What’s the minimum wind speed needed for kitesurfing? That’s one of the questions which is asked a lot by kitesurfers of all levels alike! And a simple answer to this question is that it depends on a lot of factors, such as wind speed, the weight of the kitesurfer, and even the wing size!

But if we talk about the general rule of thumb, a kitesurfer with average weight can go for kitesurfing with a wind speed of 10 knots or around 12 mph. On the other hand, a kitesurfer who is around 200 lbs will need a minimum wind speed of 13 knots (around 15 mph). But once the kite starts to fly and move you, a minimum wind speed of 5 to 7 knots is enough for kitefoiling.

So the simple answer to the question of how much wind is needed for kitesurfing is around 10 – 13 knots on average while for kitefoiling,  only 5-7 knots of wind speed is needed once the kite starts to fly.

 

Wind Speed & Different Kite Sizes

Now that we understand that the ideal wind speed required for kitesurfing differs, let’s look at the minimum wind speed needed in relation to different kite sizes.

 

How much wind is needed for 9m Kites?

If you have a 9m kite and you have an average weight, you will need a wind speed of 15 – 20 knots at the minimum to kitesurf without any problems.

On the contrary, heavy kitesurfers will need a more strong wind since their own weight will also be added into the calculations. That’s why the average wind needed for a heavy surfer riding a 9m kite is around 25 – 30 knots.

 

How much wind is needed for 12m Kites?

If you are a skilled kitesurfer with an average weight, you can kitesurf in the water with a wind speed of 14-18 knots (minimum). Since the 12m kites are bigger than the 9m ones, this will also require a lot of expertise to handle them properly in the water.

As for the surfers who are over 200 lbs, the minimum wind speeded for a 12 kite is around 16-20  knots.

If you haven’t already noticed, the minimum wind speed required increases with the weight of the kitesurfer. So whenever you are looking at a potential kitesurfing spot, always keep this thing in your mind.

 

Increasingly, the major kitesurfing brands are striving to produce lightweight kites that can fly in very light wind conditions. These light kites with a single center rib can stay in the air in light winds, just like foil kites, which are very light kites and have a lot of traction in almost no wind.

 

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the minimum wind speed needed for kitesurfing

How much wind is needed to learn Kitesurfing?

Another question that is often asked is about the wind speed needed to learn to kitesurf. Before we get to that, let’s look at an example… Let’s say that you have never driven a car in your life, and all of a sudden, you have decided to drive a Formula 1 racing car. We all know what will be the outcome of this decision!

Similarly, when you want to learn to kitesurf, a light wind is preferred as compared to strong wind. Experts believe that a wind speed of around 6 – 12 knots is best for learning kitesurfing in a safe environment.

Since you will be learning these extreme sports for the first time, it means that it will be your first contact with the kite bar, kite, and all the other gear. As a learner, you will have to learn how to handle a kite to change direction or even to move ahead… All of this requires light wind so that you can practice without putting yourself or even others in danger.

On the other hand, a stronger wind will make it difficult for you to learn kite handling and could even lead you to danger.

A general rule of thumb is that as the wind speed increases, the difficulty of controlling the kite also increases as well.

 

Another important factor is the buoyancy of the board. Large boards have more buoyancy, so they allow kitesurfing in less wind. With a large  board (160 cm) or a surfboard you can navigate with approximately 5 knots less wind than with a small twintip board 

Important Factors needed for Kitesurfing

Besides wind speed, there are also other important factors that are needed for kitesurfing. Let’s take a look:

 

Wind Quality

When we talk about wind speed, we also have to talk about wind quality as well. In general, you would want a stable wind to be able to kitesurf easily. On the other hand, gusty or strong winds can make it difficult for beginners to kitesurf and can even get dangerous.

So if you want to learn this sport or have just learned it recently, then it means that you should pick a spot with stable winds and avoid strong winds.

 

Wind Direction

Once you are surfing on the water, the thing which can make your kitesurfing experience good or worse is the wind direction. When kitesurfing, you need to focus on only riding side-on-shore or side-shore winds. For many people, it can be a bit tricky to find the side on-shore wind – To make it easy for you, these winds blow at a 45° angle and goes towards the shore.

Now that we know which wind direction is good let’s also talk about the wind direction you need to avoid…? The winds, which are classified as direct onshore can be dangerous since they can thrust the kitesurfer towards the shore which leads to accidents or even injury.

However, experts can ride the direct onshore winds, but that’s not to say that it is without risks! So if you are a beginner, just keep in mind to avoid the direct onshore winds at all costs!

Another wind direction that should be avoided is offshore winds. As the name implies, these winds will take you deep into the sea – At the moment, it might sound fun that you are leaving the shore behind and are just kiting with true freedom. But when it comes to getting back, it can get difficult, and the only option is to swim back! So yeah, avoid the offshore winds as well since they can take you deep into the sea!

 

Wave Quality

The next important factor is the wave quality which can differ depending on the experience of the kiter. In general, beginner kitesurfers should only go out in flat water or around 1-2 feet waves if they have little experience. Anything bigger than this is only reserved for the moderate and expert kiters who know how to handle the waves.

When big waves combine with strong winds, it can lead to a deadly combination for learners and beginners.

 

 

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anemometer measures the wind for kitesurfing

Conditions to Avoid During Kitesurfing

So far, we have learned what type of wind conditions are perfect for kitesurfing… Now, let’s talk about what type of conditions to avoid when you are kitesurfing on the water!

In general, turbulent water, bad weather conditions, and wrong wind direction increase the chances of accidents and should be avoided. And when we get a combination of all of these factors, it becomes a big no-no to go out to the sea!

The next thing to avoid is wind speed that is too low or high – This can make it difficult for one to properly handle the kite on the sea. I mean that the last thing you would need is to travel a little distance into the sea only to witness no wind all of a sudden. This means that you will have to swim back to the shore while also carrying your kites with you!

Another thing to avoid is a thunderstorm, and the best way to avoid it is to regularly check the local weather forecasts. Despite the size or the scale of the thunderstorm, they should be avoided at all costs.

Furthermore, you should also avoid the kitesurfing spots which are overcrowded or where a lot of new kitesurfers are present. In general, new kitesurfers usually carry a bad rep as they can cause a lot of accidents with their kite line, hooks, and kites. So the easiest way to avoid any injury arising from collision with other kiters is to simply avoid the overcrowded spots.

Last but not least, another thing that should be avoided is cold water. When it comes to kitesurfing or even learning this sport, one has to spend a lot of time on the water. However, cold water can make it difficult to spend extended periods of time in the sea, and if the water temperature is below 60F, it can even lead to hypothermia within 15-20 minutes.

 

 

Conclusion

Kitesurfing without wind is like saying that I am going to swim without water! Kitesurfing the wind speed go hand in hand, which is why it is such a heated topic among kitesurfers.

So whenever you look at a potential kitesurfing spot, you always have to check the wind speed! Ideally, you would want the minimum wind speed of at least 12-15 knots to be able to kitesurf without any problem. Furthermore, the season or the month you are going for kitesurfing is also really important.

There are a lot of spots that only get winds during specific months. So to make the best out of your vacation, it would be best to check the wind speed during that specific month. The last thing you would want is to experience no-wind days which means you can’t even kitesurf or perform any other wind sports.

And just like there is a minimum threshold for the wind speed, you wouldn’t want to go into the sea when the wind is too strong. A wind that is too strong can crash your kite, make you collide with other kites, or even take you far into the sea!

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