Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tides and Wind

Before you go out, it's always a good idea to understand how the tides and wind impact the area where you'll be paddling.  At least, check the weather forecast in advance, but always be prepared for quickly changing conditions.  In the north bay, mornings are typically cool and calm.  As the inland temperatures start to rise, so does the wind on the coast.  It can be dead calm at 7:00 AM, and 25 mph winds and whitecaps by 10:00 AM.  It's also helpful to know the typical wind velocity and patterns.  This information can alleviate a lot of frustration.  If you know the wind blows like stink from the west or northwest by 10 AM, you better head in the that direction for the start of your trip so that you at least have the wind at your back for your return leg.  The last thing you want is to be heading upwind on a SUP after a multi hour paddling session!  Struggling to make it back to your car is not a lot of fun.

Be prepared for the winds but also be prepared for the tides.  A nice easy beach entry at high tide can turn into a 100 yard walk through knee deep mud at low tide.  Surfers and fishermen keep an eye on the tide charts and so should we.  My favorite beach break is only good during a higher tide as otherwise, there just isn't enough water over the sandbar.  Tides are predictable so it's pretty easy and inexpensive to pick up a tidebook from your local surf or paddling shop. 

People that are fortunate enough to have a smart phone (I do not but I know people that have them), have a great resource for checking conditions on the fly.  You can find an example of one othese apps for checking tides on the right hand side of my blog.

The old saying "if in doubt, don't go out" holds true so why not have some information to help alleviate these doubts?

Here are some other resources for checking wind and tides:

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