Pacasmayo Wind and Wave Forecasts

18 10 2011

I have been asked many questions about predicting the weather and swell by competitors attending the KSP wave kiting event here in Pacasmayo. The following is an attempt to answer those questions. The information and advice is based off realtime observations, watching the weather, talking to locals and reading forecasts over the last 2 months. If anyone can provide further insight into wind forecasting in Peru,  I am interested in hearing from you. Please leave a message in the comments section if you have something to say or if this post has helped you in some way.

One of the challenges about kitesurfing in a new place, is being able to read the weather like a local. I really try to understand how accurate weather forecasting is in a particular area. The long-term Peruvian wind forecasts are probably the worst I have encountered in the last 7 months of travelling to France, Sardinia, Brazil and Morocco. I almost didn’t come to Pacasmayo because of low wind forecasts , but have been pleasantly surprised that there is usually 12- 25 knots  if the sun is shining.

Because the waves in Peru often originate from such a long distance (15-20 sec period), wave forecasting is usually predictable a week out.  Locals I have talked to look more at the swell period (15 sec+) rather than height to predict when the good swell will arrive. Magic Seaweed or Windguru are both reliable sites for wave forecasting.

The most reliable real-time source of  wind information is the weather sensor in Chiclayo. This sensor provides a good indication of what is happening in Pacasmayo, despite being 50km away and inland. Wind Alert provides the easiest to understand wind stats and historical data from this sensor. If you want to see the raw data it can also be found on the NOAA website (select Peru and Chiclayo). Dewpoint and temperature are the most interesting as explained below.

Wind forecasting  in Peru is so erratic that I have given up trusting the long-range forecasts. Predictwind and Windguru are, however, your best sources of information and are usually more accurate on the day, providing the sun is shining. All the sites I have been following are particularly poor at predicting the cloud cover which might account for the erratic forecasts.

In Pacasmayo the wind blows more cross-shore in the morning and early afternoon swings to more cross off. The time at which the wind swings and peaks, can vary anywhere between 1-5pm. Often the best sessions are late afternoon after the wind has swung more cross off .

The following 5 sites are worth looking at;

Magicseaweed- http://magicseaweed.com/Pacasmayo-Surf-Report/3289/

Look for the high period days of 15 seconds or more.

Windalert- http://windalert.com/en-us/Search/SpotInfo.aspx?spotid=16193

Good for real-time and historical information, but don’t trust the forecasts. Look for the wind angle to be 180 or less and 20mph+ for a good session. Wind becomes more cross offshore and it’s easier to get upwind at angles of 180 or less.

Windguru- http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=52627

Add roughly 30% or more onto figures that Windguru predicts. If the day is cloudy then the raw figures will be correct and it is time to go surfing instead of kiting. Any swell over 2-3 m with a 15+ second period will be the longest rides of your life!

NOAA- http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/SPHI.html

Good for real-time wind, temperature and dew point readings. For those that want to get more technical and detailed view of what is happening, this is your source. Dew point is critical when it comes to forecasting fog that is likely to kill the wind. Fog is likely when the surface air temperature and dew point temperature are the same. Dew point is however different from humidity as this article explains.

Predictwind- http://www.predictwind.com/

PredictWind is one of my favorite sites because it uses two independent weather models to predict the weather. Comparing the PredictWind forecasts (GFS or CMC) can give you confidence in the forecast. If CMC and GFS models are showing the same numbers then the forecast is more reliable.





Onwards to South America

12 07 2011

The journey continues but my time travelling and kiting around France, Sardinia and Morocco is almost done.  Next, its time to start booking flights as I turn my attention to South America.

Downwinders in Essaouira

I’m being lured by the waves and wind in Northern Peru, and the fresh powdery snow on the volcano peaks of Chile are making me drool over some potential snowkiting.  I’m finding it tough to get reliable information about snowkiting in Chile and Argentina so if anybody can point me in the right direction then that would be great!

Play time in Dakhala

I also really want to go back to Brazil, which may seem crazy after all the time I spent there last year, but I have some unfinished business to do.  While rushing through my 2000km world record I passed by what looked like some of the most pristine, untouched kite beaches that offered both flat water and wave riding options.  They are what I call my secret spots (and yes I am keeping them a secret for now), while I pull together some ideas about potentially sharing these locations with others through a new business venture which will offer a very different kite holiday compared to the current downwinder between Fortaleza and Jeri option.

