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 Send along your tips, stories, and photos of travelling to windsurf recreationally and competitively. 
 
March 24, 2017
 
Cape Town Times by Philip Soltysiak

I’m not much of a tourist. Spending 2 months in Cape Town I only went on 3 hikes and wine tasting once. However, I did drive 7000km to windsurf and occasionally sup-surf 16 different spots. To give you an idea here is a map where I marked all the spots we windsurfed with a red star. The green stars are where we surfed.

We did all types of windsurfing, mostly jumping on the ocean and freestyling on the lakes, but we even squeezed in some superX (racing with obstacles, duck jibes, loops and spocks) and wave riding.

There were a few windless days, but they were very much welcome as we changed gears to surf or play tennis and squeeze in those touristy activities.

Were there sharks lurking around? I didn’t see any, but supposedly a spot we sailed called Fish Hoek is about as sharky as it gets. We parked next to the shark warning system sign. Nobody was in the water, but the wind, waves, and more importantly grassy rigging made us forget the flag system altogether. Later we realized we were being neither brave nor foolish, as mid way through our session a paddling club joined us in the water. About 50 young paddlers on kayaks and paddle boards were busy getting flipped and tossed around by the waves. They looked like shark bait to me… Luckily our Great White friends didn’t notice either of us. We shared the bay and the young paddlers were stoked to have us jumping and ripping by them.

Some other close wildlife encounters I had were nearly crashing with a seal while surfing, having about 10 ostriches cross the road on a drive from Kraalbai to Langebaan, and seeing an Orca whale in Langebaan.

Going through my phone pictures now it’s obvious to me that I was clearly impressed by the scenery around Cape Town – or maybe it was the panorama feature on my phone’s camera which impressed me. Either way, I’ll share some of the pictures with you. As amazed as you may be with my panorama photo skills, please keep in mind that these photos don’t do the scenery justice.

Now I’m home in Canada getting a few things organized before the next trip to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 2 weeks time. I’ll be hosting a 4 day freestyle clinic there, so contact me if you want to sign up! I’ll also be racing as part of the OBX-Wind event, long distance and slalom. Oh I can’t wait to get on the slalom gear again!

 

More Information and Pictures (click here) 
 
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Free me! Surf more. Pay less.
 
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Hout Bay
 
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Map of spots I windsurfed in Cape Town
 
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Rocket Air in Big Bay. Photo by Kirill Umrikhin.
 
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Shark Flag Warning System.
I’ve never seen the green one up…
 
 
 
March 5, 2017 ( from Jill )
 
Terrific Tobago

Tobago offers a great windsurfing vacation, and more. 

The small island of Tobago is a paradise of warmth and beauty.  Tobago rests northeast of its larger sister-island Trinidad.  Together, they rest in the waters above the northeast corner of Venezuela in South America.
 

I travelled solo to join Jem Hall on his astounding week-two Tobago Clinic from February 14th to 21st, 2017.   Yet, even before Jem’s clinic started, the windsurfing, friends, and other activities were easily found.  The other attractions and interesting history of Tobago also encourage a family vacation.
 

Renting windsurfing equipment in Tobago is available at Radical Sports with Brett Kenny and his team, located inside Pigeon Point Heritage Park.  English, German, and other languages are spoken there.  Radical Sports is outfitted well with over 70 windsurfing boards and 20 SUPs.  The windy season is from mid-December to the end of June.  February and March are their busiest months.  Their equipment includes the ability to get kids as young as 6 or 7 years old, and beginners on the water.  Activities they offer, beyond windsurfing, are:  SUP, snorkeling, kiting, sailing on the Hobbie Wave, a half-pipe skate board ramp with knee and elbow pads for kids, a ping-pong table if there is no wind, pilates, a “liming” lounge, and an amazing night-time bio-luminescent-tour too.   The water is incredibly beautiful and consistently warm with its turquoise shining bright colours.  It holds sea turtles, colourful fish by the reef, and stingrays that will show themselves but gently dart away from you.  There is nothing in the water to be concerned about.  At low tide, the water is shallow.  The area where you sail safely inside the reef is large and inviting.  There is some chop at high-tide.  Waves are limited off the island.  Overall, this is a great trip for beginner to advanced intermediate windsurfers.  It’s worth taking your own harness, hat, and lots of SPF; the sun is hot!

If you are wise, you will sign-up-for a Jem Hall Clinic in Tobago (or anywhere else for that matter).  Jem is direct, fun, and is a focused coach.  This was my first clinic with Jem and I am sure I will be going back for more of his enthusiasm.  His clinic was filled with a like-minded group of windsurfing-addicts - wonderful company!  What fun.  During Jem’s clinic, you spend the whole day and most of the evening together.  In some ways it is easier to travel solo for Jem’s clinics, as you get to focus on learning and enjoying the group.  However, at our clinic, two people brought their significant others and it was a pleasure to have them also in the mix for dinners etc.  I learned a lot from Jem in a few days.  He utilized video, pictures, and his keen eye for constructive criticism.  For instance, I finally understood the benefits of getting my hands closer together on the boom while sailing, I became more balanced in the harness, and improved my fast tacks, gybes and overall stance.  

