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The wind is the most crucial element at play when it comes to kitesurfing, but when you’re starting out in the sport it’s hard to know how much you really need to get going.
Without the right amount of wind, you won’t be going anywhere with your kite, and a windless day is something that most kiters dread.
So, what is the minimum speed needed to kitesurf successfully?
Although the answer depends on a number of factors like your own weight and the size of the wing of your kite, wind speeds should be around 6mph minimum to get in the air.
The magic number for flying a kite is between 5.7-8 mph of wind, which equates to around 5 to 7 knots, but keep in mind this will have to be higher if you’re going to attempt a relaunch on the water.
There are many things to consider when it comes to the wind and the success of your kiting session, and it’s a fundamental part of mastering this sport.
You’ll need to know about speeds, wind conditions and directions, and how to use all of these to your advantage to ensure you get your kite in the air with enough power to keep you moving.
How Fast Can a Kiteboard Go?
A kiteboarder’s speed will depend on a number of factors, including the current wind conditions and their own personal skill when handling the kite.
Generally speaking, the average kiteboarder rides at speeds between 15 to 25 mph, and this number is slightly lower for those who aren’t as skilled just yet.
An experienced kiteboarder will sometimes be able to double the speeds of the wind and achieve their own speeds of up to 40mph, however, conditions need to be exact for this to happen.
They’ll also need to have the right size board and kite to suit their physical requirements and one that matches the current conditions.
Expert kiteboarders and racers are capable of hitting speeds between 50 – 60mph when the wind and water conditions are right.
Generally, the faster a kiteboard is going, the more dangerous it is, so these speeds should only ever be attempted by professional kiters.
3 of the Best Wind Apps for Kitesurfing
There are ways to determine the current wind direction before you get out onto the water, but these days taking the digital approach is far easier.
Smartphone apps have been designed for kitesurfers that can show them detailed information on wind conditions that will help them have a successful ride, but some work better in certain locations than others.
- Windfiner Pro: Anyone who regularly goes onto the water, whether it’s to windsurf, sail, or swim, will appreciate this app. It delivers detailed wind and weather forecasts and helps you find exact locations with the best waves and wind to kitesurf in.
- Windy: This app lets you communicate with other kiters to find the best local spots that day, see user reports on specific areas, and shows detailed forecasts of wind, surf, weather, and tides.
- WindGuru: This app is based on the website of the same name and gives detailed reports based on location for wind and weather conditions. You can search on a map to find the closest spots to kiteboard and gives a rating based on how good the area will be to kite on that day.
Many experienced kiteboarders rely on more than one app to give them their detailed information about current conditions.
This ensures balanced information and a way to confirm that the conditions being reported are correct.
Kite Size vs Wind Speed: Why Does it Matter?
Some kiters have more than one kite in their collection to suit the different wind speeds and conditions that they might experience, although it isn?t always needed.
If you only own one kite, being able to read the wind and know when it’s increased or decreased enough for you to get your kite in the air is a skill that most riders should have.
A kite’s size is determined by how large it is when it’s laying flat and they usually range between 3 – 19 meters depending on their style.
The size of your kite will have a large impact on how well it’s able to handle different strengths of wind gusts, and larger kites will be able to get more power than smaller ones at the same speed.
Being out in powerful winds with a large kite can be a recipe for disaster, which is why you don’t always want to use one so big.
By the same token though, having a large kite in slow winds will usually result in not being able to get it off the ground, so it’s a balancing act that kiters have to master.
What is the Best Wind Direction for Kitesurfing?
Learning the different wind directions and how they can affect your performance is an essential part of this sport.
For experienced riders, onshore is the best direction to follow and will give you enough space and force to get out into the open water.
You’ll be able to travel upwind to go into the water and then ride against the wind without being pulled back to the shore before you’re ready.
What is the Best Wind Speed for Learning How to Kitesurf?
When you’re learning how to kitesurf, you’ll only start out with a small or trainer kite that’s not yet attached to a board.
You can practice on the beach to experience the same conditions and get used to how these kites should be handled.
For this purpose, aim for wind speeds of between 7-20 knots until you become confident in your skills.
Once you’ve built up your hours and are ready for the water, practicing in conditions between 10 to 30 knots is all that you need.
You’ll need to make sure the gear you have matches those conditions and that the current gusts of wind aren’t stronger than 8 mph, otherwise they will be hard to navigate.
The wind is the most significant element of kitesurfing and something that every kiter must understand to be any good at the sport.
These are some frequently asked questions regarding kiteboarding and wind that can give you a basic understanding of why it’s so important to master.
What Size Kite Should I Use?
Your weight is the key factor when deciding on a kite, and manufacturer’s have specific models made for each weight range.
The average wind conditions of where you ride will also have to be considered, and with both of these, you can calculate the ideal choice.
What’s the Lowest Wind Speed You Can Kitesurf In?
Depending on the size of your kite, the lowest speed you’ll be able to get it into the air is around 5 knots.
However, this would require a large board, large kite, and large lines to successfully get enough power to propel yourself and experience extreme light wind kitesurfing.
These low speeds are generally only possible with experienced riders without enough skill to get their kite in the air.