When will a southerly wind hit Sydney?

We know the southerly wind it’s coming… But When??

[mks_dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]S[/mks_dropcap]outherly winds are awesome! Whilst away down the coast the other day I had a message from a friend asking when I thought the Southerly wind will actually hit Sydney.

We love a good southerly wind for kitesurfing / windsurfing, they are always reliable, strong, usually pretty consistent and can hang about for the whole day or even longer. The best part however is that when one is forecast there is a 99% chance of it turning up (unlike a seabreeze on the Northern Beaches!) The only issue is when.. The forecast models and seabreeze can be a bit out sometimes, we went through a trend a while back of them turning up 3 or 4 hours ahead of schedule but recently they have been pretty close. But how can when that southerly wind will really hit and how strong will it be?

Thankfully the wonderful website seabreeze has the answers we need and the BOM has provided us with the perfect resource.. Wind meters all the way up the east coast! Now when a southerly hits the Sydney region it rattles through pretty quick, so if we need a little more time to finish our latte’s or get away from the wife we need more warning! Bring on the Illawarra charts..

Located an hour or so south of Sydney is the Illawarra coast, it’s pretty much dead south of us (further south can work also to some extent). If we know a southerly wind is forecast we can use the charts south to (say Kiama or Point Perpendicular) to watch for the southerly wind change. This tells us it’s ON IT’S WAY.. but how long??

Let’s look at an example for today (Thursday 5th March 2015), here is the chart for Kiama. Perfectly you can see the southerly wind change hit almost exactly at 12pm. This is perfect for us to work out time lag.southerly wind at kiamama

Now lets look at the chart for Sydney Airport

souther'y wind change at the airportand now lets see the important Northern Beaches

north head southerly windI’ve made it pretty simple by writing the times the change hit on the graphs. I’ve never honestly done the real math of trying to work it out, and it will always depend on how strong the wind is. As a rule of thumb I’ve always said from Point Perpendicular to Long Reef is about 2 hours (that was the 2hrs I sent you Alex ;) ) and it looks like I might be about spot on. We can see the wind change at Kiama at 12pm, the airport change at 1.09pm and then North Head go at 1.30pm.

So, if you were bunking off work today and were on the ball you would have been at Longy pumping up at about 1.30pm and you’ll be down on the beach right when it hits. That is called maximizing your water time! Yewww.. That’s about it. This approach doesn’t work for seabreezes but will work for frontal winds from the North too.

The other big benefit of taking a look further afield is we can see how strong the initial front is – sometimes we see a 40-45knot gust ahead of 25knots of good wind – and we can also see how long it’s going to last, it could just be a brief wind change under a big dark cloud for example or it could be a 3day gang banger of southerly! Or if’s going to swing offshore… Looking down south lets us know all this. :) Happy dayz..

As always, post your views and comments in the comments below if you know this works elsewhere, if you find this useful please share on facebook and with your friends.

 

Kitesurfing in Sydney & Australia

Are you flying to Sydney and looking to do some kitesurfing? Are you just learning to kitesurf and don’t know where to start?

Kitesurfing in Sydney has it’s restrictions! We have all the information you need to know and are local in Sydney so have real first hand experience of all the best locations for any ability and the local weather conditions and restrictions you should know about.

If you are about to fly or have already landed in Australia there are lots of resources available to you for information. you should start your research over at www.aksa.com.au (Kiteboarding Australia) and if you are in New South Wales then you need to look at www.nswkba.com.au. If you are here for a long period you should consider getting 3rd party insurance via either of those websites. NSWKBA has great maps and google map resources for locations and restrictions. Please take the time to look around the maps to see the restrictions near you. Sydney Harbor and Bondi are pretty much out of bounds in Sydney, you may see a few locals kiting at these spots occasionally but please don’t be tempted to follow them, they are breaking the rules.

You next resource will be www.seabreeze.com.au. This website is a huge resource and has a good forum full of opinions about the best kite or board, beware of the internet troll and keyboard warrior in the forums! There is however lots of useful information buried away and the rest of the site has very valuable resources like live wind charts for pretty much the whole country, swell and tide information, second hand gear for sale and a place that you can sell your gear. Seabreeze will become your daily habit checking the wind graphs!

A lot of the best locations in Australia are out in the open sea, this can be daunting to many people who are only used to flat water or have just started out kitesurfing. Australia has waves! They will always be here, you can either embrace them or avoid them, thankfully there are lots of resources available on the web to see how big the waves will be before you decide to get to the beach along with live surf cameras that help you see what is going on live. There are many, too many to list but the ones we use are www.surfit.com, www.coastalwatch.com.au, www.willyweather.com.au,

Another fantastic weather and conditions resource in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology  www.bom.gov.au. This is the source for a lot of the data used by other sites. The rain radar is very useful along with the ocean conditions charts. There is a lot of info here so take some time to look around.