Radical Sports also offers lessons.   Further, if you go with your family, and they are not windsurfers, they will be comfortable close around the corner on the same beach where it is (surprisingly!) not windy.  There are lots of other activities and everyone can find something fun that suits them.  Food, drinks, showers, and bathrooms on the beach are all nearby and are good.

While in Tobago I stayed at Shepherd’s Inn, where the staff were remarkably warm, helpful and accommodating.   I looked forward to seeing them!  It is a small, pretty hotel that has a pool, a good restaurant and bar, and well-landscaped grounds.  The rooms are very comfortable and my stay there was very positive.  Unlike some vacations where I have rented an apartment and done my own cooking, due to the availability of groceries, I would recommend picking a good hotel, like Shepherd’s Inn.  Having a small fridge to accommodate snacks is enough.   Otherwise, eat at restaurants.  Two mouth-watering restaurants we went to while there were Dillons with deliciously flavoured fish, and the fancy Café Bistro.


Beyond windsurfing, I had such fantastic other-adventures!  Please consider going on the bio tour with Brett or his brother from Radical Sports where you take a night-time SUP or kayak out into the ocean and get to swim in a lagoon where microscopic plankton dinoflagellates delight you with their glow- it is an experience of a life time.   Think of the whale scene from the movie Life of Pi, in reference to the glowing water when stimulated…. and the feeling of magic.  Also, Being with Horses enchants you with a horseback riding experience like no other.  It is a special place where they take a different and very thoughtful approach with the horses.  For instance, it is the horse that picks its rider from the group!  You also get to ride the horse in the beautiful waters off of Buccoo beach.   Further, it is worthwhile to take a tour around the island by a hired driver.  Steve was an informative host for me and my friend Arno, telling us of the history of Tobago, letting us climb and swim in the Argyle waterfalls, driving us through the beautiful rainforest reserve, and showing us the stunning trees, fruits, cocoa, animals and sights.  Mountain biking, bird watching, and scuba diving are other options.  Also, you will not be able to miss the glass-bottom boats for snorkeling by the reef and swimming at Nylon Pool out in the water.  Swimming in Nylon Pool apparently takes 10 years off your age…. this hasn’t worked for me yet….. but it was certainly still worth the experience!

You could easily enjoy windsurfing,”liming” and the welcoming atmosphere at Radical Sports for your entire trip.  However, there is more available on this beautiful Island, if you have the time and urge to explore. 

Enjoy!

Here are some key links & info:

Jem Hall:  http://jemhall.com/technique.html

Jem’s great coaching tips: https://vimeo.com/channels/top100windsurfingtips

UK’s Windsurf Magazine highlights a video from Jem’s Tobago Clinic on Week One 2017: http://www.windsurf.co.uk/45321-2/

Radical Sport Windsurfing & Bio Luminescence Tour: http://www.radicalsportstobago.com/

Shepherd’s  Inn: https://www.shepherdsinntobago.com

Horse back riding: http://www.being-with-horses.com

Steve’s taxi service: 868-680-8631

Restaurant: Dillons with delicious fish: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g1026381-d1046679-r54903553-Dillons-Crown_Point_Tobago_Trinidad_and_Tobago.html

Restaurant: fancy Café Bistro: https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1463488-d9729666-i168734337-Mesoreen_Cafe_Bistro-Bon_Accord_Tobago_Trinidad_and_Tobago.html

 

 
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Jem Hall demonstrates at his clinic 
 
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Radical Sports 
 
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Riding on the beach  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January, 2017 ( by Tony Rothchild, member of Toronto Windsurfing Club)
 
Tony’s Amazing windsurfing trip to Bonaire
Accommodation: Comfortable chalet at the Sorobon Beach Resort for the first week with friendly and helpful staff and steps away from the sandy beach with plenty of shaded cabanas and lounge chairs.

https://www.sorobonbeachresort.com/.

Great restaurant for classy dinners and beach bar for lunches with daily specials. Recommend the all you can eat Wok and Indonesian nights. Continental breakfast very basic.

No car needed for first week as Jibe City for windsurfing rental is right next door. Stocked up on snacks and drinks at the Van Den Tweel Supermarket by taking a taxi into Kralendijk ($20 each way)

After a week we wanted to explore a bit of the island so we rented a car and moved to home-away-from-home Lac Baai Apartments which are beautifully decorated and look out over Lac Baai.

