Many of our students at GoKite Cabarete often want to understand the weather conditions that make for ideal kiting conditions on Kite Beach. Many of the locals joke about becoming ‘kite snobs’, only kiting in the most ideal conditions, but luckily for us those occur often here on Kite Beach. If you are only visiting us for a week or two, you may not get to be so choosey, so here is what you need to know to read the weather and get out kiting as often as possible.
When looking to book your trip to Cabarete, it is best to book as close to your departure date as possible so that you can see the weather forecast in advance. On our website we offer wind readings and current conditions, so visit often so that you can better understand what is going on weather wise and when the best time will be to visit us.
The most important things to look for are:
1) wind direction
2) wind speed
3) cloud cover
4) wind consistency
Ideally, the wind will be blowing side onshore. The wind blows easterly, which gives Cabarete perfect side-onshore kiting conditions most of the time. This means that you will be easily pushed downwind, but coming back upwind will not be too challenging. Winds that blow offshore can be dangerous for beginners as you may be pushed out to sea, and wind from the west can push you too close to the rocks and reef at the far end of the bay. We always consider your safety in picking your lesson conditions.
The trade winds with thermals here in Cabarete make for strong and consistent winds for a large portion of the year. By 11 a.m. in peak seasons the wind is usually good for beginners, blowing 10-13 knots. With this much wind we are able to accomplish the first few steps of your lessons on the beach, learning all about kite control. At around 12:30 – 1:30 the thermals kick in and make the wind a lot stronger reaching its strongest at about 4PM. You’ll need between 15-18 knots of wind to begin body dragging, and learning how to water start on your board.
It all comes down to our geography. Kite Beach has a beautiful shallow bay, and the beach is adjacent to El Choco National Park which houses a large lagoon and jungle mountain range. Generally in the morning there is little to no wind. As the land heats up by midday however, the cool air from the ocean is pushed inland to fill this air pocket over the lagoon, is warmed by the land and then circulates back to the ocean as the mountains block the air from moving further inland. Clear skies are important to allow these thermal air conditions to happen. If there is a lot of cloud cover over the ocean the clouds will trap the warm air so the wind cannot circulate as it needs to for ideal conditions. In kite beach, if you see hazy clouds off in the distance it will not affect your kiting, but watch for cumulonimbus clouds moving in from the mountains behind you, as this could mean a storm is coming and winds could become much stronger quite quickly or drop off completely.
The weather phenomenon of easterly trade winds and clear sunny days creates the consistent conditions we have come to expect here. Consistent wind is important for learning as you will be better able to predict wind speed and direction. Gusty winds can be dangerous for beginners as you may have your kite blown up unpredictably and may not be able to react quickly enough, causing your kite to crash.
We understand it can be frustrating when you see the wind is blowing but your instructor says it is not good conditions for learning. We want you to know that it is because we have your safety in mind and want you to learn quickly and easily, and unpredictable winds can hinder this process. We always consider these 4 factors in planning your lesson days and times, so when all 4 are met and conditions are perfect, get out as often as you can to enjoy them!
Summertime usually needs less urgency in your planning, as we experience ideal conditions on most days throughout June and July. Here on the North Shore of the Dominican Republic as with the rest of the Caribbean, most of our weather systems are brought to us from the Atlantic Ocean, with weather systems forming in the Bermuda Triangle off the coast of Florida. In the summertime, large storm conditions, which tend to suck wind away from our coast, are not as common, and the trade winds are strong enough to low pressure systems up towards the Florida coastline. You can learn more by studying the satellite images by clicking the button below:
NOAA Animated Satellite Map (pop-up)
We hope you find this information helpful as you become a more experienced kiter. Like any other outdoor sport, it is important to understand the natural environment around you to fully enjoy the sport. As you learn about ideal kiting conditions, you’ll become even more appreciative about the natural phenomenons that power you across the water, and the special place that Kite Beach is for learning this incredible water sport. If you have any more questions feel free to contact us. And if you haven’t already, book your trip for this summer to experience all that Cabarete can offer you!