Sideshore, with a touch side off.
Pro rider Rob Kidnie on best wind directions for kitesurfing
Wave height is only one ingredient in a great wave session. Another is wind direction and it can turn an OK session into an epic everlasting memory. Everyone has their own preferred wind direction and mine is an 18 to 25 knot side shore wind.
I often dream about those sunny days pumping up my 7m Section and ...
heading out with my buddies on a Ripper 2 looking for those perfectly shaped, long, peeling waves. There is nothing better than parking my kite to focus on riding the waves like a regular surfer. On those perfect days, my sunscreen will be caked on an inch thick and I will ride for five or more hours before calling it a day. Unlike surfing, though, kiting saves me paddle time, let’ me ride more of the wave and gets me on ten times the number of waves. And my trusty Section gets me out of those sticky spots like a poorly timed top turn off the lip.
And sometimes, I enjoy a wind with a touch offshore in it.
You are probably asking yourself whether kiting in offshore winds is safe and the short answer is no. So what attracts experienced riders to side-off and offshore conditions then? Well, an offshore wind grooms the face of the wave taking out the bumps. Kiting on butter smooth wave faces is not normal as strong wind, inevitably, brings choppy, messy, waves. It’s a pretty special feeling very much like snowboarding in powder. And that is why people do it. If you do decide to search out side-off wind and glassy smooth waves, you must be prepared and have an escape plan.
Kiting in any offshore wind is potentially very dangerous and you really need to have a backup plan ...
should things not go the way you intended. For example, having a watchful boat or Jetski patrol is ideal. At One-Eye, in Mauritius, most of the local wave riders rid with a cheap mobile phone in a waterproof bag so they can call the local kite school for a rescue.
If you don’t have a safety or rescue plan and the wind is blowing offshore, don‘t go out!
Leave side off conditions for highly experienced locals and enjoy onshore wave riding.
The most common wind direction is onshore or cross-onshore.
It is a safe wind direction that pushes you back to shore when you have kite issues. I really enjoy riding strapless in onshore 20+ kt winds because the wind pushes the board against my feet when I jump. Perfect! Light onshore wind and fast waves can be challenging because the wave will take power away from your kite. My tip for onshore kiting is fly a fast kite like the GTS4 or Section.
Wave riding is my thing. Let it be yours too. Just remember, a day playing on the waves with your best friends beats any day in the office.
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