Only 5 minutes away by car to Jibe City and the Hangout Bar for refreshments and lounge chairs. They close by 6pm except for BBQ night on Thursdays; cooking fun at your own table.

Rented my windsurfing equipment from Jibe City:

(http://www.jibecity.com/Rates.html) with a huge selection of boards and sails for every condition. You select the board and get the rig delivered to you on the beach by the friendly, attentive staff!

World class boards from Fanatic, JP, RRD and double fin boards from F2. Many were brand new! Select volume to suit conditions and skill preference from Fanatic Shark 165 down to Free Wave 86. Fully rigged sails of all popular sizes from Severne and North Sails. http://www.jibecity.com/equipment.html.

 

Also available were stand-up-paddle boards and kayaks so we would often paddle out to the reef and one of us snorkel around for half an hour before heading back. Tons of fish and coral. Bonaire is world known as one of the best off shore dive locations but for me is definitely the best windsurfing location because of its perfect shallow bay, protected by the reef and constant onshore winds!

I had 12 full days of blasting on the water. Sometimes 2-3 hours straight from 8am till 5:30pm.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bid7MsQehRg

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click to watch video about Jibe City 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 16, 2016  (from www.philipsoltysiak.com)
 
Secrets of Jeri

So we continue with the eat, sleep, windsurf theme of my blog. After all that’s pretty much all I do. So in this post you’ll read about bakeries, what I do when I should be sleeping in Jeri, and I’ll even squeeze in a bit about windsurfing.

Food secrets – bakeries!!!

There are numerous bakeries here, but my favourites are two you might have never seen while roaming the streets of Jericoacoara.

La Boulangerie has a simple selection of croissants and baguettes, and is the only one which offers this european style of baked goods – they’re almost always hot and fresh from the oven. It’s a great morning stop if you’re an early bird who loves a croissant and coffee. Don’t forget to ask for a jar of their maracuja marmalade. It’s situated on the corner of Rua Principal and the 3rd alley crossing between Rua Principal and Rua San Francisco.

The midnight bakery, or Padaria Santo Antonio is no secret to the night owls, but the innocent may not be aware of this hidden gem on their rare nights out. Only open from 2am – 5am, it’s got a selection of “salgados” – savoury baked breads – to satisfy your post “Forro” hunger. The streets of Jeri may be quiet at that time of night, but the midnight bakery is always happening. Find it near the top of Rua San Francisco.

Forro – Serramar or Sweaty – choose wisely!

Forro is a traditional music and dance originating from Northeastern Brazil. Here in Jeri you can listen and dance Forro every night.

The most popular spot is a restaurant called Dona Amelia, which has live Forro music and dance floor. At exactly 22:37 the restaurant dims the lights, moves the tables, and a live band starts playing on the traditional accordion, zambuba and triangle. It has rightfully earned the name “sweaty Forro”. If you don’t have enough dancing skills to strategically follow the oscillating fans, you’ll be sweaty within seconds…and that’s where Serramar comes in.

Espaco Serramar also has Forro nights with live music, but in an open-air atmosphere under the starlight sky overlooking Praia de Malhada and the Serrote hill. The Jeri winds keep you cool as you spin through the latest dance moves.

Dona Amelia has Forro on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Espaco Serramar’s big nights are Sunday and Tuesday.

Windsurfing secrets – mix up the sports and spots

Thousands of windsurfers flock to Jeri every fall because the wind is relentless. This means you’ll be windsurfing every single day. Whether you’re renting or have your own gear with you, the pattern is the same; 10am the wind kicks in, windsurf all day, squeeze in lunch, and do it again until sunset. If you’re spending a lot of time in Jeri repetitively windsurfing the same spot can become uninspiring, so take the time to travel around a bit.

Mix up the spots – If you don’t want to pack up the gear and travel you have a few options. Cruise upwind 200m to Malhada for an onshore wave spot. Windsurf downwind of the dune, where the wind is stronger and there’s almost nobody on the water. My personal favourite is to go off and windsurf in the middle of the ocean. I sail downwind and far away from everybody to enjoy the big swell and steadier winds. Make sure to always bring a friend just in case something goes wrong!

If you don’t mind packing up and moving around, check out the lagoons, the Guriu river mouth, or venture out to Icaraizinho, Camocim or Maceio.

Windsurfing on a daily basis can take a toll on your body, even if you’re use to windsurfing all year long as I am. Mix up the sports! I find there is nothing more refreshing for your body than adding some other sports to your daily routine in Jeri. Enjoy the waves with your surf board or SUP, play some beach volleyball, join in on some pick-up football games on the beach at sunset, or sign up for Capoeira classes. Your windsurf abused body will thank you for moving it in other ways. Your mind will also be grateful for a break from thinking windsurfing, windsurfing, windsurfing.

