Four Clobbered By Cold Front
- "A powerful cold front was predicted to move into Southern Florida bringing
strong winds 30 to 35 mph out of the Northwest yesterday, (Sunday, Jan. 23,
Lots of riders had been following the forecast for several days in advance.
An experienced rider had just arrived at the beach at about 9:00 am. The
launch was on the west coast of Florida. He noticed a line of black clouds
moving in from the NW. He assumed that this was the leading edge of the long
awaited cold front. He noticed four young guys out on the water ranging
approximately 15 to 18 years old, on 12 to 15 m kites with a max. weight of
about 150 lbs. They guys were out in approximate 12 mph winds, in sunny
conditions and were somewhat underpowered.
The experienced rider walked up to another guy on the beach who apparently
knew the riders on the water. He pointed out the black menacing cloud line
moving in and suggested that he call his friends into shore to land/secure
their kites. The guy blew off the warning, saying �they�re good riders, they
can handle it.�
The leading edge of the cold front arrived at about 9:30 am, it rained for
less than a minute and the wind spiked to 27 to 30 mph +. It changed
direction from west to northwest from observations at the beach. All four
guys were almost instantly lofted while riding in the shallow waters of the
sound inside the sand bar. Some tried to keep their kites low to the water
and succeeded in having their boards ripped away and body dragging across
the water at about 25 mph out of control. Other guys were popped to about 20
ft. off the water and falling back into a couple of feet of water.
Lots more info, figures, etc. at:
- There is more to kiteboarding than rigging, riding and throwing
tricks. A critical area is weather, what is forecast, what is going
off now and what is heading in. Some ideas on one approach dealing
with kiteboarding and cold fronts with emphasis on the SE USA, appear
below. What do you use and how does it work?
Some of this may apply to other areas then again there is a whole
world of variable weather out there. You still may get caught and
slammed, as can always happen if you have a traction kite up, but it
should reduce the odds of a predicted event getting the better of you.
There are similar sites and resources in other parts of the world.
Learn what is available and reliable in your area.
1. Check forecasts on http://nws.noaa.gov/ for your area.
Are they going to change, is there a hazardous weather warning, be
sure to check the marine forecast if you are in marine waters. What
are temperatures likely to be? It may be fine now but do you need to
be in a 4/3 mm wetsuit later on today? Read the weather analysis to
better understand what is bringing the wind in the first place.
2. Checkout the Sat. imagery at: http://nws.noaa.gov/sat_tab.php
Some nice animated, color enhanced Sat. images appear at:
http://weather.sun-sentinel.com/tropical/ for Florida and the Caribbean
and at the following link for the rest of the USA:
Be sure to use the loop function to get a feeling for movement and
obvious development. Click in on your area to get a better picture of
local activity. Is there a line of clouds at the leading edge of the
front or no?
3. Checkout color radar to look for CURRENT storm cells and direction
of travel of clouds at: http://nws.noaa.gov/radar_tab.php
Be sure to scope out your area and areas up stream through which the
cold front is moving. See some bright colored stuff? Is it fairly
narrow at the leading edge of the front or is it all over? Avoid the
brightly colored stuff as it can represent violent storms. The green
stuff can also punch out some gusts to, enough to loft you so don't
get complacent about that color either. Remember, JUST because you
don't see storm indications when you're on the computer, doesn't mean
that they won't develop later on in the day. Know what to look for in
the way of weather signs and stay aware before launch up to when you
land and secure.
Most of the time sudden wind comes with some form of visible weather,
clouds, etc.. There are less common cases, around here anyway, where
the wind strikes out of the clear blue, literally. Learn about your
local weather extremes, this is an important homework assignment.
Relate what you are seeing to what appears on the Sat. image.
4. Checkout realtime winds at: http://www.ikitesurf.com/
Look over your area and those areas that are under the front already.
Look at the individual wind records for stations to see if there are
some strong gust spikes and direction changes such as shown above. If
there are also violent direction changes and gust spikes note that as
well. Try to relate these unstable winds to what you saw in the Sat.
and radar images. Are you dealing with a narrow strip of unstable
weather with a wet front or is it more of a sudden boost in wind with
a dry front?
5. While you're at the beach, keep your eyes open for signs of the
onset of frontal winds. ALWAYS be aware of the wind, clouds, white
caps, direction, gusts, etc., regardless of season. It will help you
to get the better rides and perhaps avoid a bad go to.
It is best to AVOID having a kite up during the onset of a front with
associated change in winds. Of course not all fronts are kick butt,
so what kind do you KNOW FOR A FACT you have moving in? Who knows for
sure, it is best to err on the side of caution. If you see signs of a
front coming, advancing white water, cloud masses, a ripple line, etc.
It might be good to land and secure until it is past. Of course with
ripple and white water lines, by the time you see them you may have
less than few minutes before the winds spike. ALSO, you may need to
RIG DOWN to be able to ride once and if the frontal winds spike up.
You don't want to have too large a kite up as the four guys did at the
start of this post when the wind jumps up.
Check this stuff before you ride, always. Learn to relate what you
saw online vs. what developed at the beach.
If you want to get a better idea of things also checkout the weather
maps at: http://nws.noaa.gov/outlook_tab.php
Sounds complicated? Not really, you can blast through the steps
listed above fairly rapidly. Too complex, well most riders I know are
wind junkies and knowing what brings the blow stuff is just another
part of the obsession. So why not dive in and get a handle on what
brings the joy and the dodgy bits that need to be avoided.
Get plugged into weather where you ride. You will be glad you did.
Being able to predict when the winds will turn on with a coming front
is a very good thing. It sure beats wind waiting all day at the beach.
There is a lot to know to kiteboard, some of the stuff listed above is
just part of it.
Some more info on fronts appears at:
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Rick Iossi" <flkitesurfer@h...> wrote:
> "A powerful cold front was predicted to move into Southern Florida
> strong winds 30 to 35 mph out of the Northwest yesterday, (Sunday,
> (figure omitted)
> Lots of riders had been following the forecast for several days in
> An experienced rider had just arrived at the beach at about 9:00 am.
> launch was on the west coast of Florida. He noticed a line of black
> moving in from the NW. He assumed that this was the leading edge of
> awaited cold front. He noticed four young guys out on the water ranging
> approximately 15 to 18 years old, on 12 to 15 m kites with a max.
> about 150 lbs. They guys were out in approximate 12 mph winds, in sunny
> conditions and were somewhat underpowered.
> The experienced rider walked up to another guy on the beach who
> knew the riders on the water. He pointed out the black menacing
> moving in and suggested that he call his friends into shore to
> their kites. The guy blew off the warning, saying "they're good
> can handle it."
> (figure omitted)
> The leading edge of the cold front arrived at about 9:30 am, it
> less than a minute and the wind spiked to 27 to 30 mph +. It changed
> direction from west to northwest from observations at the beach. All
> guys were almost instantly lofted while riding in the shallow waters
> sound inside the sand bar. Some tried to keep their kites low to the
> and succeeded in having their boards ripped away and body dragging
> the water at about 25 mph out of control. Other guys were popped to
> ft. off the water and falling back into a couple of feet of water.
> (continued ...)
> Lots more info, figures, etc. at:
> FKA, Inc.
> transcribed by:
> Rick Iossi