Getting to know your local kite shop is also a great way to get information and meet people, kiters love hanging about the shop before the wind picks up so get to know them and ask about where you are going, maybe one of them will take you to the ‘secret’ spot the locals go to :) Google search will be your friend here..

As a last stop, take the time to look about on our site and email us any questions you may have. Remember to sign up for our newsletter using the sign up on the right side of the page to get all our website updates to your inbox.

Remember, kitesurfing can be dangerous for both yourself and others on the beach and water. Tale care and don’t do anything silly.

Review : A key lock with a difference – The Tow Hitch lock

Hi All,

Just before xmas I was fortunate enough to be given a demo of a new surf key lock that looked really interesting. I’ve been using surf locks for a while now to keep the old van keys safe whilst out on the water (or anywhere else I happen to be) and I’ve had numerous failings and mishaps with it. My previous lock was a standard lock on a hook type affair and the failings I’ve had have fallen into the following categories:

  • Forgetting the code (not an issue of the lock more me) but this resulted in me driving about with it hanging from the back of my car for a week with the key in it until i either cut it off or remembered the code – thankfully i remembered it after calling the manufacturer and was ready with the angle grinder!
  • Putting my key in it and leaving it in the van BEFORE closing the boot. (Thankfully all kite gear was on the outside!)
  • Having it seize up with the key inside and using rocks to bash it open.
  • This lock now sits in the back of the van with an ‘unknown’ combination after i accidentally flipped the toggle and set a random code. I’ve tried about 4000+ codes through it before thumb cramp set in completely and I got bored.

So, I get this lovely new one that looks the goods! It hides covertly in the larger style tow hitch of the van and is aways ready to be used, I can’t lock it in the back, it won’t dangle, I don’t have to dig about for it and take it on and off so it’s one less thing to muck about with and that means MORE time in the water :)

20150104_073132

Installation was pretty straight forward, it seems there are 2 slightly different types of hitch here in Aus and the fit20141223_165333 was a little too snug for my liking so I hit the corners with a file to give it a little more room to slide in, once adjusted it was easy fit and shouldn’t get stuck. The locking mechanism is really clever, there is no way to remove the 2 locking pins that hold it in the hitch without opening it. It literally takes 30 seconds to get in and out if you need to. Construction seems solid and premium, this is good as there is a chance it’ll get backed into a wall at some stage. The cover that ‘hides & protects’ it hasn’t fallen off yet and clips on very securely. There is even a bunch of differing thickness foam things that you can use to stop the lock rattling about in your hitch so it looks pretty slick when fitted.

20150104_073124For a decent review of this product I decided to use my xmas surf trip of randomness up the coast to really test it out. We had sun, rain, wind, dust & dirt with both sea and inland conditions and this lock was brilliant with a van full of gear! First thing I noticed is I wasn’t digging about in a bucket of old wet wetsuits to look for the lock, it’s always there, no kneeling under the car to hook it onto something. Simply pop the cover off, dial in the combo, hit the catch and the drawer slides out.

20150104_073203It’s easily big enough for my VW zapper key, you can even get a credit card in it or 2! Pop the cover back on and its done.. you are ready to head out. I mentioned to the surf buddy whilst out in the water that it was probably a good idea they know the combo and they managed to suss it out without ever showing them how to use it so it gets the thumbs up there!

20150104_073146The drawer never once had water in it (my old lock would leak) and there is no dust in it despite doing about 40kms on dusty dirt roads over the trip, it hasn’t stuck, jammed, fallen out or failed in any way. You can see how dirty the tow hitch is.

All in all this thing is staying on my van! It’s brilliant and if you are in the market for a GOOD surf lock, have a big square hitch on the back of the car / van / truck / boat / combine harvester then I can’t recommend this more.

If however you don’t have a hitch to fit this into I also have a demo unit of their sister key lock product that is an upgrade of the standard combination lock with a push button code which means you can use it in the dark. I’ll be testing this puppy out over the next few weeks also and be writing a review of it also.

For details on where to get this product head over to http://www.dragonkeysafe.com.au. I’ve managed to negotiate a special kitesurfing.com.au deal that means if you contact dragonkeysafe@gmail.com and say that you’ve read our review and got the details from here they will throw in a FREE MobiSafe  lock with it. That’s pretty good of them!!

