We've recently had a pretty annoying lack of decent winds especially when we add in the factor of trying to run our school and kitesurfing lessons.
Early May we had a good run of suitable winds and managed to get a good amount of students through their 2 day (and even 5 day) courses.....then this fine weather we are presently enjoying, great for the BBQ's killed the winds!
Frustrating for our uber keen students but also extremely frustrating for us as a professional full time kitesurf school trying to arrange cover with instructors etc on a slight "chance" of some wind....it also ultimately means no lessons, no money!
So what is a sea breeze, well the simple answer is that the land heats up quicker than the cold air over the sea, it then rises and the cold air over the sea rushes in to replace the rising warm air.
See the image below to better explain this.
Fortunately for us as we live so close to the beach that does regularly produce these breezes (Porthcawl & Aberavon S.Wales) we can jump on it as and when the wind may just build enough. This can be even more frustrating for students waiting on there lessons to be run and wondering why we are getting the odd sessions in whilst we are saying it's not suitable for them, what they don't see is the hours stood on the beach just waiting for the wind to pick up..just another 2-3 knots please!!
It is normally required to be a nice warm sunny start to the day with the classic "The Simpsons" clouds in land (the big white fluffy ones! With no clouds out over the sea. If we are lucky we may get a decent 20 knots or so for a few hours, the problem is predicting when this may happen.
It's worth noting that in general we are extremely lucky that we do indeed get any sea breezes at all, the further west you head into Pembrokeshire etc they rarely get a sea breeze. It's basically that the beaches and more importantly the hills/forestry etc inland from the beaches help produce these favourable conditions.
For our kitesurfing lessons we ideally need 4-5 hours of at least 15mph winds pref from a westerly direction (onshore/cross onshore) Factor in tides also and it starts to get very difficult to bring all the requirements together. When it happens we take it for granted and then...it's gone again!
Typically in the past, a sea breeze would kick in around 12pm as the land inland heats up and would then last until approx. 6pm when the land begins to cool back down again. So a good 6 hours of useable conditions.
The last few weeks however the winds have been all over the place with occasionally a breeze just barely enough for a quick 30-60mins or riding and then as quick as it arrived it's gone! Even equipped with my Hydro Foil board it's barely been enough most times.
If anyone ever comes up with a way to predict a Sea Breeze then they will most certainly become extremely wealthy very quickly....or at the very least an extremely happy kitesurfer!
In the past we have had days of sea breeze at say Rest Bay but nothing at Aberavon 7miles away, only for it to then stop and switch the other way around, for no apparent reason.
The bottom line is....we can't really predict a sea breeze, we can make an educated guess but little more than that.
Anyway as I right this it looks quite likely we may be getting a change in weather here very soon and hopefully we will all get to have a great summer of warm sunny windy conditions.