Tips from the top – Sportif’s top 2017 windsurfing holiday recommendations
Words and pics: Jane Faughnan, Sportif Travel
With better weather comes thoughts of overseas windsurfing adventures. But where to head on your holibobs this season? Jane Faughnan from Sportif gives some suggestions.
Jane says: ‘We have over 60 worldwide destinations to choose, from summer locations in the Mediterranean to more exotic spots further afield. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a top luxury resort we can advise on where’s best to go at different times. It doesn’t matter if you’re after flat water for freestyle/slalom or wave sailing we’ll have something suitable. And what about activities that will keep non-windsurfing friends and family happy while you are on the water? Read on to find out more…’
Sotavento, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
For high wind Sotavento, on the south west coast of Fuerteventura, is a great choice. Playa Sotavento is set just south of the beach resort of Costa Calma, around one hour south of Rosaria Airport, set on a remote beach surrounded by sand dunes. The main wind season is from June to August and if you book early you can stay right on the lagoon and watch the best in the world compete during the World Cup at the end of July. Go outside of these months in May and September and you’ll enjoy less strong conditions. The whole of the Sotavento lagoon is tidal so those wishing to sail in the lagoon will have 2 periods in the month with water in the lagoon and is ideal for beginners and practising your moves. There is one 4* hotel on the spot with 4 swimming pools, kids club, spa, 3 restaurants plus adults only areas and a nightclub. There are further options of self-catering apartments, all-inclusive and luxury hotels in Costa Calma just 15 minute drive north. Here you can also find a range of restaurants, bars and shops and a sheltered beach, which is more suitable for beginners in the peak months of July and August. Further south on the lagoon is the 3rd spot of Risco del Paso which is more protected and less busy. Other activities on offer include kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding, land sailing, cycling and scuba diving. Sotavento offers over 500 of the latest boards from JP and Starboard with over 1000 rigs from Neil Pryde, all completely replaced every year as well as Fanatic and North equipment at Risco del Paso and Costa Calma beaches, available to pre-book at discounted prices through Sportif.
Safaga, Red Sea
You can’t beat the Red Sea for flat water and consistent wind. With dedicated windsurf centres right on the beach next to your hotel, Safaga is one of the most popular windsurf holiday destinations for all levels of windsurfers year round. Set on a crescent shaped sandy bay the azure water and year round sunshine is ideal. For those wishing to take a beginner’s or improver’s course the shallow, sheltered area is just by the centre. More advanced windsurfers will enjoy endless turquoise water lagoons and superb wind stats, averaging F4 Beaufort for over 75% of days and heading up to over 90% of days between August and October to give you the best chance of maximising your time on the water. Winds are cross shore with very little to no shore break. You can rent the latest Fanatic and North where you pre-book your board and are able to swop daily depending on local conditions. You can also windsurf to nearby Toubia Island just 3.5km away. The all-inclusive hotels offer the best value holidays around with warm water 25°C+ from May up to 28°C in August. Other sports and activities available including snorkelling, scuba diving, kitesurfing and stand up paddle boarding. From Safaga you can book quad bike, horse riding and cultural excursions to the Valley of the Kings, home of Tutankhamun’s tomb or the ancient Egyptian temples at Luxor. There is a choice of 3*, 4* and 5* all-inclusive hotels with prices starting at £599pp including flights and transfers and regular special offers including hotel upgrades or early booking discounts with Sportif.
