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Learn to interpret the WINDGURU forecast in TARIFA like a PRO (updated)

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Learn to read the wind forecasts in WINDGURU for Tarifa

Tarifa, affectionately known as the wind capital of Europe, is a paradise for fans of sports such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and wingfoil.
Located at the southernmost tip of Spain, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic, Tarifa attracts enthusiasts from all over the world, eager to take advantage of its famous winds. However, to maximize enjoyment and safety in these waters, it is crucial to know how to properly interpret weather forecasts. Windguru is one of the most revered tools for aquatic athletes, but do you really know how to use it to your advantage?

In this blog post, we will guide you step by step so you can learn how to interpret Windguru forecasts like a professional. From understanding symbols and terms to knowing when and how to act on weather data, we’ll equip you with everything you need to make the most informed and safe decisions.

Get ready to transform the way you view and use weather forecasts!

1. Understand the direction of the wind

The Crucial Foundation
The main and most important thing will be determining the direction of the wind, as that will play a crucial role in choosing the right spot and the right time to go to the water.

In Tarifa, we have two predominant types of wind:

  • The Levante: Wind that comes from the East, its name is given because it comes from where the sun rises (riser of the sun). Therefore, navigation will be with the left hand when leaving and the right hand when returning. In general, this wind blows quite intensely throughout the day, reaching gusts of up to 50 knots.
    The Levante is famous for its strength, and although it is usually a somewhat gusty wind it is the one that will give us the most hours of wind per day and you will always be certain that if there is an Levante announced in the windguru of more than 10 knots will be enough for kitesurfing and wingfoil.
  • The west: Wind that comes from the South West, its name is given by the side on which the sun sets (west).
    It is a wind coming from the Atlantic Ocean, Therefore, it is a colder wind than the east wind and varies greatly depending on the time of year. Normally it tends to come more from the sea than from the east, and makes navigation not completely perpendicular to the shore but a little more oriented towards the land.

**SMALL TIP: if the direction oscillates a little towards the north it will not be a good indicator of wind for Tarifa since it will be much gustier than usual, even going so far as to disrupt certain areas near the bank.**

2. Understand the strength of the wind

Important point to choose the gear

The strength of the wind varies greatly in Tarifa and will be a key factor in what to expect on the day.
Represented in the colorful boxes, Windguru gives us the force of the wind expressed in knots. We must keep in mind that 1 knot of wind is equivalent to 1.85 km/h

The box above will indicate the average strength of the wind, and the box below will indicate the maximum wind gusts. Taking these values ​​into account we can make an approximation between these two values ​​and it will be approximately the force of the wind that we will have.

– For the easterly wind, it is very common to find winds of between 25-35 knots, which will be represented in Windguru with the orange and red colors. You can expect to have fairly strong and somewhat gusty but still navigable winds in the Tarifa area if you have the right level.
When the wind forecasts exceed 35 knots they will be represented in purple color and the winds in Tarifa will be only for experts and those looking for the most extreme conditions. There will be other spots near Tarifa in which the intensity of the lift is lower and more suitable for kiting and wingfoil practice.
The ideal wind force for kitesurfing in Tarifa will range between 18 and 25 knots.

– For the west wind, the strength prediction becomes a little more complex.
During the summer,the normal thing will be to find a maximum of 22 knots (orange color) and the normal thing will be between 10-15 knots (light blue and green colors).
It is important Note that during the summer, the west wind is a thermal wind. This means that it works according to the heat, therefore the common thing is that the mornings dawn without any wind and as the day progresses and the sun heats the earth, the wind begins to arise and usually takes its greater intensity between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.. It is usually common to have a few knots more wind than Windguru predicts, especially when the day is very hot in the morning. If the day dawns with some clouds and some wind from the west in the morning, it is typical for the wind to come in earlier than normal but not reach as much intensity, since the land will not have heated up as much and not much wind will be generated. thermal.

During the rest of the year the west comes from further away and is not a locally generated wind like the thermal wind is. This means that it usually comes with wind waves and depending on the strength of the wind we will have larger or smaller waves.
It usually has a tendency to come more from the southwest compared to the summer wind, which is from the pure west. This means that during periods outside of summer, we can find west forecasts that generally range between 20 and 30 knots. It is very important to pay attention to the accompanying clouds and rain that this wind may bring, since if it comes with precipitation and a lot of clouds, it is possible that the strength of the real wind is lower than that indicated on Windguru. And on the contrary, if it is a forecast for the west, let’s say about 25 knots, we see that there will be little presence of clouds and no rain, it is very likely that we will find several knots more than those announced in the forecast.

3. The Tide

Coefficients and currents
Although they are not as influential as wind direction and strength, tides play an important role in the spot you choose and will generate a certain type of current that will surely alter the surface of the water.
Some of the important terms that we should know in relation to tides and currents for Tarifa are the following:
  • Coefficients: It refers to whether a tide will go down more or less than normal. The higher the coefficient, the more difference there will be between low tide and high tide. The smaller the coefficient, the smaller the differences between high and low will be.
  • Rising: It is said when the tide is rising.
  • Empty: This is the tide when it is going out.

We have to keep in mind that depending on the spot we choose, depending on the tide, we will have more or less presence of dangers, such as:
– Rocks that are exposed at low tide
– Current that pulls us out to sea
– Gustier wind than normal

Now yes: Windguru will show us a very simple graph at the bottom represented with some curves, which indicate the maximum and minimum tide points throughout the day. This would be enough to give us an idea of ​​when we will find the lowest tide or the highest tide. Although we want to have more information about the tide in Tarifa, such as knowing the coefficients, you can find all the information at this website about tides in Tarifa.

4. Understand the waves.

Last point

Contrary to what many think, Tarifa is not a place where there are waves regularly, like Portugal or Morocco. Although it is true that during the winter months and early spring we can have days of good waves.

Now, to understand the surge in rates, we have to look closely at three key points:

  • Wave size: is the estimate that Windguru gives us of how large the waves will measure.
  • Period: refers to the distance between waves. The period is reflected just below the wave size and is measured in seconds. The longer the period, the more likely it is to have good waves.
  • Wind direction: a very important point to take into account, since if the wind blows from the west, we will not necessarily need to have a period of more than 8- 9s for there to be waves, since the west is a wind that comes from the Atlantic and normally brings waves. On the contrary,if there is a strong lift, it will be very normal to see ‘2 m’ at the wave height and find that there are no waves at all. This will be because the east tends to blow a little more from the land, therefore it will not generate what we call ‘wind wave’.

To sum up

Understanding and using Windguru forecasts can make a big difference in your kitesurfing experience in Tarifa. From identifying ideal conditions to anticipating possible changes in the weather, this skill will allow you to make the most of every session in the water, increasing your safety and enjoyment.

All this knowledge is what we put into practice in our official kitesurf school in Tarifa to choose precisely when and where to give our kitesurf courses .
Our certified instructors will not only teach you the necessary techniques, but will also guide you in the practical interpretation of weather forecasts, ensuring that you are always one step ahead.

So now that you know how to read the forecasts, take a look at the Winguru forecast in Tarifa! for the next few days and test the knowledge learned in this blog!


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