Best Destinations for Windsurfing
Windsurfing is not a very complicated activity. As long as you have water and powerful gusts of wind, you should be able to windsurf. This means that almost any other body of water with good winds can lay claim to being the best destination for windsurfers. It takes more than a rental shack, fair winds, and a few waves to become a windsurfer’s haven, however. The place has to provide stunning scenery to make your windsurfing all the more worthwhile. The waters have to be sparkling clean, too. While fair winds are a must, powerful wind gusts are a must. These can provide you with the best windsurfing experience. And if you can capture a tunnel of water, then you’re in for a fantastic ride. That is why the following destinations are the world’s top 10 when it comes to windsurfing.
What’s the point of talking about windsurfing if you’re not going to include the world’s surfing – and windsurfing – capital? We’re talking about Maui in Hawaii, of course. While the island chain features areas that are ideal for windsurfing, there’s no denying that the Mecca of windsurfing is Maui.
Take note that this destination is on our list for a reason. Make that two. First is the windy season. Second is the wavy season. The windy season starts in May and runs all the way through October. This is the time of year when trade winds hit the shores of Maui like the Mjolnir of Thor hitting Surtur right in between the fire demon’s eyes. The water is in the comfortable 80s, too.
If you’re planning on going for extreme windsurfing, you should head to Ho’okipa Beach in the winter months. The waves generated during this time of the year can reach heights of 20 feet. Kanaha Bay is excellent for beginners as an offshore reef protects the bay from chop. Alternatively, you can go windsurfing with the whales from December 15 to May 15 every year. Make sure you keep your distance, though; lest you incur fines or jail time.
2. Greek Islands
There’s more to Greece than history, mythology and architecture. The Greek Islands, for example, are also a favorite among world-class windsurfers. The best way to enjoy windsurfing in Greece? Island-hopping, of course! Instead of chartering a yacht or a fancy sailboat, however, you’re better off with your windsurfing board.
During the summer, powerful winds coming from the Aegean Sea sweep across the Greek island of Naxos. It is here where you get to test your windsurfing abilities while marveling at the stunning coastline of this Greek island. There is another island near Naxos – Paros – that happens to be the host of several Professional Windsurfers Association World Cups. Consider it the windsurfer’s equivalent of your World Cup or the Olympics. If the pros flock to this part of the globe to compete year in and year out, then the winds must be that good.
For windsurfing newbies, the place to be is Rhodes. Mornings are always ideal since the sea is calmer during this time of day. Freestylers and wind-crazed acrobats have the afternoons to show their stuff. If you’re looking to learn a thing or two about windsurfing, then Lefkada Island has many windsurfing schools you can enroll in.
3. Lake Arenal in Costa Rica
If you’re looking for an unusual windsurfing destination, Lake Arenal in Costa Rica beckons for you. For starters, this is a lake and not the sea or ocean. You might think that the winds here are mediocre at best. You’re wrong. This region can produce 25-mile-per-hour winds that only those with several years of windsurfing experience can handle. Add to this the occasional pyrotechnics coming from the Arenal Volcano and you’ve got a very unique windsurfing experience.
The waves in the lake aren’t tame, too. They may not reach the 20-foot giants of Hawaii, but 5-foot high waves in a lake are simply astonishing. It’s for adrenaline junkies and windsurfers who prefer speed over style.
Beginners of windsurfing can take the northern end of Lake Arenal where it is safer. The western portion of the lake is where the adrenaline junkies, adventurers, and extreme windsurfers showcase their skills and bravado. This part of Lake Arenal comes with warm winds and cool waters; the perfect combination for hardcore windsurfing conditions. It’s the best place for jumping and slalom.
Everyone knows how turbulent the Atlantic can be. Its energy is what drives the waves that pummel the shores of Portugal in the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula. The coastline of this nation is one of the planet’s windiest places complete with powerful trade winds. These are most evident during the summer months, turning the idyllic coast of Guincho into a windsurfer’s paradise.
Tricksters always head to Baleal, however. It is here where they get to showcase their talents in big wave surfing. Newbies can always head to the Algarve coast as the winds are gentler and more favorable to those who are still learning the ropes. The coast between Sagres and Albufeira is also ideal for beginners as it has shallow and warm waters.
Any coastal part of Portugal can be a windsurfer’s haven, of course. The point here is for beginners to head out to the water in the morning as the winds are calmer. Pros and advanced riders can take to the waters in the afternoon. By then, the winds are at their peak speed.
5. Tarifa in Spain
If Portugal has one of the windiest coastlines on the planet, the Tarifa region in Spain has one of the choppiest waters that are begging windsurfers to ride them. The strong winds that pass through the historic Strait of Gibraltar provide the southern tip of Spain some of the best places to windsurf. With only a few days of peace and calm every year, this is a paradise for windsurfers all year round.
