Continent
North America
Country
South Carolina (USA)
Next Big City
Charleston
Next Town
Kiawah Island
 
Type:
Ocean
Rider Ability:
Beginner, Intermediate, Expert
Features:
Rooms, Parking

Water

Type:
Small wave, Medium wave
Hazards:
No information
Quality:
Clean
Best Tide:
Tide independent

Beach

Type:
Sand
Size:
Tidal
Hazards:
No information
Beach Users:
June, July, August

Weather

Spring:
Shorty, Normal
Summer:
Shorts
Fall:
Shorty, Normal
Winter:
Normal

In Charleston, surfing is a year round sport. Spring waters start warming in March and wetsuits soon disappear. Summer waters hit the mid-high 80's°F and stay warm till October. Fall/winter water temps drop toward thanksgiving average in the 50's°F. Typically, you can get away with only very minimal warmth protection for 7-8 months of the year. Winter temps average low 50's°F and many kiters just wear a full 3mm wetsuit. However, certain fronts may change currents and waters have been in the mid-lower 40's°F on occasion (January to February). Spring suits are in fashion usually by the end of April (sometimes earlier), skin no later than mid May, and back into shorties by October. The really thick rubber (4/3), booties, gloves and hoods don't usually come out until December through February, but it varies.

Wind

Best Months:
April, May
Wind Type:
Thermal, Frontal
Best Direction:
S, SSW
Main Direction:
NE, S, SSW

Spring boasts steady warm southerly winds averaging 15-25 kts. Summer typically relies on afternoon thermals ranging 10-15 kts. Fall/winter offer 15-25kts but from often gusty Northeast frontals. Since the coastline is angled, optimal wind directions are sideshore Southwest (typically steady) followed by Northeast (usually gusty). Predominant summertime winds are side to onshore SSW. Usually a Southwest wind means wind-chopped surf. OK for kiteboarders, but not so great for surfers. Most other wind directions are uncommon, but do happen and are usually associated with passing fronts, thunderstorms, or light morning winds. August is well known to have few "nice" windy days. Strong cold fronts are common in late fall, winter and early spring. They may produce strong, gusty offshore North and Westerly winds, but also bring Northeast winds that kick up the stronger surf and allow for decent side to onshore wave riding. Offshore hurricanes in late summer/fall can also bring great swells to local beaches. Typically providing epic wave riding conditions. However, they can also back off thermals and create some of the worst wind conditions. Charleston kiters must depend on strong fronts to generate sustainable winds. Several weeks without good wind is typical late August to early November. General guidlines: rain and clouds usually kill a SW, but power a NE. Predicting wind is tricky, a lot of our kiteable wind comes in unpredicted spurts and thermals that may only last a couple of hours and then immediately shut off. When the water reaches a certain temperature during the early spring, late fall, and throughout winter, Southwest winds have a hard time reaching the beaches. It is not uncommon for the offshore forecasts to predict 20-25knots of Southwest wind in conjunction with a warm front (ie thermal) and weather system. If the weather system is particularly strong and not accompanied by a lot of moisture, you may actually have that much wind at the beach. More often, the Southwest wind brings up the Southern moisture from Florida, as well as the warmer (and welcomed) temperatures. At the right time of the year this just feeds the thermals and makes for some great ocean kiting. Other times (like the early spring, late fall and winter), the cold water causes a large layer of moisture to develop along the beaches. This layer of moisture seems to block the onshore South to Southwest wind and turns a 20-25 knot beach forecast into a 10 knot day at best. For long range frontal forecasts, follow the frontal boundaries and isobars. But there are a lot of days that happen based more on local weather, rather than large area fronts (i.e., thermals or the lack thereof). A good rule to use 90% of the time is to pay closest attention to the Charleston harbor forecast and pilot buoy discussions (what we use for predicted wind forecast). A hot day in March with predicted SW 20kt 0-20 miles out likely means the coastal regions will only see a big haze, unless the SW are backed by a significant frontal boundary. Likewise, if you see a predicted SW 20kts 0-20 miles out during the summer, and a strong chance of thunderstorms are predicted throughout the day, your window for wind is likely to be very small.



How to get there

Transport
Car
Access
Short walk

Extra information

Rules
No information

Nightlife

No information