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      WSWS Okanagan BLOG

      When is the wind coming Marc?

       

      Yes, that is the question I am frequently asked, and this is the answer.

      The days of waiting for the trees to ruffle to decide whether to go to the beach are long gone. Even environment Canada plays a minor part in wind prediction nowadays, and this is true for the Okanagan Valley. I’m going to share with you the best ways to plan at least three days in advance for the Okanagan Lake around Kelowna, and both Lakes in Penticton (Skaha and Okanagan). Kamloops and the North Okanagan (Vernon), I need a local up there to assist. Nicola lake by Merrit, BC is easy, any south or west wind is usually windy, but probably gusty!

      (The picture above is the Southwest coming into Kelowna taken from my backyard, we knew it was coming over three days in advance)

      “The Wind Guide to the Okanagan Valley” will be it’s own entity on this site after this brief introduction. My goal is to make each and every one of you an independent wind expert, and provide some accurate forecasts in the process.

       

      The graph below is from a custom spot on wind guru (https://www.windguru.cz/132460) and the bottom Nam12 graph is my secret weapon. It is quite frankly incredibly accurate if you know how to read it. This WG Okanagan Lake custom spot was built by somebody in Ontario quite a while ago, and in order to get the Nam 12 forecast graph you have to be a paid subscriber to windguru. Now there are plenty of sources for wind out there and someone else may have one as good as this but I haven't seen it yet. The top WG graph is OK but second best for sure.

       

      In brief, South arrows mean Sudbury beach in Penticton. West and Southwest arrows mean Kelowna. North is always tricky in Kelowna but generally accurate for Penticton. East basically never happens. And there is so much more to know, in order to really nail down your wind plan, stay tuned.

       

      6 reasons to start winging today!

       

      1. you can do it anywhere i.e. no restrictions
      2. start on your paddleboard, glue a removable fin on the bottom centre.
      3. progress to a foil and winging takes on a whole new dimension
      4. winging complements and integrates with all your other wind powered watersports like kiting or windsurfing. It can also be the entry point to all wind powered watersports.
      5. It is super fun.

      Winging is here to stay, you might as well jump on board and enjoy the ride.

      And yes we have wings, removable centre fin’s, and wing specific paddle and foil boards.

      The most important thing you need to know to enjoy winter/early spring watersports

      Before I get to the most important thing, lets look at why, oh why, would you kite/wing/windsurf in the winter water anyways? There’s plenty of reasons, no crowds, no tourists, excellent wind, no planes, trains, or Montezuma’s revenge! And for us the winter wind is endless, and the lakes do not freeze over (but as you see some ice can form)

      I learned to foil in January and February at Skaha Lake in Penticton, BC, some 10 years ago. It was just me all alone at Sudbury beach… Bliss. My personal limits are 2°C water and anything over 3°C air temperature. Currently I’ve got 24 months in a row going…so it is really a 12 month season here in the Okanagan. The numbers of winter kiters/wingers/windsurfers has increased up into, 10 or so regulars. Yup, still Bliss.

       

      Now, I love dry suits, so I can do multiple sessions, but a good wetsuit does work (especially with the neoprene windproof jacket on top). Some of the key considerations are: your head, hands and feet must have appropriate neoprene. 5/7 mm round toe booties are good, 5/7 mm pre-curved mits (not gloves), and a neoprene hood with a neoprene beany underneath can be toasty for some.

      The most important thing? You must start hot, and I mean warm to cooking is perfect. I generally come out of the truck trying my best to get as close to sweating as possible but not quite. Okay now you’re ready, your core temperature is up and warm, and your head, hands, and feet are comfortable. Time for a long awesome and toasty session!

      Here is Mike with a hybrid system of drysuit/wetsuit, he is a mad innovator!

      My final recommendation is the Soul 3 drysuit, or GO drysuit...in stock now!

      Introducing The Ocean Rodeo Rise Aluula: Time To Get High

      Introducing The Ocean Rodeo Rise Aluula: Time To Get High

      So, you’ve been working diligently trying to get a few more feet (or metres) out of those jumps. You have been working on speed, timing, edging and finding the perfect little ramp, but alas, you seem stuck.

      We have two answers to this problem. The first one is the brand-new ocean rodeo Rise Aluula Kite: a purpose built kite to get you higher. This is the kite OR team rider Giel Vlugt used to land the first ever double kiteloop (previously thought impossible). How did he do it? The Rise Aluula material: stiffest, lightest, strongest kite material on the planet, and 20 years of design experience + Giel = worlds first landed double kiteloop....(update he just did a TRIPLE!)

      I’m no mega looper, yet, but I have used this kite five times so far this winter (see blog: winter water is fun). And I’m here to report that not only will you jump higher instantly, you will also feel so incredibly relaxed and controlled, you will fall head over heels in love again with kiteboarding!  And then you will start to push it and that is when the real fun begins.

      Now, let me put your mind at rest. You can do whatever you want with this kite, it is incredibly smooth and stable and only does what you tell it to do. In fact if I was learning all over again I’d use one of these….Really! So do not discount how user-friendly this wicked kite is. And do not mistake its friendliness and usability for its wickedness, that lies just under the hood.

      The second answer to the jumping problem is simple, more wind, more technique, and good old-fashioned guts.

      Go get them tiger.