Kiteboarding at St Kilda beach.Kiteboarding at St Kilda beach. Photo: Leigh Henningham

Windy conditions have proved a blessing and a curse for watersport businesses on Port Phillip Bay, with some reporting a downturn.

Strong gusts have particularly affected St Kilda paddleboard hirers.

Authorities have pleaded with boarders to play it safe in the water this summer, with the blustery conditions expected to continue this week.

Stand-Up Paddle HQ manager Vincent Passemier said his school was forced to cancel over 150 bookings atthe weekend.

“The weather was so bad we had to close,” he said.

With wind gusts reaching 76 km/h on Saturday, the school lost thousands of dollars.

Water sports business Kite Republic also had to cancel all paddle board hires at the weekend. Managing Director Chris Sal said the risk was too high.

“We just didn’t let people go out this weekend, it was too windy,” he said.

Kitesurfing lessons were also suspended due to northerly winds which threatened to sweep beginners out to sea.

Kite Republic head instructor George Brown said the kite surfing cancellations provided the perfect opportunity for staff to catch some waves of their own.

“Our whole crew went down to Rosebud,” he said.

“We did eleven hours of kiting. We were out there at 6 in the morning.”

The weekend’s winds were great for experienced boarders, he said. “It’s wicked for kiters.”

Kitesurfer Nathan Richardson, of Southbank, also spent the weekend chasing the wind. He said that many kiters had flocked to the water at Rosebud on Saturday, but few stand-up paddleboarders had braved the wind.

“They just don’t like the wind or chop so we don’t normally see stand up paddleboarders,” he said.

But Mr Passemier is staying positive.

“We are in Melbourne so we know it’s four seasons in one day, it’s just part of what we do,” he said.

Maritime Safety Victoria urged beachgoers to be vigilant as the windy conditions continue.

Waterway User Safety Manager Paul Corkill said paddleboarders and kite surfers must closely monitor the weather.

“Conditions can seem fine in the morning but can change quickly during the day as strong southerly winds can come through and that’s when boarders can be caught off guard,” he said.

Last summer, Maritime Safety Victoria rescued 14 kitesurfers and windsurfers.

The Age – 6 Jan, 2015: It’s a Thrill Wind

Original Story: