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.
- 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.