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How to use Windguru for Tarifa like a local

You are planning your next kitesurfing trip and the first thing you open is WINDGURU or WINDFINDER to have a look how the wind conditions are going to be. Well, that’s good idea. But then you arrive at the spot and you get the feeling that the wind doesn’t mach the forecast.

Or you just keep thinking about cancelling your vacation because Windguru shows NO WIND all the week? That may be not truth!

To help you to get the most accurate information out of WINDGURU for your trip to Tarifa, we collected a few MUST-TO-KNOW from the local riders and  are sharing them with you!

Here is the list:

  1. Make sure you know what you are looking for
  2. Don´t look more than 2 days in advance
  3. Use the 3 km or 9 km forecast
  4. Read the numbers
  5. Don´t forget to check the webcams
  6. Finally: Know which spot works the best for the predicted conditions

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

Well, most people open Windguru and simply look for the colours, stars and numbers on the first sheet. It says red, 3 stars, 25 knots? Nice! Wind should be good for a 9 no? Let´s go to the beach! Damn, there are so many waves here, how am I supposed to ride that? I was looking for a flat water conditions to train that double S-bend surface pass.

That is exactly what will happen when you’ll come to Tarifa. So first of all, make sure you know, in what conditions you want to ride, what conditions you are able to ride and what you definitely DON’T want to ride. Fancy flatwater? Or a nice decent wave? Are you a beginner? There will be the right conditions for you – when you know what to look for.

DON´T LOOK MORE THAN 2 DAYS IN ADVANCE

Just don´t. The wind is as unpredictable as the normal weather forecast. Get up, open your laptop, check Windguru for the current day. Close your laptop. Open your window. Have a look outside. Might be the real world that tells you if there is wind. Just try it!

USE THE 3KM or 9KM PREDICTION

Windguru, wind forecast, check the wind

details how to read Windguru

Thing is, the first sheet you are looking at is a rough combination for the zone around Tarifa of all the information WINDGURU gets. You will get way more accurate information from the two sheets below that include the forecast for the 3km and 9km radius around Tarifa. Trust the 9km forecast the most. Just saying.

WHAT THE COLOURS AND NUMBERS TELL YOU

Now we get to the really interesting point. How to actually read WINDGURU for Tarifa?

The table below explains the kite conditions depending on the knots – but this of course also dependis on how gusty the wind is. The difference between the wind speed and the wind gusts show you how gusty the wind conditions will be. Higher difference means more gusty wind. The more gusty it is, the harder it is to kite. Vale?

BFT KNOTS WIND KITE CONDITIONS
0 <1 Calm better play volleyball
1 01-03 Light air sunbathing
2 04-06 Light breeze not possible
3 07-10 Gentle breeze beach based flying
4 11-16 Moderate breeze good to learn, waterstart possible
5 17-21 Fresh breeze perfect kite conditions
6 22-27 Strong breeze perfect kite conditions
7 28-33 Near gale strong kite conditions
8 34-40 Gale still possible to kite
9 41-47 Severe gale we still kite in Tarifa
10 48-55 Storm just recommended for experienced kiters
11 56-63 Violent storm better to watch the windsurfers in Tarifa
 12 >64 Hurricane it happens, most of the people stay at home

WIND DIRECTIONS: NAMES AND EFFECTS

Monument wind direction in Tarifa

North: Tramontana :: very rare, very cold, appears especially in spring times.

North-East: Gregal :: here everybody calls it Levante,down pressure in mediterranean and high pressure over the azores, gusty as it passes though mountains.

In Tarifa the north east is normally mixed with north, pure north east appears just a few times a year and is very stable, people think it is south east. (sounds crazy, i know)

East: Levante :: always cloudy, usually very strong, strong east swell from the mediterranean sea.

South-East: Siroco :: never more than 12 knots, very rare in Tarifa. Appears usually in autumn.

South: Mediodia :: very rare wind, usually appears between the switch of south west to east. Duration of maximum 48 hours.

South-West: Lebache :: stormy wind which brings rain.

West: Poniente :: rare wind, beautiful dark blue waters, clear skies.

North-West: Mistral :: people in Tarifa call it Poniente, cleaning anticyclonic wind, sky cleaner. North west and south west winds have in Tarifa just 5 degrees of difference cause of the complexity of Tarifa’s coast line, that’s why the crowd like’s to mis use the definitions.

 

Local thermic winds:

On really hot days the mountains of Andalusia can create thermic effects, even if there is no wind expected at all.

The air over the mountains heats up faster than over the sea, it rises and creates an vacuum which leads to onshore wind conditions. So make sure that you go out to Valdevaqueros or Punta Paloma on a hot day – or you might miss a lot of fun!

Regarding the waves:

You will find the best waves in and around Tarifa after a day of really bad weather. Still – you can always check Windguru for the height of the waves as well as the period of a swell. If you prefer it more exact you can check Magicseaweed .

The best is to check with the local surfers as forecasting a swell is another science itself. Feel free to contact us for a swell forecast.

For the real weather geeks out there, have a look on the tide and moon phases, as well as a coefficient that will tell you more about how high the water will come. Few times a year on spring tide the water comes wide over the beach and it forms a lagoon which goes all over the city beach. This could be a great opportunity for freestylers.

Tides and Coefficients

Check out tides and coefficients

There is also a small permanent lagoon between the main kite beach and the town. It’s a beautiful BUT forbidden as it’s a bird nesting place. Please respect this rule and choose the open sea to kite.

DON´T FORGET TO CHECK THE WEBCAMS

Great, now you know how to find and understand what the conditions will be. To make sure that your information is right, there is quite good way, BEFORE packing material and head down to the beach. Simply CHECK THE WEBCAMS! Other people may be riding already, so you can have a look how are the water conditions and how many people occupy the spot already!

Webcam Valdevaqueros

Webcam Valdevaqueros

Webcam Valdevaqueros

 

Webcam Los Lances

Webcam Los Lances

Webcam Los Lances

KNOW WHICH SPOT WORKS THE BEST UNDER WHICH CONDITIONS

Probably the most important part. As stated above, going out to try unhooked tricks at 15knots Poniente at Balneario will probably get you quite frustrated after a bit. So to make sure to choose the best spot under the predicted conditions.

Outside of the season, from 15.09.-15.06. you can find around 15 spots in 40km around Tarifa. There are all different kinds of conditions waiting for you, flat water, waves, deep water or shallow places. Make sure you don’t miss out!

CONCLUSION

So if you want to come to Tarifa and to get the most out of your kitesurfing holidays, be sure that you understand the weather forecasts and know where to go. Especially if you are a beginner it might be not so easy.

If you are coming to Tarifa for the first time you might miss a super nice kite session, just because you didn’t know that your dream spot exists! Our advice is simple, instead of missing it feel free to contact us and we’ll make sure that you’ll get the best wind conditions during your stay in Tarifa!

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