The past couple of mornings I’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn to make the most of early morning surf conditions. We don’t get a lot of swell here in the Arabian Gulf so I’ve felt the need to make the most of it.
But why get up so early? Why not go after work? Often the waves get bigger here in the afternoon because the wind tends to significantly pick up from noon onwards. The problem is the afternoon winds that pick up are typically onshore, with the waves and this literally pushes them down early making for mushy conditions. When the breeze is offshore it blows into the face of the oncoming waves and holds them up. It makes for much cleaner waves that feel so much nicer to ride.
But what has this got to do with sacrificing a warm comfortable bed for damp paddling kit and a dip in the sea. Well its pretty simple, in the mornings the wind tends to be offshore.
Afternoon = onshore wind = mushy waves
Morning= offshore breeze = clean waves
Why is this? Well anywhere where the sun shines its temperature related.
This diagram shows what is going on
Its simple once you’ve realised that the fuel that is driving the wind engine is heat. As the land heats up in the sun so does the air near to it. Warm air rises leaving a space behind it so sucking up the cooler air from the sea, voila an onshore breeze in the afternoon when its warm.
The early morning offshore breeze is caused by the air cooling over the land and sliding down (cold air sinks) the land towards the sea and its this effect that I’ve been up early for this week.
Here in the Middle East it gets damn hot during the day and this means the afternoon winds can be really strong and make the sea quite rough. The morning offshore breeze is caused by a force no where near as powerful and the sea is normally pretty calm as a result. Its worth understanding this effect if your involved in any kind of sea based activity as smooth calm seas tend to use a lot less energy.
There you go, another reason for getting out of bed early 🙂