Squamish means ‘mother of wind’ this means we get some of the best conditions for kiteboarding, windsurfing & sailing in the world. The Squamish kiteboarding season is relatively long. The offical season starts on May 15 and runs until October. The wind however, is not so picky with dates and there can be amazing wind for kiteboarding even in the off season. The wind will not be as consistent in the off season and the water will be considerably colder and there will be no rescue from the spit.
The shape of the Howe Sound creates a bottleneck around Squamish (see image). The wind coming down the valley is condensed into a tighter area, causing a pressure increase which in turn means the wind speeds up as it approaches Squamish. Conversely it means the wind gets lighter the closer you get towards the sea. This is called the Venturi effect. There are many factors which affect the wind consistency and speed in Squamish.
Squamish Kiteboarding Seasons
Summer Months – (June-August)
In the summer months the main factor affecting the wind is temperature differences (gradients), specifically between Vancouver and Lillooet. This creates wind because the hot air rises and creates a negative pressure, drawing the colder air behind it.
In the morning & evening in Squamish we experience ‘outflow’ wind, meaning the wind is flowing out of the valley to the sea. This is due to the fact that the sea, Vancouver, is hotter than the mountains. As the day grows warmer, usually around 9/10am, the mountains heat up more than the sea and the wind switches to ‘inflow’ pulling wind into the valley. You will first see this switch at Pam Rocks Usually when kiting in Squamish you want to see inflow wind. However, on strong outflow forecast days Squamish Watersports are able to offer outflow lessons & downwinder experiences (temperature gradient site)
When you’re checking the weather forecasts and see sun or sun/cloud all the way up the valley and a 5 °C temperature difference between Vancouver and Lillooet, then you can be almost guaranteed amazing consistent wind with a gusts of 1 or 2 knots. This type of wind is affected by the Venturi Effect. This simply translates to, when you’re out kiting, dont go too far away from the spit as you may run out of wind.
Early (March- May) & Late Season (September – October)
The early season and late season in Squamish is less predictable as there are more chances of cloud and colder weather and variable conditions. If however you see clouds in the valley and a small or zero temperature difference between Vancouver and Lillooet, a rain forecast of 40% or lower, dont fret! Sometimes there can be micro climates within the Howe Sound. These are temperature gradients or differences of pressure over a smaller area that still create wind. Whilst these smaller gradients might not produce super consistent wind, the wind will still be similar/better than most kiting spots around the world!
Another factor that affects the wind in Squamish in the early & late seasons and sometimes during summer months, is adverse weather conditions such as large storm systems that create ‘frontal wind’. The wind direction is not always funneled down the valley like the consistent thermal winds, but rather comes over the surrounding mountains into Squamish causing the wind to be gustier, less predictable and sometimes very strong.
If you have any more questions about the Squamish kiteboarding seasons or any other inquiry, please dont hesitate to contact us at 778-989-5483 or email at email@example.com