La Ventana, Baja California Sur, Mexico
La Ventana is a naturally geoengineered wind machine! Being located right next to the hot desert with the cooler Sea of Cortez stretching over 1000km to the north we are perfectly situated for great thermal winds. The Cacachilas Mountains and Isla Cerralvo create a venturi effect that funnels the wind into the bay. As the waters cool into the winter the thermal effect is amplified further as well as the semi-regular “Norte” frontal systems that bring big wind with even bigger waves. These days are not for the faint of heart but they offer a great experience for the advanced rider.
We operate from May until September at Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island up in British Columbia, Canada.
What to the beach:
For lessons: Wetsuit(we provide one if you dont have your own), water bottle, picnic lunch, sunscreen, hat. We supply the rest of the kiteboarding/winging/foiling gear. This includes kites, bar & lines, board, life jacket, helmet, and harness.
How to read the weather:
La Ventana has a very complex weather system. Many factors are involved and the trend changes depending on the season,
The typical winds in La Ventana are a combination of thermal winds and frontal winds. The thermal winds happen at any time of the year but are more prominent in the spring and fall. Thermal winds tend to come from the east(5-15kn) and then veer to the northeast(10-20kn) as they get stronger. They are a result of the warm desert air rising and then drawing in the cooler sea air. Frontal winds are most common in the winter time though they also happen in the spring and fall. Frontal winds are caused by large scale synoptic pressure systems. The most common of these being “El Norte”. When a high-pressure system passes north of the Sea of Cortez we get this pattern. These winds are generally much stronger(25-40+kn) and have some west component making them very gusty and not great for lessons. On the other hand, El Norte can bring waves up to 5m+ and are the conditions that expert kiteboarders dream about!
From November until April we generally get a combination of both patterns resulting in North winds in the 15-25kn range… perfect for learning and teaching!
How to read the weather:
The wind at Nitinat Lake is a katabatic or thermal wind. The strength and direction of the wind will be determined by temperature and pressure differences known as the gradient. There are more factors that dictate the wind but, a good indicator of wind at Nitinat lake is the gradient between Tofino and Port Alberni. The fog can also play a wildcard in this equation. It can supercharge even small temperature gradients.
A 5C gradient usually gets the wind going, a 10C gradient can create some strong winds and a 15C+ gradient often makes for a forceful wind. The optimal setup is 30C+ in Port Alberni and 15C or less with fog in Tofino.