Squamish without a doubt is one of the most interesting places in Canada that you can find for windsurfing. Located at the end of Howe sound, the Squamish spit borders between the Squamish river mouth where it spills into Howe sound, and the Squamish estuary. On the far side of the estuary is Squamish terminals where during the summer large ships often dock.
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Like most thermal based winds, the wind turns mid morning building to around 20 knots just after noon. The thermals build like this almost every single sunny day from early spring through early autumn with amazing consistency. Some days the wind can build to 25 knots even 30 when the conditions are perfect. In the estuary or leeward side of the spit are great kiting conditions since kites are able to fly above the eddies created by the spit. The wind can last and even build to 8 though more often lasts until about 6.
Interestingly enough, unlike the windsurfing done in most rivers, the wind blows on a diagonal in relation to the river. Due to the size of the river---at most 50 meters in width---it is very fast flowing compared to most others. I have seen it flow up to 20kph or 10 knots as I matched it driving down the spit during an extreme low tide. When sailing into the river from shore it often seems that you are barely moving. The most unique thing about this is that due to it being at the end of an inlet, it is strongly affected by the tide creating nice chop that almost stands still during high tide and perfectly flat water when the tide is low because of a sandbar that becomes exposed on the far side of the river. In turn, the water can be milky white in color and near fresh. Some days there can be a great amount of debris floating down the river that you have to watch out for. This season, a stump has lodged itself on one of the sandbars off the end of the spit.
Rig & Launch
All of the rigging is done on the mattresses setup on the spit behind a concrete barrier blocking the wind. By convention Windsurfers rig behind the wall further on the spit while Kiters setup their kites and lines on the end of the spit. The launch itself can be quite difficult. Launching on the riverside you have to deal with the river current and large rocks while on the riverside. On the estuary side you have the wind shadow from the pilings at the end of the Spit.
You have to watch out for a lot of debris when it's low tide and in the middle of the season. Many people have broken fins, fin boxes and noses by hitting such items or the sandbars. Primarily you have to watch the river current so as not to get pushing into the Spit.
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