Learn What Effect Changing Winds Have On Jet Ski Riding…
What are my top 5 Sea Doo wind tips? The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind (lol), because in my PWC riding experience on a Sea Doo GTX S 155, and as every beginner will soon discover, moving air is the most prevalent factor that can make or break a day on the water on your Sea Doo, Jet Ski or Waverunner watercraft adventures. So here they are…
Top 5 Sea Doo Wind Tips #1 – Wind Speed
When I check each day’s forecast, my top priority is to find out how strong the wind’s supposed to be. If it’s 10 kph (6.2 mph) or less, I’m good to go. But if it’s edging up to 15 kph (9.3 mph), I’ll probably avoid riding large or open waterways. Then I’ll opt for a more protected destination like a river or lake with lots of islands and sheltered back bays. Anything more than 15 kph and I’ll postpone the ride if at all possible.
When checking the forecast, it’s also important to note whether it’s predicting calm in the morning, but windy later in the day or vice versa. Either way, I may be able to squeeze a half-day ride in when it’s less windy. But watch out, because a strong wind can also be the precursor of a fast moving storm system – and you don’t want to be caught out on the water in that!
The most obvious consequence of wind is waves. The stronger the wind, the bigger the waves. So unless you’re really into wave jumping, stay home when it’s really windy – believe me, attempting to go a long distance in big waves can be brutal on your bod and not a lot of fun after the first 15 minutes or so. Riding with the wind at your back also means going the direction of the waves, which is less (but not much less) challenging. However, if the wind shifts direction or you have to turn around to go back in the opposite direction, you’ll be fighting oncoming waves the whole way. The worst condition is when the wind is really whipping around, churning up waves and cross-waves in no predictable pattern. Then you’ll be tossed about every step of the way.
Top 5 Sea Doo Wind Tips #3 – Wind Chill
Wind feels cool. In winter, we talk about the wind chill factor. This phenomenon also occurs during the summer, especially in unseasonably cool temperature or in the morning before the sun heats up the day. Now add in the effect of pushing through the rapidly moving air created by your watercraft zipping along at 60 to 80 kph (40 or 50 mph) and even a gentle natural breeze can feel a might chilly. For me, if the outside temperature is 22˚C (72˚F) or less, I’ve found I’m more comfortable in long sleeves and pants to cut the wind.
Wind can also impact your ride in other ways, starting with your ability to dock normally and easily. Depending on which way its blowing as you approach a dock to fuel up or park your PWC, you’ll have to adjust how fast or slow you come in and be prepared to do more some quick adjustments. Wind whipped waves can also make navigation buoys harder to spot and hide rocks and shoals that might otherwise be visible. And when the troughs are so deep that you can’t see over the wave crests from the seat of your PWC, it’s easier to become disoriented or even lost.
Top 5 Sea Doo Wind Tips #5 – Body Effects
Even when there’s only a light breeze, you have to be careful to protect yourself. I’ve already mentioned how wind cools the ambient temperature and the consequent need to wear long sleeves and pants for a day ride. But you also need to protect your eyes from wind, and things it may blow into your face, by wearing wraparound glasses or goggles. Wind can also be painful on sensitive ears and that relentless push of air can be annoying fro anyone during many hours of riding. So consider earplugs or something else that cover your ears – I’ve even seen some riders wearing sound suppression earmuffs. Finally, the constant breeze against your skin, from either natural wind or the speed of your ride, can feel very pleasant on a hot summer day. But it can also mask the warning signs of sunburn, until it’s way too late and you’re painfully burnt to a crisp.
So what if the forecast for a calm day is wrong and you’re PWC ride is underway? How do you know if it’s getting windy? As you ride, watch the treetops along the shore for signs of movement. Check out passing docks for flapping flags or wind socks. If you start to see sailboats on the water, you know there’s wind. And if all else fails, you’ll know it’s getting windy because that glass-like water surface starts to ripple and get choppy. Then it’s time to break wind by heading to shore!
The tips and advice in this article are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.