Pidgeon Point, Tobago, Caribbean
Tobago, in the southern Caribbean Sea, offers windsurfing holidays from November to July for all levels of windsurfer. The best wind is from December to June when the trade winds arrive from the Atlantic. The windsurfing takes place at the Bon Accord lagoon, located off the protected National Park at Pidgeon Point on the south west of the island. A vast lagoon sits inside Bucco Reef just off Pidgeon point with flat water conditions and a good swell on the outside. Winds are cross shore from the right, sometimes switching on shore and average 17-20 knots depending on the month. Beginners and intermediates can get going with ease as there’s plenty of room for slalom and freestyle sailing. The windsurf centre offers a range of JP and Fanatic board and over 90 rigs from NeilPryde and North from 1-8.2m. The centre also offers kiteboarding, surfing, catamaran sailing, kayaking and you can rent stand up paddle boards, take some lessons and join an escorted tour. To explore the island book a jeep excursions to see the spectacular rainforest on the north coast. There are many local bars or restaurants in the area with a visit to the local ‘jump up’ weekly party a must. Tobago hosts regular festivals and the annual Mardi Gras Carnival with its competing steel bands and Calypso music heard through the night. Direct weekly flights are via St Lucia and Antigua are just over 9 hours and year round temps are 29°C. Tobago is one of the best value Caribbean islands and Sportif offer windsurfing clinics during February and March with Peter Hart and Jem Hall.
Le Morne, Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Mauritius has long been thought of as top of the wish list for many windsurfers. Picture postcard views of palm trees next to on beautiful sandy beaches, looking out on the widest range of conditions you will possibly find in one place. Flat water through gentle chop to fringing reefs with small to awesome waves. The main windsurfing venue is at Le Morne on the south west of the island around 1 hour 15 minutes from the airport and set below the imposing mountain of Le Morne Brabant. The lagoon is shallow with a maximum depth of 4 meters, a sandy beach launch and easy access to waves with a range of conditions for slalom and freestylers. Aspiring wave sailors, depending on the time of year, can see the best in the world riding the ‘professionals only’ One Eye and build up their skills on the Little reef or Manawa reef with waves from less than 0.5m up to mast high on big days. Mauritius has two seasons: from November to March temperatures vary between 24-32°C. The best wind months are from May to December and Sportif pro coaching clinics take place between September and November with Peter Hart and Jem Hall. There are 4* all-inclusive hotels suitable for families or adults only as well as 5* deluxe, exclusive beach resorts on the spot, minutes from the water’s edge with a choice of with fine dining, golf and tennis plus spas, kids clubs and range of other watersports including kitesurfing, SUP and surfing. Local excursions include trekking to the nearby Black River national park, boat and dolphin watching trips, snorkelling, scuba, fishing or historical tours and shopping trips to the port capital of St Louis. Sportif offers multi-sport discounted packages to Mauritius including rental and instruction for 1 week in windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP and surfing from £305 per person in February and March.
Jeri is located in the Brazilian state of Ceara, with almost mythical conditions, streets of sand and slow pace of life – except on the water! Originally a fishing village the last 20 years has seen an increase in windsurfing tourism but still retains its charm. The conditions here live up to its reputation with the best in the world training here. There are three main sailing areas, ‘the Point’ with smooth waves leading to flat water in between allowing you to jump, tack, surf or freestyle. The area in front of the landmark ‘Sunset Dune’ – famed for the gathering crowds at the end of the day, has the largest flat water expanse for freestyle with gentle breaking waves near the shoreline. Malhada, for advanced sailors only, is upwind of ‘the Point’ has the best starboard jumping ramps, a favourite for freestyle champion, Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne. Wave sizes in Jeri vary from waist to shoulder height in the main season, September to January. These peak months are busy and the best accommodation gets booked up 6 months in advance. You can walk from one side of the town to the other in 15 minutes and accommodation varies from budget pousadas to luxury 5* hotels with private pools and helicopter landing pads. Off the water activities include chilling waterside and watching the action or partying into the night. The area is now a National Park with protected mangroves, dunes and surrounding estuaries which you can explore by buggy or SUP boards. Sportif offer early season booking discounts with 10 days rental for the price of 5 in selected months.
Sportif Travel are a specialist windsurf and sports UK tour operator offering ATOL guaranteed holidays including hotels, flights, transfers, car hire, rental and instruction sports packages, established in 1982. Other destinations on offer include Spain, the Greek Islands, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Turkey, Cape Verde, Morocco, Red Sea, Kenya, Caribbean and Vietnam. Full details of the destinations, hotels, pictures, videos and latest offers can be found on www.sportif.travel Tel: 01273 944919