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