Understanding weather forecast

last edit: March 2021

In this article, I will tell you everything I know for you to be sure that when you go to the beach, you will actually kitesurf.

Nobody wants to end up on the beach with not enough or too much wind, so understanding weather report is essential

But the problem here, is that weather forecast is not an exact science.

There are plenty of websites, apps and tools for weather forecasting, but none of them is perfect.
As a result, weather forecasting is often an endless debate before a session where each kitesurfer will have a different opinion.

So what I am sharing in the below is what I use specifically in Dublin because based on my experience it has been the most accurate for my sessions.

As the rest of this website, it is very Dublin oriented, but a lot of the tips in this article are easily transferable to other spots.

You ready? Let’s dive in!

The 2 most important factors are: direction and strength
– For Direction I use Windfinder. 
– For Strength I use Windguru.   

Direction of the wind

Reminder: how to read wind direction

There are several different ways to give wind direction, which could make it a bit confusing.

The most traditional way is to use cardinal points : North, South, East, West.
In that way, the cardinal points will tell you the origin of the wind.
For example, a North East wind means the wind is coming from NE (and not that the wind is going towards North East).
Also, very often instead of writing “North East wind”, kitesurfers will use acronym such as “NE wind”.

Other way to give direction is with arrows. In most cases, the arrow will tell you the movement of the wind.
That is the case on windguru and windfinder, which are the two tools I am using the most.
For example in the below if you compare on the left hand side the windguru forecast using arrows, and on the right hand side the windfinder forecast using some sort of comets, you will see they both show the movement of the wind. Intuitively, they represent the wind movement.

Reminder: wind direction against the beach

The wind can have 3 directions against the beach:

On shore

This is the safest direction because the wind pushes you back on the shore, so if you have a problem you will be pushed to the shore.



Cross shore

this is an okay wind direction.







Off shore

This direction is dangerous because if you can not go upwind or if you have a problem, the wind will push you offshore. In general when the wind is offshore, there are no kitesurfer, unless there is a rescue boat.

My advice for wind direction: use Windfinder

I recommend using Windfinder on Dublin because:

  • Free.
  • Available on website and mobile app. 
  • It gives an easily readable view of the wind direction.
  • If you want to check in details you can click on a spot in the map.

Strength of the wind

For the strength, I use Windguru: AROME 1.3 km report because: 

  • Free.
  • Available on website on mobile app.
  • The most accurate from my experience. 

When you land on windguru, you see by default the “WG” report. I recommend to scroll down a little bit to the AROME 1.3 km report as from my experience it tends to be more accurate.  

The AROME model is also recommended by other sources such as Our Kite Life Youtube Channel: [YOUTUBE VIDEO]. 

Windguru for each Dublin beach: 
Burrow
Dollymount
Seapoint
Sandymount
Donabate Dunes

To evaluate strength, refer to the two rows “wind speed” and “wind gusts”: 

Wind speed is the average speed of the wind over the hour. 
Wind gust is the max wind speed you can expect during the hour.
I recommend going kitesurfing if your kite can handle both the wind speed and the wind gusts. 

Tides

The tides impact your sessions and it is important to know which tide you can expect when you head to the beach. 

To check the tides I use the “tides (model)” tab on Windguru: 

You can see in red the low tide, and in green the high tide, matching with the hour of the day and how much centimeters are gained or lost. 

In some spots like Seapoint, not only the status of the tide matters (high, medium, low) but also the height. 

Speed, schedule, and height of tides vary across the year. 

Understanding tide movement to make the most of your session

Not only the height of the tides matters, but also tide movements, meaning whether the tide is going up or down. This is a little detail that can significantly makes your session much more fun.

Considering that what you will be doing most of the time during your session is going upwind (red arrow below), you ideally want a tide that is going in the opposite direction to the wind (grey arrow).
Why? Because when you go upwind, you try to go in the opposite direction from the wind, so if the water acts as a treadmill pushing you upwind, it will help you make your carving better.
On the other hand, if the wind and the tide have the same direction, then the tide will push you downwind: this time the treadmill will push you in the opposite direction from the one you want to go.

view from Burrow when low tide (sandbank is visible)

As overall all the spots in Dublin are better with an easterly wind, we can say that the best setup you can have in Dublin is an easterly wind when tide is going down.

Live reports

Some spots in Dublin have live report, which comes super handy before heading out.

I included them in each of the spot overviews, but summarizing them in the below: 

Advanced forecast

Not only wind direction and strength impact your session, but also other parameters such as tide, chance of rain, cloud cover, etc. All those are available in windguru:    

See you at the beach!

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