As we come to what appears to be the end of the 21/22 season, just wanted to share with others in WA how they thought the season had been?
I feel like it's probably been the worst season I've seen so far, with lots of days where the wind kind of got in but not really (15-17 knots), I don't think I've seen a single week where it was windy every day, and the wind consistency was just not there, but keen to see if my feeling is shared by others?
If it is, has anyone got any clue what's the cause behind it, are we affected by la nina and it's a crap year every four years, or is it time to find a new hobby because the weather is now too warm in perth for proper winds to come in?
I remember some spreadsheet going around from some schools last year about number of kiteable days, would be interested to see what the number is this year (if we could exclude from those numbers the days with only easterlies that would be good)
My general detailed observation resulted in
More record-breaking heat in Perth (weatherzone.com.au)
This article explains it. Key points -
La Nina promotes extreme heat in WA because it is directly correlated with more periods of positive Southern Annular Mode (SAM). When the SAM is positive in summer, high pressure systems frequently sit further south and become more prominent over or to the south of Southern Australia. This abnormal pressure pattern pushes cold fronts further south than normal for this time of year. When high pressure systems sit further south in summer, it directs prevailing easterly and north-easterly winds over southern parts of the continent.
In short, the easterlies are too strong, and the weather too hot (due to persistent NE winds) to allow for a good sea breeze. Best sea-breezes, i.e. 22+ knots, are generally on days when Perth's weather is between 27 to 33 degrees. If it's above 35 degrees, the sea-breeze is piss-weak, and above about 38 degrees - no sea-breeze at all.
These metrics (temperature averages etc) were just smashed this summer, by the extreme La Nina conditions.
Therefore, based on the extreme/record breaking temperatures in Perth this summer, it'd be a safe bet to say this was absolutely the worst kitesurfing season/summer on record for Perth.
Also note, virtually no cyclones in NW WA this year - due to La Nina also.
The overall warming and drying trend for SW WA will mean less seabreezes in summer on the very long term average, however if it's hotter and drier over summer, perhaps we get more breezes in Spring and Autumn - we did have a good early start with some nice seabreezes in spring this year.
With global warming, these 'outlier' or 'extreme' events will become more frequent. Therefore, with the La Nina years typically coming around every 5-7 years, we'd expect that there will be some pretty bad years every now and again. However, El Nino, which can be very good for kiting in Perth, will also be stronger some years as well.
I guess it just means more variability overall. We had awesome NW winds this winter just gone - so swings n roundabouts.
An excellent summary from danno Above.
I agree with the seasons being slightly longer nowadays but with crappier wind in the "peak season", which is why we started opening the school in early September (vs October) for the past 2 seasons and we're also staying open until the end of April.
Here are the up to date stats from our school. Note that this is primarily sea breeze wind days and does not take into account the Easterly winds. With light wind gear getting better we are teaching in winds as low as 12 to 15 knots so our stats do count many of those days where the wind did not exceed 18-20 knots (about 31 days like this so far this season).
As of March 15 2022, we've been teaching for 106 days since September 2021 but only 75 of those days were "green arrow days" i.e. wind reaching above 18-20 knots.
Just like nature adapts to changing climates, we have to adapt as kiters as well. This means learning to enjoy lighter wind days and getting the right gear to do so. Where I'm from in Canada, kite spots would be packed with everyone having fun in 10-15 knots.
It's all a matter of perspective. Either adapt or change sport ? Either way, a bad season in Perth is still better than most places in the World.
Christian - KiteBud
Nice stats and well said Christian as usual.
Totally agree. Gear getting better, and with foils one can easily kite foil or wing foil in fairly low wind. And then there is sb (wave of freestyle) as well which doesn't require nuking wind.
WA still has way less severe weather events than other states, it's warmer (including the water) and the sky is blue for most of the year.
I am pretty happy to be covered from 10 to 45 knots. Leave the sub 10 for SUP, kayaking, gym, recovery or other things.
Something water sport enthusiasts elsewhere can only dream of.
Thanks everyone for the feedback, and particularly Christian for the table, it's exactly what I was after, so 75 days of wind so far (might get an extra 5 if we're lucky), and of those probably half that capped at 18/19 knots, at least on the days I was out...
Maybe it is a matter of perspective, but I think most here would agree that kiting (twintip or surfboard, more on foiling later) is much funner in 20+ knots, maybe it's a matter of having tasted the forbidden fruit and knowing that struggling in 16 knots on a SB on a downwinder with a 12 just isn't as fun as a 7 in nuking winds with proper swell, or that boosting & looping is funner on 'smaller' kites/stronger winds.
I'm glad the foiling gear is getting better, but it isn't a question of "Adapt or change sport" as you put it Christian, but adapt AND change sport if all we can do half of the windy days is foiling, and you'll be the first to recommend that kiters can't just get out and foil without lessons, not to mention the costs associated that make it harder to access, especially to younger demographics. Re. light wind gear, a Toyota Corolla has improved heaps in the last 20 years, but to someone that has driven a Ferrari most days, saying that they need to adapt and drive the Corolla on the daily isn't all that fun, even if the Corolla is much better than it was then...
I've still had a fun season and this isn't a post to bash on WA or say that I want to move to the eastern states, but not noticing that it's probably half to 2/3rd of the 'fun' days we had consistently 2/3 years ago is also disingenuous. Anyways I just personally feel like the last two seasons have been pretty lacklustre compared to what it's been and wanted to share thoughts/feelings with people that are passionate about the same sport I am and have had the same season. Hoping to a few more fun days before April runs out, temps drop and we're back on the mountain bikes :)
no issues getting wind still if you want to travel to where the wind is. This week coming shown below. 7 days in a row, unfortunately Im working and body nearly broken.
Also as mentioned above the right equipment helps. Throw in a wing foil and there are a lot more days than what your body can keep up with. I thought it was a great season
I'm glad the foiling gear is getting better, but it isn't a question of "Adapt or change sport" as you put it Christian, but adapt AND change sport if all we can do half of the windy days is foiling, and you'll be the first to recommend that kiters can't just get out and foil without lessons
Light wind doesn't mean you have to own a hydrofoil or not kite at all. I know many of my friends who enjoy kiting in 10-15 knots who don't own a foil and don't plan on owning one. With the right skill set, a big kite and a larger twin tip or light wind surfboard can still be fun in those conditions.
Boosting/looping on a smaller kite and in stronger wind agree is big fun. So what about the winter storms. Wasn't too bad last winter and I am hoping it will be another great stormy winter again. Not advertising it for beginners. But morewindpls surely as experienced kiter you would enjoy those too.
Still think we are pretty lucky over here (especially after Covid-free 2 year bubble). But hey, those normal good seabreeze summers, no questions, bring them back Nina/Nino family!
talking to many of my foiling mates, they all reckon it's been the best season ever. For downwinders on a ding, it's been a bit of a shocker. When I was racing last year, I loved last season, I thought it was the best season ever although my surf and TT kite mates all moaned about how sh!t it was. Adding a foil to your quiver really does add about 30% more kiteable days.
I agree with Poida, I made an effort to try and travel a bit more (Gero and further north) this year and got some nice wave kiting sessions in.
If we have another summer like this one next year, I'll be scheduling in to get down to the southern ocean to take advantage of those roaring easterlies that can be on for days at a time. I'd take one great session any day, over two or three ****ty ones.
On my last trip, which was good but ended up wind dropping off slightly due to that cyclone, the folks who had multiple watercraft were having the most fun so it might be good to diversify.
Even a crap season in Perth is good. I counted 55 sessions on the twinny since October, probably not as good as normal, but still good.