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Hyeres (France) has given us a wonderful long week end on the Feast of the Assumption 2015: 4 consecutive days of mistral at about 25 knots on the first day, and then never under 30 knots. Summer temperatures, deep blue skies, wind and waves, and good company: the alchemy has been perfect (once again).


Windsurf session: 4 days at Hyeres (France) with Mistral

It was from some days that I had noticed the mistral predictions in Hyeres. Approaching the we, they were increasingly confirmed. So on Wednesday, I decided to go, and I started to shed voice. After some hesitation, I could involve Marco del Garda in the trip, and at the spot we met with Andrea from Pisa.



We found a simple inn right in Hyeres center, at EUR 86 per night, for double. In addition to the kindness of the owners, the arrangement will prove to be pleasant for the abundant breakfasts, served in the orange garden of the hotel.

We set the holiday trying to limit the costs, but without missing some of the pleasures of life.





After our arrival and finding of accomodation, we head into what Marco calls the "bay of wonders" or "Paradise bay".... We park at the spot of La Madrague without major problems despite the period of mid-August. When the wind rises, the swimmers go to the beaches to the east (Bergerie, Badine, La Capte, etc.). Surfers are in reasonable numbers. The wind is already around twenty knots, the temperature is high (27-28 degrees), the water is warm, and the spot gives us a great "riding into the sunset"!

Technical data of the 08/14/2015 session:
(maximum wind around 25 knots, little shorebreak, waves within the meter and a half, off)

Weight: 67 kg
Board: RRD 111 FSW 2010
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 5.5
Clothing: shorty wetsuit 2mm

Weight: 95 kg
Board: Goya Quad 118 liters
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 5.2
Clothing: neoprene waistcoat, and flowered bathsuit....

Marco tells me to rig the 5.5 sail. I listen to him, but, while doing that, I think that if he weighs 95 kg and he's rigging the 5.2, there must be something wrong, and in fact ...



We begin the session at 17. The first half hour is perfect. It's always wonderful to be in the waves of Hyeres. I look at the emerald sea, and at the gentle rolling hills around coast, with deep affection ....

The wind is oriented from West (it will be so the next days too), and there's less shorebreak than last winter sessions (this condition will be repeated in the days after).
After half an hour the wind increases a lot. It would be more proper a 4.7, but being late in the afternoon, there is no time (and I do not want) to change. So, I start to fly.... In one of the jibes, the rig drops downwind (outer curve) with the mast towards the back of the board, and I fly with my chest right on the boom. The lifesaver softens the hit, which anyway it is a significant one. At the moment, it does not seem so problematic. I restart and go on with Marco up to 19.00, with the sun setting in the bay.





Saturday morning is the Feast of the Assumption (15th of August).

For lunch, we buy pan bagnat. To feed the mind, and Windmag, and Planchemag..... Both have decided to be on sale in August with a special number about maneuvers, and Marco thinks I need them .....

At midday, we arrive at the usual spot. This time, we leave the car at the second parking area, further north, where there is a beach bar, and where it is already present Andrea, with his wife. Despite being mid-August, we are surprised by the ease with which we find parking. Andrea has already been surfing in the morning. The sky is overcast, but it is clearing. The forecast predicts stronger wind in the afternoon.



Technical data of the 08/15/2015 session:
(maximum wind around 30 knots, little shorebreak, waves within two meters, off)

Weight: 67 kg
Board: RRD 111 FSW 2010
Sail: Point 7 Sado 4.7 2011
Clothing: shorty wetsuit 2 mm

Weight: 95 kg
Board: Goya Quad 118 liters
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 5.2
Clothing: neoprene waistcoat, and flowered bathsuit....


Remembering of the day before, this time, I rig the 4.7 sail, and I put a smaller fin of 22 cm to the board. Marco insists that I use the 111 liters and not 86 board, in order to understand and exploit its potential, and also, because, in these tough conditions, it is more forgiving for a guy like me, who is learning the power jibe.



I begin surfing at 14.00. The first hour in the water is very satisfying and I can close a couple of power jibes, and some funboard tacks. Today, in the water, though, there's a lot of people (both kite, and windsurfers), and so I decide to sail offshore, in the middle of the bay and very upwind. After an hour, the wind picks up again today, and at 15:00 I realize that I'd need a 4.2 !! Laziness prevails once again, and I resist with 4.7. I tend to sail deeply upwindwith respect to the exit point. That's what typically happens when you're overpowered. So, when I turn back I begin to bear away every time I can, taking advantage of the few lows (still 20 knots of wind....), and surfing and a bit the waves. As usual, the greater ones are in the middle of the bay. The shallows in front of Almanarre beach begins to work with steep waves, slightly more than a meter. I get planing at very high speed, and not always in full control .... as I want..





