We have to deal with it regularly as kite surfers: Wind gusts! But what are gusts and how do they arise?
What are gusts of wind?
All kite surfers know the term gusts of wind. It starts with checking the wind on the wind apps, where the predicted wind is shown and the gusts, but what exactly is that?
A gust of wind is a short-term blasts of wind or gust of at least 50 kilometers per hour!
Some kite surfers enjoy these gusts, making them go even harder and higher. Still, these gusts of wind can be very dangerous.
How do gusts of wind arise?
The wind is always blowing, but one day the wind blows harder than the next and the wind is actually never constant. Wind is created by the displacement of air and this is due to pressure differences in the atmosphere. The air moves from a hight pressure area to a low pressure area. Wind moves along the lines of equal pressure, however, due to the rotation of the earth, there is a strong deflection of those lines.
The fact that the wind does not blow evenly is due to friction. We are dealing with the wind from the low air layer and there are quite a few obstacles there. For example, the bottom is not flat, which creates a collision, which slows the wind. Buildings are the cause of a lot of friction, which causes wind turbulence, just like trees.
The reason that offshore wind is often gusty is because of these obstacles, the wind comes over land. Although water also inhibits wind, this is less than wind blowing over land.
Storm and gusts
Very strong gusts of wind can occur in very strong winds and storms. Extremely strong gusts of wind are caused by an additional element:
In the upper air layer the wind speed is much higher than in the lower air layer that kite surfers have to deal with. During a heavy rain or hailstorm, the air in the upper air layer cools down considerably and becomes so heavy that it “falls down” in the low air layer, where your kite is located, but the speed of the upper air layer is included so that you can a huge gust of wind hits.
Finally, temperature also plays a role. Cold air is heavier than warm air. During heavy showers the temperature can drop considerably, which also causes extra gusts of wind.
Kite surfing with strong gusts of wind
It should be a no brainer that kite surfing with strong gusts of wind is only reserved for the pros. If you don’t know what a kitesurfing pro is, stay aside and take photos, because those who are on the water know what they are doing and it is wonderful to see. The megaloop challenge is an annual event that takes place when it storms, where you see the men and women flying through the air!
The coriolis effect
What is The coriolis effect?
Lennart te Groen
Surf lekker verder op 35 Knots
E-Foiling on the Loosdrechtse Plassen. Former windsurfer Johan from 2 Foil organizes E-Foil training. Is this the ultimate windless activity?
Name kitespot: Workum Rules: Kite zones are indicated with flags