The Wind Report
Greetings my name is Mike van der Wolk and I own and operate 12 Wind Report stations in and around Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula - click here to see all Cape Town stations plus we provide wind info from numerous affiliates together with weather and surf and swell info from around South Africa.
The Current System - the Wind Report® v5
The current system is Version 5 which uses locally developed and manufactured iWeathar weather stations along with Davis anemometers. These were installed in December 2007 to replace the 5 year-old PC based stations due to inherent software and hardware problems associated with PC's at remote sites in the very corrosive windy seaside environment.
Russell Witthuhn of iWeathar has developed a vast network of weather stations, and through our association, provides wind data from their stations situated around South Africa.
This website went live in April 2007 offering to "Find Out before you Go!" a one-stop Wind & Weather info site to help you find the ideal conditions to get out to go and enjoy your favorite sport, and in safety. I do the coding and thanks to Alan Kemp for the initial design and graphs.
Nicholas Spagnoletti of Nitric Industries did coding to handle the data and create the graphs. The Premium Rate SMS service runs on Titbits.co.za and was developed and is still maintained by Ed van Kuik of Nitric Industries
History of the 'Pay to Use' service
The basis for the current service was laid in 1998. After many solo years I was fortunate to meet two civil engineers who are equally interested in the wind. Piet Streicher and Richard Simpson needed wind info to satisfy their passion for windsurfing. They erected their first weather station at Sunset Beach, and delivered the information via SMS messaging. I approached them to join forces and we made their wind info available to callers to the Wind Report on the 083 VAS service at that time. They erected stations at Hermanus, Langebaan and Swartriet. This association proved invaluable as they started BulkSMS.com along with Premiumrate SMS service Titbits which I today own and is the platform for the WindSMS.
The new expanded Wind Report® (V4) went live in October 2003. Previous versions of the Wind Report were based at each site and connected to an answering machine attached to a single phone line. Even though only one caller at a time could get wind info we still notched up 15,000 calls at Blouberg one December.
In 2002 Craig Jarvis started kite surfing and needed to know where the wind was. He approached me to join him and expand my existing service. His system used PC's and Davis anemometers. This service was borne with 7 stations, including affiliate station Cape Sport Center at Langebaan in October 2003. Expanding the service I opened new stations at Witsands near Scarborough in late 2005, and Cape Point in early 2006.
In Dec 2007 after changing the system over to dedicated iWeathar stations more sites were installed bringing the total to 12 - Melkbosstrand, Sunset Beach, Pringle Bay. Our association gives us access to another 4 stations - Camps Bay, Signal Hill, Macassar and Hermanus.
The 082 VAS voice service, originally started in 2003, was discontinued in late 2013 by our service provider, due to the cut in cellphone interconnect rates which affected revenues.
How it all started
The Wind Report® (Version 1) was started in 1987 by Howard Stasin the designer and manufacturer of world renowned Shaft Windsurfing Booms plus Shaft moulded paddles. Today he is Shaft Mouldings, call them on 021 704-1470 for all your plastics and rubber moulding requirements.
Howard wanted a system to allow him to check the wind around the Peninsula before driving from Houtbay to Blouberg. He came across the US WindTalker system and with expert assistance from numerous parties he developed his own version and started with stations at Blouberg and Muizenberg along with Bluewater Bay in PE (run by Brian Wilson of Suntrax) plus 2 stations in Johannesburg (frequently blitzed by lightning). The system consisted of an answering machine connected to the wind measuring system and it used mechanical voice to speak the wind conditions.
Howard and I met when he made an enquiry to purchase aluminium tubing for the paddles from NFM where I was employed. Fortuitously I joined him in 1990 because I wanted to know how the wind was affecting the surf for my paddlesurfing (now waveski surfing).
We reinstalled Version 2 in late 1990 at the Blouberg Surf Lifesaving club after the first redevelopment and landscaping at Big Bay. At this time it was a state-of-the-art system which utilized natural recorded voice. All components were custom manufactured.
False Bay Surf Lifesaving Club still houses the Muizenberg Wind Report. This station, in the eye of the South Easter, holds the operating record of 8 years with no failure of our own custom built anemometer which Howard developed.
Continuing to expand the network I opened new stations - Kommetjie at Imhoff Caravan Park in late '91 and at the Hottentots Holland Beach Sailing Club in the Strand in early '92, and in 2017 it is home to one of the most active Kitesurfing clubs in the country.
Early in '92 Telkom started their trial 087 network and we seized the opportunity to at last generate an income for the invaluable service we provided. To interface with Telkom we had to purchase and install a digital PABX switchboard near their exchange in Bellville which required us taking out a lease on premises nearby. Then disaster! In late '92 Telkom closed the 087 service down due to wholesale fraud, leaving both of us with gaping holes in our pockets and a 5 year lease.
Howard left the partnership and I continued with the Wind Report and funded it with income from my day job. Eventually with invaluable assistance from electronics guru Greg Chin, another paddlesurfing afficiando, we upgraded the equipment to Version 3 using his designed and manufactured new digital voice and answering equipment with off-the-shelf anemometers.
For the next 9 years until late 2003, the Wind Report remained a free service sponsored by my other ventures, as I believed in the value of the service.
Numerous people have assisted me with the Wind Report over the years and deserve thanks. If your name has been omitted please let me know and I will include you.
Get out and have a Blast!
Real Wind info - way more accurate than any forecast!
Real information to help you get the the maxx out of your favourite Wind, Kite, Surf and Air Sport.
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