Summer is upon us, and for many, that means vacation. While lazy beach days and lounging around the pool works for some, if adventure is on your mind, and you love mastering new water sports, windsurfing can be just the thing.
Planning a vacation around sports can be a great option for those more athletically inclined. However, be sure to plan, and make sure to endurance and strength train for at least 3-6 months prior to leaving, as both accidents (usually due to lack of preparation) and weather can disrupt even the best laid plans. Windsurfing is a great way to get out and enjoy the water and weather, and both Europe and the Caribbean islands have some of the best windsurfing spots in the world.
What to Look For
As a sport, windsurfing is all about location. The best spots combine excellent cross winds with clean beaches and calm seas, and are typically connected to resorts or quieter, more laid back stretches of coastline. You’re not looking for monster waves and big gusts, but medium chop, with consistent winds that can sustain momentum while you’re out on the water. Some of the best windsurfing spots you should check out include:
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
In the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are among the most popular places to go for windsurfing in the Mediterranean. While there, it’s worth checking out Sotavento Beach, home to powerful winds and consistent surf all year round. The water is blue and clear, and there are lots of beach bars to grab a drink when the surf has worn you out for the day.
If you’re looking for a Caribbean windsurfing break, then it’s a good idea to consider Aruba, an island located off the coast of Venezuela; the island combines white sandy beaches like Boca Grande (or Grandi, as locals spell it) with ocean sites that are ideal for windsurfing and diving. Most just launch from the beach, as the water is shallow, with coral reefs and dive sites just about 100 feet off the beach.
Aruba is one of my favorite windsurfing spots, and being a small island, you can easily rent a car and drive from beach to beach in a few minutes to an hour. At night, you can see the lights of Venezuela from the lower tip of the island. Keep in mind that the East/Northeast side of the island is extremely rough surf, and not fit for windsurfing.
Editor’s note: If you’re looking to quench you thirst after a long day in the hot sun, Balashi is the official beer brand of Aruba. Amstel and Heineken are also easily available, since the country is under Dutch jurisdiction. For dining, check out an authentic Aruban favorite, Papiamento. It’s a local hot spot, with dishes like baked shrimp, grouper with champagne sauce, and of course, lots of curry and coconut.
Another windsurfing spot that makes the most of the Atlantic headwinds coming into Europe, Tarifa in the Straits of Gibraltar is also one of the most picturesque places you can find for windsurfing. Particularly look into exploring the old town and cottages around the island if you want to relax when not on the water.
Gran Canaria, Spain
This windsurfing spot is distinguished by great beaches like Vargas, as well as the Pozo Izquierdo zone, home to excellent cross winds and clear waters. The World Windsurfing Championships are also held on the island. More information on the Gran Canaria Islands can be found on Tripadvisor.
Gwithian Beach, Cornwall
A little closer to home, the Atlantic currents that blow over this north west facing beach in Cornwall make it an ideal place to improve your windsurfing and more general surfing skills. Gwithian Beach also has several windsurfing instruction clubs close to the water.
Island of Tiree, Hebrides
Located north of Glasgow, the Island of Tiree in the Hebrides benefits from consistent winds and a strong reputation for surfing. The island is also home to the Tiree Wave Classic windsurfing event.
For tropical sun and clear waters, as well as the chance of exploring volcanic landscapes, it’s hard to beat Maui in Hawaii. As well as offering a beautiful backdrop for windsurfing, the clear waters of the island enable high levels of visibility deep sea scuba diving.
This Greek island in the Aegean Sea combines Mediterranean level heat with ancient beach settlements and villages, making it a relaxing, and relatively quiet place from which to experiment with windsurfing.
A popular destination in recent years for travelers wanting an inexpensive European journey, Turkey and the beach resort of Alacati offer multiple opportunities for windsurfing in sheltered bays with shallow courses; particularly strong for beginners.
Soma Bay, Egypt
One of the best places in which to enjoy the Red Sea, Soma Bay offers flat waters and clean beaches, as well as a strong reputation for supporting beginner windsurfers as they take their first lessons.
Author Bio: Russell Harroway is a travel blogger and amateur windsurfer. Russell can be found blogging about the different places he’s experienced windsurfing around the world.
Photo credit: PacotesTurquia.com