10 January 2017

Understanding Wind Direction

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

DID YOU KNOW that just because the wind is side-shore to the beach doesn’t mean that it is side shore to the wave?

Understanding Wind Direction

Even advanced riders can come unstuck by not understanding this basic principal. 

It’s easy to assess the wind direction when you’re standing on the beach and think, “ok it’s side-shore, I’ll be able to practise unhooking today.” In reality the waves might be at a different angle to the beach, making the wind direction relative to the wave side-offshore. It might not seem like a big deal but confusion here can lead to a really frustrating session. 

You can still check the wind direction and wave direction from the beach, you just need to forget about the land and look at the waves. Here’s a graph that shows basic wind directions in relation to the wave, not the waterline. Although the first graph has a swell direction fairly similar to the beach, below are some other photos that really show how different swell directions can alter wave angle. 


*All images show the Tasmanian coastline in Australia and are courtesy of Stu Gibson

stu gibson wind direction swell direction kitesurfing

stu gibson wind direction swell direction kitesurfing 3

stu gibson wind direction swell direction kitesurfing 5

stu gibson wind direction swell direction kitesurfing 6

About the Author

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, a big-wave kitesurfer and co-founder of BWSurf. A pioneer of the sport, Ben was one of the first to use a surfboard in harmony with a kite and he continues to drive the sport in new directions.

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