Here are some promo shots from the website and a picture of the free MobiSafe lock you can use to lock a phone and cards away in a bag whilst out and about or travelling.

 

Thanks to Jen from Dragonkeysafe up on the Goldy, can I keep it please please please… :)

 

Gnaraloo.

Ian and the crew are hanging in Gnaraloo today after another successful leg of the SoldierOn mission from Perth to NW Cape. Some extraordinarily generous donors have kicked in some big dollars to the campaign, which has now exceeded its campaign goal of $10,000 by a few thousand. But don’t let that slow down the donations. Any amount that you can afford to help out our Australian soldiers who’ve suffered as a result of service to their country is welcome.

https://soldieron.giveeasy.org/campaigns/kitesurfing-perth-to-the-north-west-cape/

 

15 November 2014 Ian Young Mission Update

Just spoke with him on the satellite phone about an hour ago. He made it from Carnarvon to Blowholes y’day. Wind at Blowholes had just swung south and started to pick up. Looks like he’s launched the kite and just left the beach at 1207. Forecast is calling 10-15 knots from South initially, turing SW then increasing to 15-20 later, so Ian’s on the 10m Flysurfer today. Today’s target is the Gnaraloo/Toombstones region if all goes to plan, which is about 75km in point-to-point distance. Next possible stopping point is Coral Bay, which is another 90 km beyond Gnaraloo, so suspect he’ll tackle that bit on on another day.

Ian made the news on GWN7 last night. Here’s the clip:

https://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/video/-/watch/25520767/epic-kite-surfing-journey-almost-complete/

Blowholes
Blowholes
75 km from Blowholes to Toombstones
75 km from Blowholes to Toombstones

Ian Young, Perth to Exmouth Downwinder — Wednesday update

Wednesday night mission update:

Haven’t heard from the boys since about 1:30 this afternoon when the GPS tracker checked in just south of the Hamlin Pools turnoff on NW Coastal Highway.

Given the weather conditions (30+knot Sou’easters and 4m swell) the plan was to drive to Steep Point and assess whether it was feasible to safely restart the journey from there, so I suspect they’ll be camped there tonight and check in tomorrow morning.

A few of Kat’s photos from yesterday as Ian was pushing off from Drummond Cove:

Photo Katarina Smelikova 2014

Photo Katarina Smelikova 2014

Photo Katarina Smelikova 2014

Photo Katarina Smelikova 2014

Photo Katarina Smelikova 2014
Photos: Katarina Smelikova 2014

IAN YOUNG 1,300+ KM WESTERN AUSTRALIA DOWNWINDER — MISSION UNDERWAY!

Kitesurfer Ian Young has left Perth Western Australia today on an epic downwinder of more than 1,300km — From Perth to Exmouth in Western Australia, across some of the most inhospitable and inaccessible coastline in the world.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/25453081/epic-surf-aimed-at-brothers-in-arms/

Ian Young

IanYoung_Path

You can follow Ian’s progress in real time at  http://nano.sjy.id.au

Here’s  information from Ian and his team in Perth:

Ian Young is a veteran of more than 22 years service in the Australian Army and has set himself a personal goal of kitesurfing from Perth to the North-West Cape, more than 1300km.

There are many veterans who suffer a variety of health issues and we would like to use this adventure  to increase the awareness of these problems.

Many of us suffer from “donor fatigue” these days with so many “good” causes that need to be tackled, however can I please ask you to consider donating to help those veterans who put their lives on the line to serve their country and now need your help.  Once you have donated you will receive a tax receipt straight away to your email address. All donations made from this link will go straight to Soldier On.

So, please help me help Soldier On by giving what you can to this great cause. https://soldieron.giveeasy.org/campaigns/kitesurfing-perth-to-the-north-west-cape/

You can also “share” my page with your friends or leave a comment or “like it”. It all helps!

https://www.facebook.com/iay60?fref=ts

We plan to connect with Ian as he approaches Geraldton in the next few days and ride with him on at least part of the journey–hopefully on Saturday — Contact me if you’re interested in joining us!  

More information about Ian and the project:

Thanks for the opportunity to help raise awareness of the good work http://Soldieron.org.au do to help service men and women that are suffering as a result of their duty for their country.

Some of the background links you might find useful:

Wish Ian well for a safe and successful journey!

Ian Young

 

UPDATE:

Ian leaving Perth on Friday morning (below)

IanLeavingPerth

http://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Kitesurfing/General/kitesurfing-from-Perth-to-the-North-West-Cape/

Kitesurfing Waterproof GPS Watch Review: Garmin Forerunner 220

 

by Jono Woodhouse

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Product

Garmin Forerunner 220 with (optional) Heart Rate Monitor

Colour: Comes in a manly red or cute girly purple.

