As a beginner, a steady wind and flat water is what you want. Ideal wind strength is between 12 and 18 knots.
At coastal beaches the ideal is usually a cross shore or cross onshore wind, as it allows you to sail out and back to the same spot, but even if you do go downwind (which is inevitable while learning) you will still come back into shore and be able to walk back to where you started. As the predominant summer seabreeze, the famous ‘Fremantle Doctor’ is our best example of cross onshore wind.
An onshore wind (or westerly) means that you will be blown back on to the beach. It is very challenging to kitesurf in unless you are very competent at getting upwind. Not only this but it usually brings shore break and waves making it even harder to get out. Plus you must bear in mind that if you have any problems (wind picking up or wipeouts etc.) it will involve ending up with a hard landing on the beach.
For kiters at most WA coastal beaches, an offshore wind is bad news. Any wind from an easterly; south easterly; or north easterly direction is bad news – if the wind drops off, or you lose your board, or experience an equipment failure, it could mean a long, slow trip to Africa!
WAKSA strongly advises that kiters should not kite in offshore conditions.
If you are planning a trip to the coast, remember to check the tide. A number of beaches in Western Australia are fringed by reefs which mean that rocks are exposed at low tides and can make for hazerdous conditions.
If you’re at all unsure about the weather conditions, remember… if in doubt, don’t go out!