The right wind is necessary for kiteboarding — and the right conditions are necessary for the right wind. Sure, wind is usually present at waterfront locales, but prime conditions aren’t a given. Northwest Michigan is a special place; it is particularly prone to ideal wind due to a few factors.
First, location: Weather systems, as a rule, move from west to east, putting west-facing shorelines — like Point Betsie and the east coasts of Grand Traverse Bay — in the face of oncoming wind.
Second, climate: In the summertime, air over the land heats up faster than air over the lakes. The warm air rises, causing the cooler lake air to rush to the mainland and “fill in” the space beneath the warm air — creating what are known as lake breezes. Ever notice how the wind picks up on the water in the afternoon? That’s the cool air coming in after the sun’s had several hours to heat the air on land.
Finally, all that fickle weather Michiganders like to gripe about is actually cause for celebration — for wind junkies, anyway. The changes in weather from day to day create energy. One of energy’s most elemental forms? Wind.
Emily Bingham is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]