Garmin-Forerunner-220-Running-GPS-Watch-BC.jpg

Cost

Garmin 220 Forerunner and Heart Rate monitor: Approximately AUD 255 to AUD 265 (see details below)

Review

As a keen kitesurfer I’ve been on the lookout for an affordable waterproof GPS Watch for a while. The big challenge is that most of the affordable GPS Watches that have become available in the last 5 years are only “water resistant”. Which just isn’t good enough for kitesurfing. However Garmin have now introduced two GPS watches that are finally waterproof and aren’t going to cost you an arm and leg.

Enter the Garmin Forerunner 220!!

I’m a kitesurfing fanatic, but I also enjoy running, cycling and swimming, so you’ll see some comments in the review about this too.
HR2.jpg

Pros

  • Waterproof to 50m !! I take the Forerunner 220 into the sea on a regular basis. Kitesurfing and ocean swimming, and I’ve not had any problems with water leaks. They suggest you don’t press the buttons while actually underwater. And I find the buttons can get a bit salted up, but a quick clean in fresh water and it’s back to normal. You can shower with it too. It sounds like the Heart Rate (HR) monitor is waterproof too, but I haven’t taken that into the sea yet.
  • Kitesurfing. Fantastic for recording kitesurfing sessions. For example you can:
  • record the distance that you kited
  • record downwinders kite trips.
  • see how far out you go to sea
  • see the angles you ride upwind and downwind
  • record your speed, distance, time etc.
  • and impress your mates (upload your activities to Strava.com)
  • Battery life: Garmin estimate the battery life to be:
  • 10 hours battery with the GPS on. I’ve not tested this. But gauging on the battery percentage after long sessions – it’s probably not far from the truth.
  • 1 month of battery life in watch (only) mode. Again not tested, as I’ve never gone a month without using the GPS
  • What you can display on the screen. There are actually there are 5 screens that you can scroll through (by pressing the up/down arrows)
  • The first 2 screens are fully customisable. You can view 3 data fields on each screen. For example I use:
  • Screen 1: Distance, average speed, time
  • Screen 2 Lap distance, lap speed and current speed

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  • Heart Rate is another screen (if you use the HR monitor) – which shows you current heart rate (in beats per minute) and your HR Zone (you can setup 5 heart rate zones which correspond to your heart rate levels)
    HR.jpg
  • Clock is another screen
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  • Also if you configure your own “workouts” – you get one more screen which tells you your average speed for the workout and an indication of your progress in the current lap you are working on. e.g. Distance covered, or time left etc.
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  • And if you set up a “work out” or turn on auto lap (where for example every 1km is a lap), you get apace notification every lap too, which tells you the lap number and your average speed for that lap. This notification screen pops up for about 5 seconds at the end of every lap. This is quite useful when kiting (and running) as it beeps and vibrates after each kilometer and shows you your speed for the last 1km.
  • The display is very visible in low light, and also in bright sun.
  • Looks good enough to wear as a watch, all the time. Unless you are into fancy fashion watches… :)
  • It’s designed by Garmin as a Running GPS Watch.
  • And it’s really good at this.
  • Provides measurement and analysis for running training and racing.

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  • Has accelerometer for times when GPS signal is poor (for example when running through the city behind tall buildings). I’ve had varying degrees of success with this. Sometimes it’s great, other times it’s pretty bad.
  • Fast GPS turn on time
  • If you’ve synced your GPS Watch with a PC within the last week the turn GPS time is typically 10 to 15 seconds. (It achieves this by loading a week’s worth of data about the positions of the GPS satellites onto the watch)
  • Otherwise, it typically takes about a minute to acquire the lock, which is still pretty good. You can also start your session before it’s acquired the lock, and it will start recording as soon as it can.
  • Accurate GPS recordings. Better than the older GPS watches and mobile phones.

Cons

  • From a kitesurfing perspective: the biggest missing feature is a Show My Current GPS Location (eg for emergency sea rescue). I’ve submitted this idea to Garmin – and it would also be useful for Mountain Bikers and Trail Runners.
  • From a running perspective: 4 fields on screen would be better (and this is available in the Forerunner 620)
  • From a cycling perspective: Not great. While it can record your bike rides, it’s not really designed for cycling. By default the speeds are in minutes per km (this can be changed in the settings – but it’s a mission to do quickly) And to be fair this is not really multi sport GPS Watch. Garmin have other watches for that.
  • From an ocean swimming perspective: Because your hands spends most of the time under water – the GPS really struggles with accuracy during an ocean swims. You can still see where you’ve swum (when you upload to a map), but the route is pretty jagged and the distances are often considerably out. For example a 1.4km ocean swim often records as about 2.5km. This is true of all GPS devices – and if you google it – the work around is to put the watch into the back of your swim cap (which I’m too scared to do in the surf) or pull a small float behind you.
  • The Bluetooth is version 4.0 (BLE) which very few mobile devices support. So I upload using their custom USB cable direct to Strava on my PC. I’m also not aware of a way to use the custom USB cable and a tablet, which would be handy too.
  • Only one charging/syncing cable. Two would be better. One at work and one at home.

