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How to Read Windfinder App

Updated: May 21, 2023

We believe in the philosophy, if you fail to plan, plan to fail.


We use a multitude of apps and websites to plan our trips, because we want our club members and clients to have the best time possible, not fighting swells and getting smacked by rogue waves.


Let's take a look at the main view of the app in full. There is an app on Android and Apple Products, or you can visit www.windfinder.com


From the pic above, you can see the direction of the wind, and it looks AWESOME, but we are far from done.


For example, if we want to paddle the west coast, this day might be ok, because the wind is coming from the other side, and we want to avoid winds if at all possible.


So, we need to see detailed wind and swell info for Gnejna, Ghajn Tuffieha, or Fawwara. You can see the stars on the left of the island. Click one on your windfinder app in another window, I picked Ghajn Tuffieha for this exercise.



screengrab from windfinder
screengrab from windfinder

After clicking on a star, click the forecast button for more detailed information we are after.



screengrab from windfinder
screengrab from windfinder

On this screen, one can see all information related to this site.


We need to determine if this is a good place to kayak today.


For today's exercise, we are looking at Saturday, January 22, 2022.


We can see already, by looking at the top left, wind speed and direction for Saturday state force 5/6 winds, going towards the bay we want to paddle, going down to force 3 around 4pm.


Cloud cover is minimal throughout the day, according to the graph, with no precipitation (rain) expected. If you know how to read air pressure, you can see that it is rising, which means sunshine usually. When air pressure drops, expect rain and turbulent weather.



screengrab from windfinder
screengrab from windfinder

So, we can see already, for the morning, this is NOT the greatest place to kayak, because you will not even get off the beach with waves and winds like this.


The most important information here on this chart, besides the wind, is the swell information.


See how the swells don't match the winds? More importantly, the swells are 1.2 meters in the am and don't really give up at this location.


Would you kayak here? We most definitely would NOT kayak on the west coast this day.


That does NOT mean no kayaking at all, so don't stress.


Luckily, we live on a small island chain, and we have the ability to just go to the other side with one side isn't nice. So, let's check another spot, to see if Saturday is good or not.


Knowing the information we have here, let's use it to pick another spot. I am thinking Gzira, around Manoel Island, or The Grand Harbour of Valletta.



screengrab from windfinder of Gzira/Manoel Island
screengrab from windfinder of Gzira/Manoel Island

Now that we have information for kayaking in Gzira (Grand Harbour generally matches this site), let's take a look at Saturday.


The winds are the same, as expected, but the swells are different slightly? Anyone know why?

If you guessed because of the land and buildings blocking the swells and winds, you are correct!


We often kayak around Manoel Island, take a look here (don't forget to change resolution to maximum your device allows), so we know how protected and safe it is inside the bays.


Back to the chart, as we see, the swells are showing 0.9 going down to 0.6 meters for the rest of the day.


Important to keep in mind, the swells are coming from the land side, not the water side, so the seas will be much calmer and more relaxed here.


If we had to decide, we would definitely paddle here, or the Grand Harbour.


So, let's reiterate the important bits.


  1. pick a spot

  2. check the wind

  3. check the swells

  4. go kayaking or choose a different spot

  5. then go kayaking!

Our new kayaks!


Our Rainbow Oasis 4.3 meter kayaks on the beach of Gnejna Beach, Malta
Our Rainbow Oasis 4.3 meter kayaks on the beach of Gnejna Beach, Malta

A lot of people ask us our limits...what do WE paddle in and what we won't.


Before getting our fancy new Rainbow Oasis 4.3 Meter Sit-ins, from Kayaks and More (visit Kenneth's page by clicking the link below).

We used to paddle an inflatable Gumotex Tandem, and our needs changed. For the inflatable, we would never go out in any winds higher than force 3 and never with anything higher than 0.3-meter waves.


In the rainbows, we can paddle in much worse conditions, but we still won't go out in anything higher than force 4, depending on shelter, and swells (waves) no bigger than 0.6 meters for now till we get used to our new boats a little more.


What site do you use to determine your trips? Go to www.facebook.com/getoutandkayakmalta and tell us about it or just post a comment down below!


Want to join us on a tour? #NoKayakNoProblem we got you covered!


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