My personal eat, sleep, windsurf routine is coming to a close here in Jeri. I only have 2 days left on the water. Soon it’s time to pack things up and head home to Canada for a few days of family Christmas time. Check in soon for more!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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November 21, 2016 ( by Carl )
 
Maui Aloha Classic 2016 Experience

Well this will be a much shorter Maui blog entry than my 2013 PWA/AWT Aloha Classic and 2015 Nove Nove Aloha Classic entries.

Jen and I had an easy flight to Maui, picked up our rental car and went right to the opening party to pick up my registration kit. The next morning I picked up my rental gear from Matt Pritchard and then headed to Ho'okipa beach park for the opening ceremony.

My first heat was scheduled and I headed out against some very competent masters. Here is a summary of what each day held for us:

Oct 31 Masters 1st round 2/4 - Lahaina for Halloween
Nov 1 Masters 2nd round 4/4
Nov 2 Drive to Hana
Nov 3 Watch pros!
Nov 4 Free sailed at Kanaha, hard to get out and through the triangle wave
Nov 5 Free sailed at Kanaha, great run out and watched Steve getting a private lesson from Matt
Nov 7 Running at the Yoga retreat / 30th anniversary dinner at Mama's
Nov 8 Hike to Jaws
Nov 10 Hike to Waihou spring forest reserve
Nov 11 Hike to Jaws, later slogging at Kanaha
Nov 12 SUP at Kanaha
Nov 13 My only and final Amateur heat 8/8, closing ceremony and flight to the Big Island

My 2016 AWT Rankings:
4/36 Masters
16/73 Amateurs

It was a great adventure. My 3 AWT stops this year, MoroccoMexico and Maui were all fantastic. Many thanks to Sam Bittner, Dawn & JP Pooley, the AWT crew, the Pritchard brothersSi Crowther and Jimmie Hepp for their various and wonderful contributions. 

 
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Fall 2015

 
La Ventana, Baja California, Mexico 
By  Andrée Gauther
 
 

This past November I had the opportunity to visit La Ventana in Baja, 
Mexico. Thanks to Jean-Robert from Makani Fins for promoting a special
deal with Pro Windsurfing La Ventana. A group of strangers arrived for 12
days of windsurfing (not including the travel days). Our hosts, Wyatt Miller
and Tyson Poor, showed us around and helped us settle in. What a 
wonderful two weeks of wind, fresh fish, yoga with Kay-Kay, donut truck,
Mexican sushi and ATV riding.

What a group of diverse people who came together November 1-14, 2015.
There was myself and Chris Hope from Toronto, JR, Louis and André from
Québec, Isobel (JR’s sister) from Montréal, Matt the aerospace engineer
from California, Chris the endocrinologist from San Diego, and Ray from
Wyoming (a retired fresh water fish biologist). What a group!

The wind was very consistent over the 2 weeks. It would start around 11
am and end by 4-5 pm. Wyatt did recommend we wait until the wind was at
its peak before going out otherwise we’d be too tired to last the day. Of
course, coming from Toronto I had to get out as soon as there was wind. 
Windsurfing 5 days in a row from around 11-4 pm did catch up to me.
Luckily my sick day happen to fall on a no wind day! In the 12 full days I 
was there, I was able to sail 8. The water was warm, the air was warm and
there did not seem to be any scary critters in the water. My sail 
size ranged from 3.7 to 5.4 and board size ranged from 70-103L. There is
so much choice of equipment but my favorite was the 80L Naish Koncet
and the 4.4 Servern Freek. The waves are wind driven and this was great
for my learning. They were not as intimidating as in Maui. I was able to
learn so much more with the help of the group. We would sit down for
dinners or on the roof to watch the stars and discuss our jibes, jumps, 
wave riding struggles and get great tips from the pros.

On the few no wind days the group split up and took advantage of the
snorkeling, fishing and ATV activities. A group went ATV riding into the
mountains. One night we had fresh marlin for dinner. What a meal. Even
the vegetarians had to try it.

The conditions were just a little too much from Chris Hope but in the end
he became an expert ATV rider. He was seen around town riding the ATV
and even went deep into the desert. He hired a dive master and went 
scuba diving with the sea lions while a few of us tagged along for 
the snorkeling.

La Ventana is a 2 hour shuttle ride from San Jose Los Cabos. For this trip,
the shuttle was included. It is not a commercially developed tourist town.
We drank the water! We could sleep with our doors open at night and 
never locked our rooms. The accommodations are houses within small hidden areas surrounded by cactuses. The fences are there only to keep the cattle out of the gardens. The cows roam freely and even sat on the beach on occasion. We did run into them coming up from the gear shed after windsurfing on a few occasions. For food we would eat out at local Mexican restaurants and had breakfast and lunch at home.

Save the date for the first 2 weeks in November 2016 as Makani Fins’ Jean-
Robert wants to do this again.

 
 
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