How to Read the Wind Forecast for Kitesurfers in HK

There are a few sources we get the forecast and real-time reading from for the wind in Hong Kong. We will try to break it down for kitesurf beginners in this article, so you don’t miss out on any awesome session.

The Kitesurfing Seasons in HK

There is the main season (Oct to May) and the off season (June to Sept).

During the main season, the prevailing wind is easterly, ranging from 10 knots to 20 knots, and the spot would be Shui Hau Wan, Lantau. In winter (Dec – Feb) it would be sometimes easterly and sometimes northernly. When north wind prevails, the spot would be Sai Kung (for more advanced kiters), the temperature usually drops to around 12-15 degrees and you’d need a thick wetsuits (5mm).

During the off season, the prevailing wind comes from southwest, ranging from 7-12 knots, the spot woud be Pui O Beach, Lantau or Lung Kwu Tan, Tuen Mun.

The Wind Basics

In case you need to brush up your wind theories (gusts, venturi/bay effects, wind gradient, thermal effect, reaching the clouds, etc.), this is a solid video from Kitesurf College:

East wind means the wind comes from east, instead of blowing towards east. Generally when speaking of wind speed, we refer to Beaufort Scale. Ideally you should look for Level 4 or above for kiteboarding and Level 3 or above for kitefoiling.

Source: Beaufort Scale

Reading the wind barbs

Some charts like the HK Observatory Wind Map will show the wind readings in wind barbs.

https://www.hko.gov.hk/en/wxinfo/ts/index_wind.htm

According to Wikipedia – The station model plotted on surface weather maps uses a wind barb to show both wind direction and speed. The wind barb shows the speed using “flags” on the end.

  • Each half of a flag depicts 5 knots (9.3 km/h) of wind.
  • Each full flag depicts 10 knots (19 km/h) of wind.
  • Each pennant (filled triangle) depicts 50 knots (93 km/h) of wind.

Wind Forecasts Sites & Apps

We rely on both windguru.com and the Windy.app for the wind forecasts for the coming 7-10 days. Windguru is website only while the Windy.app has both website-based interface and mobile phone application available on Apple Store and Google Play.

Both platforms have a free version as well as a paid subscription to access more advanced forecast models. If you are interested in the best forecast model, the Canadian kite community Our Kite Life made this super informational video:

So How Not to Miss Out On Any Awesome Sessions?

1. Check the forecast from windguru.com or Windy.app.

Forecast further away (5+ days) are less accurate, while forecast within 2-3 days are more reliable. Plus, if you are a PRO member of Windy.app, you can compare multiple models (e.g. the GFS27 model and ECMWF model), if they converge that means a higher chance of they being accurate:

2. Hong Kong Observatory’s Real Time Wind Speed

On the actual day, watch the real-time wind speed/direction from HK Observatory at Cheung Chau and Wagland Island. These two places act as an proxy for the wind speed for Shui Hau Bay or Pui O Beach.

Experience tells us to looks for 20+ km/h at Cheung Chau or 30-40+ km/h at Wagland Island.

Also don’t forget to check out for the tide forecast from HK Observatory :

3. The Real-Time Wind Speed from the Weather Station installed at the Spot

Thanks for local kiters including Phil, Justin, Matthew (and so on) and the help of Hong Kong Kiteboarding Federation, some Tempest weather station were installed at our local kite spot Shui Hau Bay and Pui O Beach for real-time readings of wind, temperature, etc. I like to refer to this wind history chart below. But just like the stock market, it isn’t worth is to extrapolate…

Related links:
Directions for Shui Hau Bay and Pui O Beach.