sports teacher since more than 10 years, share my passion for sport activities is natural.All stories by: FRT
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