Conclusion

I’m very happy with Garmin Forerunner 220 and highly recommend it. It’s fully waterproof and works amazingly well for kitesurfing and running.

(GPS kiting session uploaded to Strava)

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Where to Buy

I bought one from DWI Digital Cameras with the Heart Rate monitor (which also included free shipping to Australia from Hong Kong – arrived within 10 days) $265 – $275

http://www.dwidigitalcameras.com.au/astore/Garmin-Forerunner-220-GPS-Watches-with-Premium-Heart-Rate-Monitor.aspx

And I found a $10 off discount here:

http://www.retailmenot.com/view/dwidigitalcameras.com.au?c=5526908

Further Reading

 

ARTICLE : Apparent wind effects #1 – Getting upwind

Wether you’re new to kite surfing or a seasoned long term kiter there may still be a few things to learn.

If you just stepped into kiting without doing any prior ‘wind based’ activity you may not be familiar with the term apparent wind or you may have heard of the term but don’t fully understand it. That’s ok, we’re here to lay it out in simple terms to help you get to grips with the basics.

apparent wind
noun

  1. the wind as it is experienced on board a moving sailing vessel, as a result of the combined effects of the true wind and the boat’s speed.

So, what does it mean? OK, imagine you are in the car, you are stopped and the window is open. There is wind blowing directly onto the front of the car at 20kph. You hold your face out the window and you can feel 20kph of wind on it. Easy. Now you start driving into it, your speedo says 40kph, your head is still hanging out the window are you feeling 40kph of wind on your face? Nope, you are feeling 60kph, your car is pushing through 20kph of wind to do 40kph over the land so the airflow is 60kph. Easy eh.. Well hold on! We are sailing (kiting) we can’t go directly into the wind! so whats going on there?

OK, lets get on the water, I know for a fact that cruising about we do about 20-30kph at speed so we’ll say 20. The wind is blowing at 40kph (so about 21knots – nice and breezy) BUT we can’t go directly into that wind, so we tack at angles slightly higher into the wind than away from it hence we get up wind eventually. BUT have you ever noticed that sometimes you’ve got a good lick of speed on but for some reason you don’t seem to be able to make as much upwind ground as the guy who’s going a bit slower? What’s going on?

Right, for the example we’re doing 20kph forwards, the wind is coming from out left at 40kph. When I’m stopped I’ve got 40kph blowing from my side and i kite forward at 20kph. This affect alone of me travelling at 20kph is generating my own wind (via speed) BUT it’s not coming from my right (where the wind is coming from) its in front of me, that means the direction of the wind affecting my kite has shifted more in front of me. OK, but doesn’t that affect my kites wind window? Good question (I hope you asked that question – if you did can you see where I’m going?)

apparent_wind_window

If you haven’t worked it out already, the wind effectively moves around more in front of you, this in turn has the effect of making the kite move further back in the real wind window – to the front of the apparent wind window – effectively meaning you can’t go upwind into the true wind angle as if you were stopped.

Thats great! But what does it mean??

This means that whilst it feels awesome to splat about flat chat at mach 10, IF you really want to get back up wind and you are struggling, S L O W  D O W N! Edge harder with your board and keep the speed down. If there is good wind and you are powered up then you can crawl along quite slowly and get great gains up wind quickly, or you can use this to your advantage when trying to hold position in the surf by almost stopping and holding ground in a small area. You may also have noticed this when shooting down the front of a wave and you get overpowered and the kite starts to pull you backwards, this is the apparent wind shifting so far forward you are now dragging your kite into the wind and you end up heading a lot more downwind and overpowered.

So, next time your smashing about on the water give it a think and see if you can work out whats going on. This is just a simple overview into the affects of apparent wind going upwind, there is a lot to cover here with kites as they are so dynamic in the sky unlike a windsurfer or a sailing boat. We can generate our own apparent wind by flying the kite about in the sky. It’s what makes us go up and will always always be the reason why we will always come down!

Interested in knowing more? Have a google around, there are some good images, all the math and some great reading.

Pete