We go on until 17.30. Marco, who often comes to Hyeres, explains the region hotspots to Andrea and suggests to him and his wife a romantic restaurant near La Madrague (on the Giens peninsula). We spend the evening in the village, where, for the feast, there are several bands playing in the streets, and they do the fireworks. We eat a kebab. During the holiday we will have both ethnic and French cuisine, and we will taste cakes at the legendary pastry "Paroncini" (accent on the final i!) at La Capte, founded by an Italian.

Sunday, we go to the tourist port of Hyeres. We note some remarkable boats.
There is an important sailing club. Hyeres will be a candidate at the Olympic Games of 2024.
Marco shows me some very comfortable residences in the area, where to stay in winter time at competitive prices.

Then, as usual, in the early afternoon, we go to the "bay of wonders". Today, the wind seems to be stronger, and the sea foams throughout the bay.




This time I do not make me get wrong, and I rig .... the 4.2. It will reveal a fantastic session!


Technical data of the 08/16/2015 session:
(maximum wind just above 30 knots, little shorebreak, waves within two meters, off)

Weight: 67 kg
Board: Tabou 3S 86 2009
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 4.2 2014
Clothing: long wetsuit 2 mm

Weight: 95 kg
Board: Goya Quad 118 liters
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 5.2
Clothing: neoprene waistcoat, and flowered bathsuit....


I get into water with the 86 liters, that Marco calls "Tumoral Wave" because he would like me to sell (according to him, we must rationalize the equipment, and instead of a board that use little, it thinks it's better to buy other components of the rig). And, instead, this session makes me fall in love definitively with this board, that is, in these demanding conditions, perfect. It gets planing well even with waves, it is lighter to handle in jumps, and very manoeuvrable for wave riding, and during maneuvers. The day is to remembered on the calendar: I close the first power jibe, still dirty. Another small step  in my surfing career, which continues to progress session after session.

Marco and me discuss much of the technique for making the power jibe. According to him, I should jibe the rig early, before changing the feet position, and just before the sailing with wind from behind, to keep the board in speed and planing. Thus, I could take advantage from flipping the rig to go upwind on the new side. I find it simplier to change feet position first, and to sail clew first for a while on the new side, before flipping the rig. Obviously, doing so, and also for my inexperience, I lose a lot of speed while going out of the jibe. Watching other surfers, I realize that most of them follow my approach, while the best ones jibe as Mark suggests. My idea is that I'd better go on my way, and, when I get more experienced, I will have to switch to the other system, probably better to exit faster from the maneuver.

Marco enjoys very much in the water, and admits that at times, especially in the center of the bay, even with downhaul well tightened, he was overpowered. 





The evening ends with a dinner of "Mulets a la Provencale" (mussels at the Provencal manner) in a restaurant near the port.

Monday is the last day, and getting up in the morning under the blue skies of this beautiful region of France, I already begin to feel a bit of nostalgia.

We should have some wind also today ....

After the usual morning spent hanging out, we go earlier to the spot, because we then have to leave for home in the late afternoon.
Luckily, today forecasts of wind were more uncertain...... I look at the sea and have no doubt: 4.2; also Marco, who chooses the 4.7.


Technical data of the 08/17/2015 session:
(maximum wind almost up to 40 knots, little shorebreak, waves within two meters, off)

Weight: 67 kg
Board: Tabou 3S 86 2009
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 4.2 2014
Clothing: long wetsuit 2 mm

Weight: 95 kg
Board: Goya Quad 118 liters
Sail: Ezzy Tiger 4.7
Clothing: neoprene waistcoat, and flowered bathsuit.....

We enter into the water at 13.00. Immediately, I realize that the wind is really strong. Even with the 4.2 I'm overpowered, and often I have to open the sail in order to remain in control. Unfortunately, the hit I got on Friday causes me pain, and every time I make the waterstart on port tack, or stretch out my left arm, it seems that I get a stab in the side. The pain is so intense at times that I'm afraid I have a brocken rib .... I resist 40 minutes, and then, as a precaution, before I no longer could be able to start again, I come out of the water.

With Marco we get chatting with Catherine, italian surfer from Piedmont, assiduous of the spot, and known by everyone, including the French riders who greet her warmly. She weighs 46 kg and went out with a junior wave board of 55 liters, and a sail of 3 meters ....!




Also Marco, a big man of 95 kgs, tells me to have been overpowered with the 4.7.

After 4 consecutive days of mistral, we feel deeply satisfied, and we begin to prepare for departure, being grateful to Hyeres for giving us another weekend of great windsurfing.

Aloha, Fabio Muriano.

For Hyeres spot review, click here.


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For the whole slidegallery, click here.

Videos of the sessions at Hyeres 




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