Throughout the year, the Turks and Caicos typically generally experiences an east southeast trade wind, with wind speeds in the 12-18 mph (19-29kph) range.
Passing storms and squalls do shift wind directions at times, and discounting tropical cyclones, such storm are typically seen during the winter months.
As the Turks and Caicos is located in the tropical Atlantic, the high and low tide changes, or tidal range, does not tend to be drastic, with a typical difference of about 2-2.6 feet (.6-.8m). Abnormal tides, such as spring tides may cause unusual lows and highs, yet these are never really exteme.
Neap tides, experienced when the sun and moon are opposite each other and their gravitational pulls cancel each out a bit, tend to create conditions that allow for the best underwater visibility for snorkelling and diving.
The Turks and Caicos generally doesn’t experience the huge waves that some other tropical destinations such as Hawaii, Barbados and Puerto Rico see at times.
The ocean topography of the plateaus supporting our islands largely account for the lack of a significant waves. Regions that do experience large breaks usually have complex submarine terrains that essentially funnel the open ocean swell to specific areas, where a gradually sloping ocean floor allows the waves to stack into a tremendous break.
The Turks and Caicos Islands however sit on two distinct shelfs (the Turks Islands group and the Caicos Islands group) that have a rather abrupt transition from the surrounding 10,000 foot (3,000 meter) Atlantic ocean floor to the very shallow water on top of the plateaus. Although supporting unparalleled wall diving, our ocean topography doesn’t lend itself well to large wave formation.
The best place in the country to watch the full glory of large breaking waves is either Northwest Point National Park on Providenciales or Mudjin Harbour and the Crossing Place Trail on Middle Caicos. Keep in mind that wave conditions are flat more often than not.
Amazing flatwater kiteboarding and windsurfing can be had at many locations throughout the Turks and Caicos. Due to the trade wind directions, the best kite spots are typically south-eastern facing beaches on the south sides of our islands. The best such example is the popular Long Bay Beach on Providenciales, which is one of the top kiting location in the region.
On the occasional days that see a northerly breeze, our spectacular north coasts and beaches become a bit more viable for kiting.
The Turks and Caicos lacks the reputation as a surfing destination simply due to the unpredictability and inconsistencies in our breaks. At times we do see wonderful surfing waves, but the quality of the waves hinges highly on the swell direction. The conditions on the barrier reef off of the Caicos Islands may easily become messy.
Although a little more difficult to access from the surfer’s perspective, Grand Turk does see a better break at some off shore sites.