Tarifa is not only famous for its strong winds and choppy waters that are ideal for windsurfing. It also has many rental shops and surfing schools, making it the windsurfing capital in Europe. Las Dunas provides excellent conditions for beginning windsurfers. Intermediate and advanced riders almost always head out to the Valdevaqueros Beach.
There are other water sports activities in the area, too. Tarifa boasts of 7 miles of sandy white beaches that can compete with more famous beaches in California, Bali, and the Caribbean. The water temperatures are on the colder side, however. A full wetsuit is a must if ever you’re heading to Tarifa in autumn or winter.
6. Red Sea in Egypt
There are plenty of reasons to visit Egypt. Aside from the pyramids and tombs of pharaohs and ancient architecture, the waters in the Red Sea that wash the shores of Egypt and Saudi Arabia can be a fascinating windsurfing destination, too. You’ll be treated to no less than 300 days of windy conditions courtesy of the small mountains that surround the region. Head out in the afternoon and you’ll have your windsurfing board soaring through the skies.
Here’s a tip. If you head farther north, you’re guaranteed better windsurfing conditions. This is not to say that the southern region of the Red Sea is for sissies. You’ll still get thermal winds that are a mainstay in this part of the globe. The water is crystal clear and very warm. It is too warm, in fact, that you’ll be more than happy to forget windsurfing and take a dip in the waters instead.
Hurghada is best for novice windsurfers as the waters here are milder and gentler than the other regions. It’s perfect for kitesurfing, too. Other destinations in the Red Sea which are perfect for novice windsurfers include Soma Bay, Safaga, and MarsaAlam.
7. Canary Islands
There are windsurfers who prefer speed over height. If you’re this kind of windsurfer, then you’ve got to head to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. This place plays host to the annual Windsurfing World Championships every July. You can rely on strong trade winds to perfect your slalom runs. Sotavento Beach happens to be the perfect place to try your luck in taming the winds.
One of the reasons why windsurfers flock to this region is because it remains underdeveloped. For us city dwellers, we always think of a least developed place as something not worthy of going. But for avid fans of the sport, it means the place doesn’t have the perennial problem of many beaches in the world – overcrowding. This also means you can enjoy windsurfing and other water-related activities without ever bumping into others. Fuerteventura is a haven for water adventure lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
Costa Calma and Playa de Sotavento de Jandia are a favorite among newbies. Avid windsurfers can always opt for El Cotillo and Corralejo since these areas more exposed to the winter swells and trade winds that come from the Atlantic.
There’s a strip of land in Namibia that comes with different names. Namibian Bushmen call it The Land God Made in Anger. Portuguese sailors, on the other hand, call it The Gates of Hell. But for windsurfers, Skeleton Coast is a paradise; that is if you can brave its heavy surf and unforgiving winds. This part of Africa is inhospitable at best, its waters ever more so. Yet, it is a favorite destination by water sports enthusiasts including windsurfers because of its powerful winds. No wonder it is home to a month-long world speed-sailing event.
Every year Luderitz hosts the Luderitz Speed Challenge which gathers the world’s fastest windsurfers and kitesurfers in a show of sportsmanship, agility, balance, and speed. The event takes place against the rugged yet stunning backdrop of the Skeleton Coast.
If you’re looking for strong winds with choppy waters, then Swakopmud is the area where you should windsurf. Your wit and skills will be put to the test against the might of the feisty Atlantic. Keep in mind, however, that the waters in this part of the globe are cold so a full wetsuit is vital.
With a rich history, culture, and a scenic coast, Morocco is one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. From the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region in the north to the Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab in the south, windsurfers have access to more than 2,200 miles of warm waters, steady winds, and a more amiable Atlantic coastal climate. Not many consider Morocco as a windsurfing destination, but you should. It can provide you with an unparalleled windsurfing experience all year round.
Freestyle and slalom windsurfers love the ever-reliable winds of Dakhla from September to May. The winds are stronger in the afternoon, yet the water surface remains flat. It’s an advantage that you seldom see in an area that claims to be one of the planet’s best windsurfing destinations.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Essaouira is also a favorite among windsurfer. It is both laid-back and lively and can provide you with a unique Moroccan experience on top of its windsurfing attributes. From April to October, intermediate-level windsurfers take to the surf to take full advantage of the Atlantic’s powerful winds. May to September is best for beginners as the waters are calmer.
10. Cabarete in the Dominican Republic
This small coastal village in the Dominican Republic is about 35 minutes from the country’s Puerto Plata International Airport. It may not have the glitz and glam of other famous windsurfing destinations, but it can hold out its own.
For decades, Cabarete is a favorite not only among windsurfers but also among kitesurfers. Between June and August, wind speeds can reach anywhere between 24 and 41 MPH. The winter months between January and March also provide strong winds of almost the same speed. This makes Cabarete one of the most ideal places to windsurf. There are windsurfing schools for you to enlist in and learn one or two things about this water adventure.
If you’re ready to take your windsurfing adventures to the next level you now have 10 different options to choose from.