Before coming to Tarifa, it is quite normal to open windguru wind forecasts or any other forecast website such as windfinder or similar. Sometimes the information is a bit confusing, so we have prepared this post that you can read and interpret windguru as a local.
And for those who come to do a kitesurf course in Tarifa and when you look at the forecast you think there may be no wind keep reading, this information can be very useful (although the best advice is to call and ask directly!)
The first thing to do is choose which model to look at. We recommend using the GFS13km or WRF3km / WRF9km. In the latter, it is quite detailed per hour but normally, just looking at the first one already gives you a good idea.
The next thing to look at is the direction of the wind. In Tarifa we have 2 prevailing winds, these are Levante and Poniente.
If arrows point to the left, wind is Levante and if they point to the right, wind is Poniente. Windguru and other wind forecast websites in Tarifa works in a very similar way, that is why we are going to divide this analysis into 2.
The east wind in Tarifa is an off-shore wind, that normally blows in a intense way but it does not always have to be this way. If you look at the GFS13km model and see a forecast of just 6-7 knots, this will be enough to have a good day of kite. Normally with that forecast of wind, you can find about 13-14knots on the beach.
If you find 10-15 knots in this model, surely what you will find on the beach will be around 20-25 knots. With forecast above 21-22 knots we will already be talking about more than 30++ knots on the beach. And it's probably too windy to kite safely.
As we have said, levante is normally off-shore wind. On Los Lances beach, in Río Jara area (not in front of the parking), levante usually blows "constant" (not very gusty) but the downside is that if something happens, being an off-shore wind, the wind is going to drag you far out. Thanks to Sea Angels, this is not a problem, just buy a rescue card and you will ride safely..
Another option is Valdevaqueros, where due to the shape of the beach and the direction of the wind, it is not essential to have a rescue boat. If there is a lot of wind, in the area of the sand dune, there is usually a bit less wind.
And if levante is VERY strong in Tarifa? Out of summer season (15.6 to 15.9), you can go to places like Caños de Meca (where there is a bit less wind), or Palmones / Getares in Algeciras, where you will find MUCH less wind.
Points to consider:
* If it is very cloudy or rain is expected, there is a bigger probability of having gusty winds.
* If waves also come from the east (arrow pointing to the left) in 99% of the cases you will find flat / chopy water. If waves come from west, get ready to see amazing wave conditions!
* With tide rising, wind tends to increase a bit too. You can see the tide index on the Windguru tide button.
* Normally, it is advisable to look at the forecast 1-2 days in advance. With levante it is VERY rare that Windguru fails in direction and intensity.
The west wind is usually an on / side on shore wind and normally has a low or medium intensity. Looking at the GSF13km model can be a bit misleading as not only will depend on the intensity they show, but also the tide and clouds must be taken into account. If it is a totally clear day, with a forecast of about 7-8 knots and some luck, you can have a session with a big kite. With a forecast of 10-11 knots, it is almost certain that you will have wind for a session.. And with forecast of above 12-13 knots the wind is almost guaranteed!
If there are clouds in the forecast with west winds, you never know what may happen...
West winds comes from the sea. You can enjoy it at Los Lances beach and in Valdevaqueros. In Artevida Spot area the waves are usually more organized than in areas closer to town. If you go with a surfboard, it will surely be the best option.
Points to consider:
* With wind forecast below 7-8 knots and 0 clouds, you may have a western thermal session in Valdevaqueros even for 9 or 10m!
* With very weak wind forecast (and sun) you have more chances of finding a stronger wind in Valdevaqueros than in Los Lances.
* If the wind forecast is strong poniente, like 18+ knots, it usually works better on Los Lances beach.
* With poniente, it is normal the forecast to change from one day to the next in +- intensity.
If you come to make a kitesurfing course in Tarifa, let your kiteschool advise you, they will know better what can be expected, do not make the decisions for yourself if you do not have experience because you may miss a few wonderful kitesurfing days!
If what you come here is to kitesurf on your own, you already probably know that there is wind in Tarifa 98% of the days, so seeing the forecast can help you decide what kite sizes to bring, although we always recommend that you bring all you have!
Looking at the forecast from one week to the next is not going to help you, the best thing, look at it a couple of days before coming! And once you are here, you can always take a look from the cameras that are in the different spots. Take a look at our list of kitesurf spots in Tarifa here. It has detailed information and cameras to see the situation live.
And if you have any questions, you can always contact us. We will help you find the spot that best suits you for your kitesurfing in Tarifa!
Carla and Rodri, combined experience flying kites of more than 30 years. And a Kitesurf World Championship...🔥