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Direction,volume and window of the wind

Direction,volume and window of the wind

Wind directions



  • The wind blows towards the shore at about a 45 degree angle
  • Ideal conditions for kitesurfing, in the range 18 to 23 knots.  
  • You and your kite will get blown back onto the beach if you ditch your kite and can't relaunch it.
  • You will be able to go downwind on one reach for a distance, and walk back upwind along the beach (the "walk of shame") if you have not mastered staying upwind.
  • Cross-onshore sea breezes tend to be a smooth consistent laminar air flow with little turbulence, providing consistent wind which is great for kitesurfing.
  • Skill level: Beginners and above

Cross-shore (also known as side-shore)

  • The wind blows parallel to the shore
  • You will get blown onto the beach eventually if you dunk your kite and "sail it" back in the direction of the shore.
  • Skill level: Beginners and above.


  • The wind blows towards the shore at a 90 degree angle
  • You will get blown onto the beach immediately if you dunk your kite.
  • It can be hard to get out through any shore break.
  • Skill level: Intermediate and experienced kitesurfers.  You must be able to stay upwind to keep away from the beach.

Cross-offshore and offshore

  • Cross-offshore and offshore winds are not good for kiteboarding. 
  • Offshore winds pose the danger of being blown away from the shore in the event of equipment failure or loss of control. 
  • Offshore winds can be very gusty and turbulent as the wind airmass comes off a land mass. 
  • You can kitesurf in offshore winds in a lake or when a safety boat is available.
  • Skill level: Not recommended for kitesurfing.  Experienced kitesurfers only, with boat backup.

CAUTION: Do not kite in offshore or cross-offshore winds unless you are experienced and have a boat backup.

Assess the wind direction carefully.  Cross-onshore or cross-shore are best for kitesurfing.  You can kitesurf in other wind directions but they pose different challenges. 




Understanding the Wind Window is critical for managing the power of the kite and your direction of travel.This is basic theory that your kitesurfing lessons will cover.

There are three main zones within the Wind Window:


  1. The Edge of the Wind Window is where the kite generates the least power.   This is the zone used for launching and landing the kite, or for parking it in a neutral position while in the water.
  2. The Intermediate Zone is where the kite generates medium power.   You will fly the kite through or in this zone when the wind strength is good and you are cruising.
  3. The Power Zone is where the kite generates maximum power.  You will fly the kite through or in this zone when you want maximum power - for example when you are doing a water start or the wind speed is fairly low.




Force Speed Description Specifications  for use at sea
(mph) (knots) Specifications  for use on land
0 0-1 0-1 Calm Sea like a mirror.
Calm; smoke rises vertically.
1 1-3 1-3 Light Air Ripples with the appearance of scales are formed, but without foam crests.
Direction of wind shown by smoke drift, but not by wind vanes.
2 4-7 4-6 Light Breeze Small wavelets, still short, but more pronounced. Crests have a glassy appearance and do not break.
Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vanes moved by wind.
3 8-12 7-10 Gentle Breeze Large wavelets. Crests begin to break. Foam of glassy appearance. Perhaps scattered white horses.
Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends light flag.
4 13-18 11-16 Moderate Breeze Small waves, becoming larger; fairly frequent white horses.
Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved.
5 19-24 17-21 Fresh Breeze Moderate waves, taking a more pronounced long form; many white horses are formed.
Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.
6 25-31 22-27 Strong Breeze Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests are more extensive everywhere.
Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty.
7 32-38 28-33 Near Gale Sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind.
Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind.
8 39-46 34-40 Gale Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests begin to break into spindrift. The foam is blown in well-marked streaks along the direction of the wind.
Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress.
9 47-54 41-47 Severe Gale High waves. Dense streaks of foam along the direction of the wind. Crests of waves begin to topple, tumble and roll over. Spray may affect visibility
Slight structural damage occurs (chimney-pots and slates removed)
10 55-63 48-55 Storm Very high waves with long overhanging crests. The resulting foam, in great patches, is blown in dense white streaks along the direction of the wind. On the whole the surface of the sea takes on a white appearance. The tumbling of the sea becomes heavy and shock-like. Visibility affected.
Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs.
11 64-72 56-63 Violent Storm Exceptionally high waves (small and medium-size ships might be for a time lost to view behind the waves). The sea is completely covered with long white patches of foam lying along the direction of the wind. Everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into froth. Visibility affected.
Very rarely experienced; accompanied by wide-spread damage.
12 72-83 64-71 Hurricane The air is filled with foam and spray. Sea completely white with driving spray; visibility very seriously affected.


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