What is the season for Squamish?
The wind is good from May through September. In July and August you can expect 100% windy days.
How much wind can I expect?
A typical Squamish day has steady wind from midday until evening usually between 18 and 24 knots. Windsurfers rig 6.0 to 8.0 sails. Kiteboarders rig 9m kites. The water is flat (no waves).
Do I need a wetsuit?
Absolutely. Most of us wear a 4/3 or 5/3 wetsuit at the spit. The water is snow melt from the mountains and never warms up much. Even when the air is warm you need to prepare for the possibly of being in the water a while.
Can I rent gear?
There are no windsurfer rentals or schools in Squamish (try the Jericho Sailing Centre in Vancouver). Nobody rents kiteboarding equipment, but the Squamish kiteboarding schools include kite gear with their lessons. Stand up paddleboarding is popular in the morning before the wind comes up and rentals are available in Squamish.
Is there a fee?
Yes. The spit is staffed and provides various services like retrieval if you have a mishap on the water. There is a $20 day fee. Most of us buy a season membership ($165 for the 2017 season). Spectators are free.
Can anyone launch at the spit?
If you are a competent windsurfer or kiteboarder you are welcome. Beginners are also welcome but they must be able to self rescue and safely wind up their lines for retrieval assistance.
Is the spit beginner friendly?
Certainly, but they should have taken lesson(s) first. New kiteboarders may prefer weekdays and days when the tide is below 6 feet (when there is ample shallow water). The atmosphere is friendly and supportive of newbies.
What is the retrieval service?
The staff have sea-doos with rescue sleds attached and they try to assist anyone in trouble on the water. Nobody should count on this retrieval service as they may be busy or may not see you. Beginners who cannot stay upwind should not expect repeated shuttle service. That sort of assistance is the job of the kite schools for their students.
Is it crowded?
There is little problem on weekdays. On summer weekends it can be busy on the spit itself, but experienced kiteboarders who efficiently lay out their lines and launch have no problem. And there is always plenty of room on the water for everyone.. unless you want to go right where other people are.
How do I launch and land my kite?
If you are new, ask the staff how we do things. There is always someone to launch or land your kite. It is very friendly and cooperative on the spit. Remember to always wind up your lines after landing your kite.
What about the estuary?
North of our windsports area is a large wildlife management area that is a sensitive natural habitat. Please keep away and respect the wildlife there. Ask the staff or check the map for the boundaries.