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.

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Kiteworld Magazine- 2000km World Record

9 10 2011

Thanks to Ariana for putting this Kiteworld article together. It has been a long time coming but here it is, for those that haven’t seen it yet.


Have you ever thought about solo kiting for thousands of kilometres in a foreign country without a tent or your teddy bear?…Or a support boat? Or more than one kite? Yeah, me neither. Sounds a bit mad really. But 36-year old Wellington kitesurfer Louis Tapper kited the Brazilian coastline, from Salvador to Praia do Meio Beach in Sao Luis, breaking the record for the longest kite journey in the process. I checked in with him after his triumphant return to find out that he doesn’t dig the ‘crazy’ label, and that there were moments of ‘flow’ on his epic adventure.

Kiteworld Magazine Article





1Man 1Kite 2000km Presentation- 16th March 6pm

3 03 2011

There are plenty of ways to travel 2000 kms in comfort, safety and speed. Riding ocean waves on a board smaller than an ironing table holding a kite is not one of them. So what was Louis Tapper thinking when he made the world record attempt – kite-surfing solo 2000kms of Brazilian coastline? And more importantly – how did he turn this dream into a reality?
Whether you are a kite-surfer or not, you want to discover Louis’ method, and use it to realise your own goals, or you just want to have a great evening with a friend listening to an inspiring story – you’ll not want to miss this event.
When: 16 March. Social drinks from 6pm, presentation  starts at 7pm.
Where: Estadio- 17-19 Blair St Wellington
Admission by $10 donation to Red Cross earthquake appeal.
Spaces are limited, so please RSVP via Facebook or for those of you not on Facebook, email- hola [@] estadio.co.nz
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=202307866462650





Surfing into the record books- Love Red magazine article

8 02 2011





Kiwi kite-surfer back in NZ after Brazil adventure

15 09 2010

By Jeff McTainsh

Wellington’s Louis Tapper has just completed a 2000km journey on his kite-board down the coast of Brazil.

As well as setting a new world record, the 36-year-old also raised money for SurfAid – a charity looking to help communities in isolated surfing regions in Indonesia.

Tapper is back to his day job in IT risk management after just completing one of the most high-risk adventures of his life.

“Great to be finished,” he says. “The world record was really just a by-product of the 2000km but I’m just happy to be finished and ready to do some stress-free kiting now.”

Tapper’s month-long voyage wasn’t so stress-free though; he surfed down along Brazil’s coastline from Salvador to Sao Luis.

Light winds and shallow reefs during the first half of his journey caused headaches for the 36-year-old – and that wasn’t his only issue.

“Couple of close calls with broken gear; had some line wraps around both of my feet at one point,” he says. “It took myself and a passing fisherman a good hour to unwrap me.”

With no support crew it was that kind of local hospitality that made Tapper’s journey a lot easier.

“Some stretches of the coast are very remote so I was having to stay on the beach or with fisherman in their huts with them.”

The flying Kiwi also became quite a hit with the locals.

“Every place I’d stop they’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re the guy that’s doing this kite surfing mad mission,’ so I think they had this word called ‘loco’ which translated in English means ‘crazy’.

Perhaps Tapper is loco – he doesn’t intend to be at his desk for long – he is already scheming his next risk management plan.

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Globo TV interview

9 09 2010

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





Chilling in Barra Grande

4 09 2010

I am making my way back to Cumbuco, slowly via some good spots I spotted on my downwinder. Barra Grande is one of those spots that is free from the husstle, has great kiting and is uncrowded. I think the areal photo says it all.
My body is still waking up at 6.30 but the automatic urge to check the weather and get organisned has gone. The nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat over light wind, off shore wind and reefs has stopped…I think.
Anyway off to Jerri next for some party and a bit of kiting. Just waiting for a ride and I will be there.