Winter Session in Pentwater

Winter Kiteboarding at Charles Mears State Park
Winter Kiteboarding at Charles Mears State Park

Jetty and I have been watching other kiteboarders taking advantage of the unseasonably warm winter weather all last week and hoping that the it would hold for the weekend. I’m happy to say it did and that we chose the best spot to go kiteboarding last Saturday.

The forecast was calling for Southwest winds up to 30 knots. Air temperature in the 50s and water in the high 30s. In the morning we considered heading to Ferrysburg for a minute because the conditions looked great but had a feeling the wind was gonna shift on shore and die out.  We decided to head to Pentwater and Charles Mears State Park. A Southwest wind in Pentwater is side shore and as we found out creates perfect riding conditions.

I had just received a new drysuit in the mail and was anxious to try it out. Being tall paid off as I was able to get a great deal on an XXL Gul Infra drysuit that was in low demand.  I’ll post a review on that suit after a few more sessions but it did keep me toasty all day long.

When we pulled up to the beach the water was so flat to the north of the pier that I was concerned the wind was blowing off shore.  If you kiteboard or windsurf you know an off shore breeze can be a dangerous condition because if you get in trouble on the water the wind is blowing you to Wisconsin instead of back to shore.  Anyway I was stoked to see the sand blowing parallel to the shore and knew that it was gonna be a great session.

Kiteboarding on Lake Michigan in Pentwater
Jetty getting ready to boost

I launched Jetty on his 8 meter Switchblad and watched as he boosted some of the biggest airs that I’d ever seen from him. I got on the water myself and had to fully depower my 11 meter.  There is no wind meter in Pentwater but I think the wind speed was in the high 20’s. After wiping out pretty hard I decided to take a break on the shore and grab some video.

A couple of hours later the wind started dropping off and neither one of us were able to stay up wind. After a long day and having not been on the water recently we were tired and ready to head back to Grand Haven.

A couple of notes about Pentwater… It is only a 45 minute drive from Grand Haven and definitely a great location for a Southwest to West wind during the off-season. The pier-head is short but effective in breaking up otherwise choppy water. During the summer months I’ve heard that Charles Mears St park gets slammed so it is going to be difficult to find a safe place to launch and land on a light wind day.  Don’t let possibility of summertime crowds deter you too much though. When the conditions are best for kiteboarding there usually aren’t a lot of people braving the sand storm that accompanies the wind.

Working the wave line
Working the wave line