5 of the world’s best windsurfing destinations
Whether you’re a newbie seeking a 5-knot breeze, or a time-served windsurfer up for some serious planing, you need wind you can count on.
Although consistent and steady wind is never an absolute banker, there are certain locations dotted around the globe that rarely fail to disappoint. Combine this with clear water; try and throw in some awesome scenery, ideally with plenty to do when the sun goes down, and there you have it: a windsurfer’s honeypot. With all this in mind, here are our five top picks…
Wellington, New Zealand.
If it’s kudos you’re looking for, why not start with what the Guardian recently dubbed as the World’s Windiest City? It’s all to do with location; Cook Strait is the narrow gap that separates New Zealand’s North and South Islands and this creates a type of wind tunnel which funnels the gusts that move constantly across the South Pacific from South America.
Situated right at the southern tip of the North Island, Wellington takes the brunt of this, resulting in average wind speeds of 16.6mph. As a result, New Zealand’s capital is a mecca for sailors, kite surfers and of course, windsurfers.
In and around the city, Evans Bay, Eastbourne and Petone are favoured hotspots and are generally suitable for all levels of windsurfers. A little further out, the Wellington Windsurfing Association also recommends Plimmerton for some serious wavesailing. Best time to be there is Antipodean summer (September to January).
Those of you who tune in to televised watersports are likely to have come across the Luderitz Speed Challenge, an annual month-long speed sailing event for kite and windsurfers, where world record smashing is a matter of routine.
The town based around this natural harbour was first developed in the late 19th Century and has latterly become something of a bucket list destination for intrepid windsurfers. Grosse Bucht (Big Bay) is where it’s at; where experienced kite and windsurfers pit their wits against the Atlantic against a backdrop of rugged coast lines.
Literally meaning ‘strong, fast wind’, Fuerteventura is a popular and easily accessible holiday destination all year round, with an impressive windsurfing pedigree. The second largest of the Canary Islands, this mountainous location boasts a number of sweet spots where the prevailing north-east trade wind is notched up a level, making it ideal for slalom, speed and freestyling.
Situated about an hour’s drive from the airport, Sotavento is worthy of particular attention. Each year, it hosts the PWA Windsurfing and PKRA Kiteboarding World Cup events and has a full range of training zones and hire facilities to cater for the needs of experienced and novice windsurfers alike.
Average temperatures of 8.5 °C and frequent rain aren’t enough to deter the army of windsurfers, mostly from Central and Northern Europe who come to this beautiful North Sea spot to take advantage of gusts that vary between 22 and 38 knots.
Come September, it’s all about the pros, as this is when the Super Gran Slam PWA is in town, embracing wave, slalom and freestyle disciplines. An island close to Germany’s border with Denmark, Sylt is packed with hire shops, training schools and surf-focused resorts. Westerland tends to be where serious windsurfers get their kicks, whereas the slightly more shielded east side of the island is ideal for novices.
Travelling to a world-class windsurfing spot doesn’t necessarily mean a long-haul flight. Closer to home, the title of best UK windsurfing destination is a hotly contested one, but Poole is most definitely in the running.
An enclosed harbour location gives Poole a reliable array of south, south west, west and north west gusts. Wide depth shelves make it fantastic for honing your skills, while a decent array of stockists and training academies means there’s something for everyone shoreside.
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