What is a sea breeze and how it can affect your sessions?


Table of Content

Sea breezes are a common occurrence along coastlines with a sunny climate as it is the contrast in temperature between land and sea which causes this effect. Do you know how sea breezes affect kitesurfing?

What is a sea breeze

Sea breezes are a geographically localised wind effect; a mesoscale front which may extend along a coastline but only move inland by a few kilometres. They are far more localised than prevailing winds and can cause an increase in wind speed in a local area beyond what has been forecast. 

To understand a sea breeze, it is important that we first understand the effect of temperature on air pressure: 

  • Air pressure is the force exerted on a given area by the impacts of gas particles in constant motion.
  • Cool air is greater in density than warm air, meaning that a warm air mass will expand and rise and a cool air mass will fall.
  • As warm air rises in an area, this results in the area having low surface pressure.
  • When cool air falls, this results in an increase in surface air pressure in that area.
  • Air masses move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.
  • Convection is a form of heat transfer; warm air rises and cool air sinks. Convection is a natural way that heat moves from one area to another.

Wind is caused by changes in air pressure, and air pressure is significantly influenced by temperature. Movement of air (wind) occurs as air mass travels from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

Sea Breeze Diagram

What causes it?

It takes longer for the sea to warm than it does for land to warm under the sun due to their comparative size. On a sunny day, solar radiation causes the temperature of land to rise creating a temperature gradient between land and water. As the temperature of the land increases, the air above it heats by convection. The warm, less dense air rises and causes a decrease in pressure over land. You can often spot this by the appearance of cumulus clouds.

Oversea, the air remains more dense and cool because the sea is cooler than land. This cool dense air is higher pressure than the air over land causing movement of the air mass (wind) from high pressure to low pressure. The strength of the sea breeze is proportional to the temperature difference between the land and the sea.

Its speed depends on whether it is assisted or hampered by the prevailing wind, and the strength of the thermal contrast between land and sea.

If a strong offshore wind is present that is greater than 8 knots, the sea breeze is not likely to develop.

When the wind is already blowing onshore, the combination of the original wind and the sea breeze means that the wind strength will increase dramatically. It can result in winds 1.5 or even 2 times the forecast strength.

It takes time for land to heat up and a temperature gradient to form. Sea breezes tend to start in the late morning/midday and can continue until sunset.

Well known sea breeze examples

A well-known example of a sea breeze is the ‘Freemantle Doctor’ in Safety Bay, Australia. A Seabreeze so reliable that it made safety bay one of the number one winter training grounds for pro riders in recent years.

The mistral winds of the Med bless the Greek Islands every afternoon on hot summer days. The nearby mountains are so cold that they create a large temperature differential with the warm Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoons the warm rising air over the Med is replaced by a strong Landbreeze.

What is a land breeze?

As the sun sets, the land temperature begins cooling, and the wind dies down as the pressure gradients equalise. If the land cools off and the temperature falls below the temperature of the ocean, a land breeze may form on the same basis.

Sea breezes and land breezes are defined by where the wind comes from, and in both cases, the cooler air is the air that is moving.


How they affect your kiteboarding sessions

It is important to recognise the conditions that may result in a sea breeze as the increase in wind speed may require a reduction in kite size. It takes time for the gradient conditions for a sea breeze to develop, but once it occurs the effects are quick and can result in a rapid and drastic increase in wind speed.

Sea breezes affect kitesurfing with positive and negative consequences. As they can so unpredictable kitesurfers can get caught out as their kites suddenly become too big. The wind can go from very low speeds, or even nothing, to blowing 20 – 30knots in a matter of minutes. Alternatively they may even need to self-rescue when the wind drops completely. It can be worth waiting for an hour or so to check how the wind is building so that you can know which size kite to take. Throughout your kitesurfing session, it is important to keep an eye on the formation of clouds and increasing wind speeds so that you can be prepared to downsize your kite as you recognise a sea breeze building.

Tips for kiteboarders

  • Watch for signs of a seabreeze such as low level cloud development over land on a clear, hot and sunny day. Consider sea breezes along with the rest of your kite spot assessment prior to kitesurfing.
  • Be prepared to downsize your kite when a seabreeze comes in.
  • Use caution, seabreezes can be unpredictable at times, light cloud cover may briefly dull a seabreeze but pick up again after the cloud has gone.
  • Know how to self-rescue when the wind suddenly increases at the mid day or drops completely with the setting sun.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About us

Thekitespot.com is a platform created for kitesports enthusiasts, that want to learn more about the sport; find ideal destinations to kite and explore all the relevant topics in one place and share the knowledge with other kiters worldwide.


Guide to kiteboarding

Guide to kiteboarding digital

An ultimate resource designed specifically for beginner kiteboarders in mind. This step-by-step guide follows the exact learning steps initiated by any instructor or school and provides the detailed knowledge you need to confidently navigate your kiteboarding journey.

Facebook community


Closed group for those who are new to the sport of kiteboarding and want to learn more and share their experiences with others. Whether you’re just starting out or have some experience but want to improve your skills, this group is for you. Here, you can ask questions, share tips and advice, and connect with other beginner kiteboarders from around the world.


Kite size calculators

Custom kite size calculators to help kiters choose the correct kite size for their sessions on whichever board they are riding. Just select your weight and the average wind speed for a recommendation of what kites to bring with you to the beach.

Kitespots & location descriptions

Location Guides offer detailed insights into some of the best kiteboarding spots around the world, providing you with valuable information on wind conditions, local regulations, and nearby amenities.


Receive latest industry news, detailed guides of the most popular kitesurfing destinations, gear specifications and all the knowledge needed to become a better participant of all the kitesports.


Kitesurfing In Dakhla

Round and around the season’s blow, with some locations being more affected by seasonality than others; it’s an

Samina is a seasoned BKSA senior kiteboarding instructor and creator of thekitespot.com. With a deep passion for kiteboarding, Samina has honed her expertise while guiding countless individuals to master the art of kiteboarding. Her dedication to teaching and empowering beginners inspired her to create "Thekitespot.com Guide to Kiteboarding," a comprehensive resource that serves as the ultimate companion for aspiring kiteboarders.



Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Guide to kiteboarding digital

Beginner Kiteboarder?

Check out our step-by-step GUIDE TO KITEBOARDING.

About us

Thekitespot.com is a platform created for kitesports enthusiasts, that want to learn more about the sport; find ideal destinations to kite and explore all the relevant topics in one place and share the knowledge with other kiters worldwide.

COPYRIGHT 2017-2024 © True Sessions Ltd

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. For more information, check out our Privacy PolicyTerm and Conditions

thekitespot.com Guide to kiteboarding
Guide to kiteboarding

An ultimate resource designed specifically for beginner kiteboarders like you. This comprehensive step-by-step guide provides the knowledge, insights, and support you need to confidently navigate your kiteboarding journey.