Unhooked moves in Dakhala

I am however looking for some kite guinea pigs who might want to help share the adventure with me, so if you are an advanced kitesurfer and in Brazil during August or November then drop me a note.  Also if you have a well run Pousada or accommodation service north of Fortaleza or provide kite services or downwind trips in Brazil or Peru then I am also looking for partners and can help promote your services, just leave a comment below.

Mingling with the rich and famous in Antibes

Hanging on beaches and kitespots of Sardina

Snow kiting in France





SurfAid- www.surfaidinternational.org

15 09 2010

Now I’m aware that I haven’t updated the blog in the last week of kitesurfing and there is some interest to hear the rest of the story. The blogs are written and there are some interesting moments especially in the last 3 days.

So here’s the deal, I really want to help the SurfAid charity as I think they are a fantastic award-winning organisation. They have made a real difference to the lives of people in the Mentawai and Nias islands, off Indonesia’s Sumatran coast.

If you have enjoyed reading the blog, been entertained or think it’s just plain crazy, then it would be fantastic if you could donate some money to SurfAid.  You can do this via their website:  www.surfaidinternational.org And please write “Louis Tapper” where it asks:  How did you hear about us (SurfAid)?

In return I will publish a blog post for each 200 dollars donated.  Some of the tales included in these posts include tips on how to fix a kite harness the “Kiwi Number 8 wire” way, and why viewing a GPS device through a condom is not always easy.

I realise there are many other organizations asking for your hard earned money, but I genuinely think SurfAid has a very responsible community development approach and have made a significant, long term difference with the work they have done.

I can also come and talk to groups or organizations about the trip, if a donation is made to the SurfAid charity.  It might take me a while to sort through the photos but I certainly have some good stories to tell.





Jeri

9 09 2010

Arriving in Jeri felt like arriving in Vegas after being in the countryside. This weekend was busier that most because of a Brazilian holiday.

We arrived in a 5 person vehicle with 8 people a ton of windsurf kit and kites. The party started as soon as we arrived at 10.30 and didn’t let up until the sun rose. The only challenge then became making it up again for sunset.

Every night from 5 until 6, everyone congregates on the nearby sunset dune to watch the amazing sun go down. Sunset watching had a tribal feel to it with people applauding as the sun disappeared off into the water.

Jeri has been a internationally famous windsurf location for some time and more recently for kitesurfing. It’s one of the windier spots on the North Eastern coast. The unique thing about this place is the sand lined streets, funky bars and restaurants.

Today I sat in Club Ventos overlooking the bay and watched life go by. The place is in a prime location next to the designated world class windsurf area. Prea seems to be more popular for kiters and makes for a great downwind at sunset back to Jeri.

The end of my trip is rapidly nearing the end, so its back to the reality of work soon. For the moment, I am en route to Cumbuco to pack and sort out gear.





Globo TV interview

9 09 2010

Another interview after my finish in Sao Luis
http://intertvonline.globo.com/rn/noticias.php?id=6951





Fortune does favour the bold

30 08 2010

Quick post to say I have finished the 2000km today, 30 days after I started. Yes I am pleased to finish and somewhat relived. I am looking forward to do some stress free kiting and waking up late.
The last 3 days were not really stress free kiting, finishing with a 40km open water crossing today.
The last 3 days have been some of the most epic kiting of the whole trip and I will do a full post in time. For the moment beer and food awaits!





Day 23

27 08 2010

A fantastic start to the day with breakfast served up at 5.15am this morning.

It felt like the longest offshore wind that I have experienced so far and with really light wind conditions.  The wind dropped down to 7 knots at times leaving me with no option to concentrate on keeping the kite flying at all costs. Eventually I made it back into land after 1.5 hours of being so far out I was only 3-4km from the oil drilling platforms. The reason for heading out so far out was to avoid the nearby river system and wind shadow which could have caused me lots of problems.

Globo, one of the big Brazilian TV channels ran a story on my trip a couple of days ago which has made me a bit of a celebrity out here.

So now when I land in what I think is the most random and remote place, people run up to me asking “are you the crazy guy we saw on TV.

The wind swung in the afternoon and picked up to a pleasant 17-20 knots which gave me an afternoon of stress free kiting right next to the beach.

I’m could get used to this stress free kiting, I’m so over the harsh offshore winds, sharp reefs, sharks and rain.