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 Post subject: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:32 pm
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Have you ever booked a holiday expecting to be on the water most days only to find that the wind does not turn up?

Why is it that the wind-statistics of a new destination look so good and that often when you arrive there the actual experience is so poor?

Part of the reason is that we are not very good at reporting and reading the wind statistics.
I’ve been intrigued about this “wind-gap” for years, first as a windsurfer starting 30 years ago and then from a business point of view when I was looking for the right spot to start a kitesurf center (in the end we picked Sao Vicente, one of the Cape Verde islands).

One of my experiences that shed light on the “wind-gap” were holidays in Egypt. Not having much money, I could afford to go on a winter holiday to Safaga and Marsa Alam and was hopeful for some wind based on statistics but found the wind to be disappointing, the first time I went (thinking I had been unlucky), the second time (still unlucky?) and the third time (what’s going on?) :angryfire: . We have a saying in Holland that says that you’ll get lucky at the 3rd attempt and I did, not with the wind but an insight :idea: . I noticed that on many days I was woken up early in the morning by a seemingly howling wind, I would be the first at breakfast, stuff myself as fast as possible and run to the beach to find that the wind was slightly off-shore and dying quickly. Guess what? On many of those days the wind would not pick up again until the next night.

So what’ the insight? I started suspecting that the statistics included these night-time winds and found that this is indeed the case.

Since then, I’ve looked at wind statistics in a different way. I no longer rely on reports of “% of days with 4BFT or more” and look for:
- % of time the wind blows during the day
- the wind has to be in the right direction (cross-shore / cross-onshore)
- the wind should be in the right range (also not too strong esp. for a kitesurf school): 11 – 25 knots

Here’s the result when El Gouna during November 2009 is taken as example (data source: daily archive www.windguru.com ).

The % of days with 4 BFT or more statistic: 80% . Wow!!
The statistic I now use: % of time with 11-25 knots after 8am & before 8pm, cross / cross-on shore: 49% (a bit less Wow).

So if you stayed in El Gouna for all of November 2009, would you be able to go on the water 80% of the time? The answer is no. If you had been dedicated and planned each day around the wind, you would have been able to spend 49% of your time on the water at most.
So taken day by day what explains the gap between the 80% and 49% statistic?

Of all the 24 days registered as 4BFT or more:
- The wind only blew during the night for 7 of those days
- The wind was in the wrong direction (E-NE, off-shore) 1 of those days
- The wind only blow during a small time of the day (the morning or early morning and late afternoon) 3 of those days
- The wind was too strong for beginners (27 knots) part of 1 day

My advise: do not simply use the statistic of days with 4BTF or more and ask yourself : how is the wind during the day, what direction does it blow? If not, you may end up having many disappointing kitesurf holidays.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:15 pm 
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it is even simpler: ask on this forum!


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:34 am 
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or come to a place like brazil, and save yourself hours spent on studying and deciphering the statistics... :rollgrin:


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:40 pm
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Location: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
ID wrote:
or come to a place like brazil, and save yourself hours spent on studying and deciphering the statistics... :rollgrin:


True for Combuco and surroundings for certain months (August - November?) but there is always uncertainty around the margins (what if I want to go to Combuco the last 2 weeks of January?)

Some folks want to try new destinations (and are therefore asking: "what's the wind like in..."). So if I want to go somewhere else than Brazil late in October: where can I go with wind certainty?

We should not have to spend hours deciphering the statistics. Why don't the folks at windfinder, windguru and the likes provide better information that is more practical?


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:09 am 
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Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 7:57 pm
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Toby wrote:
it is even simpler: ask on this forum!

true but asking about locations (in fact most things kite-related) on this forum the results are always skewed by people with vested interests e.g. businesses in that location.


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:11 am
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BrianMaiden wrote:
Toby wrote:
it is even simpler: ask on this forum!

true but asking about locations (in fact most things kite-related) on this forum the results are always skewed by people with vested interests e.g. businesses in that location.


I totally agree. Windconsistency is the single most important thing for us to choose a windy holiday destination. It seems crazy that we are being lead into the abyss of (often false) impressions. When I look at the listings in the threads "Windy holiday destinations per month" some of it looks total nonsense and quite frankly is false advertising. It's time for some objective useful universal statistics!!
I'm fed up arriving at places with 80% claims and the folks of the kitesurf school telling me "you should have been here yesterday" :angryfire:


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:24 am
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i have encountered the same problems on numerous occasions. and actually there are 3 sources of possible info on weather in a place that is not your home:

1) the wind statistics - usually are flawed because of the reasons noted above + the fact that weather is changing pretty much everywhere. e.g. i would not believe wind satistics taken from years 2008-2010 just because of el nino/ la nina..

2) wind dependant holiday destination businesses - even less reliable than statistics. there are good examples of honest people, but most tend to call choppy chin deep pieces of water lagoons etc. i would say that most of exotic location forum users are owners and employees of schools or kitehouses.

3) ordinary fellow kiters that will not benefit anyway from your visit. this would be the most reliable info. but the problem is how do you contact a kiter in mozambique e.g.?? taking into account that the more sun and wind there is, the less time people spend on the internet :jump:


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 Post subject: Re: Choosing a kitesurf destination: wind statistics
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:02 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:40 pm
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Location: Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Here is a 3-step process to check out statistics for yourself so you are better informed about wat that matters most to you: how much time can I spend on the water with good, consistent wind from a safe direction?

Step 1: Visit http://www.windguru.cz/int/historie.php Submit and pick the spot of interest and the time period of interest (look at last year and perhaps the same period, the years before that). Note down the wind strength and direction during the day (e.g. 10h 13h 16h). You can select the info on the windguru page and paste into a program such as MS Excel. If the spot is not listed in Windguru, try a nearby spot and perform step 1b.

Step 1b (if needed): Visit http://www.windfinder.com/windstats/win ... _world.htm Submit and pick the nearby spot and the spot of interest to adjust the wind for the spot of interest (for instance if the wind strength at spot of interest is mostly 10% higher than the nearby spot listed on windguru, make the 10% adjustment).

Step 2: Look for your spot on http://maps.google.com/ 260K viewing in satellite mode. Choose the acceptable wind directions for the spot (e.g. cross-shore = from NW and SE).

Step 3: From the list you created, note the times when the wind strength is good (e.g. for beginners between 11 knots and 25 knots) and the wind direction is good. Count the number of good times (e.g. 13 time points over a 1 week period) out of all time points (e.g. 3 time points per day over 1 week = 21). This gives you a much more practical wind statistic for the spot of interest (e.g. 13/21 = 62%).


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