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This first trip of mine to Oman has left me with so many images and thoughts in my mind, and in my heart. It was, undoubtedly, an unforgettable windsurfing experience with serious waves, but also a dip in the Arab world and in very particular desert landscapes, so different from those to which we are normally accustomed. Finally, it was a chance of meeting with many interesting people.

Windsurfing, vacation report: Masirah, Oman, July 2019

For my usual holiday at the end of June/beginning of July, I had been consulting wind forecasts for lots of days, from the various predictional models; hoping, in particular, that Portugal would finally start giving amazing conditions. I also hoped for Sardinian west coast, or for the North Shore of Fuerte, or for Morocco being worth of a trip. But, since the various spots in these places did not promise anything good, I started to expand the circle of the radius of my consultations, until I started to notice that the South coast of Oman, according to the various models showed on Windy.com, was always red colored.....

I then asked my friend Max Castiglia if this year too the usual big group would have gone to Oman, I quickly gathered the necessary logistic information, I also found a traveling companion (Matteo, a friend of Max), and, once obtained my wife's pass (more complicated than getting a tourist visa), on July 1, 2019 at 16.25 I found myself on a plane to Oman.

The impact with Oman was immediately strong. Upon our arrival, at dawn on July 2, leaving the airport, the capital Muscat welcomed us with 38 °C .... which then became about 45-46, when we left the city and its remarkable highways and its modern buildings, and we began to cross the desert inland to reach Shannah. From this location we boarded the ferry to Hilf, the main town on Masirah island, our final destination. Getting out of the car to refuel along the road was a will test every time. The hinterland of Oman, for me, was almost a punch in the stomach. Beyond the infernal temperature, I was struck by the arid and flat landscape, which alternates with some mountain ranges, crossed from time to time. The mountains are exclusively rocky, with practically no vegetation, and it seems you are almost on the moon.

Fortunately, Masirah welcomed us with milder temperatures, thanks to the temperate effect of the sea and the wind, the South West Monsoon, which blows from mid-June to mid-August.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 8

Windsurf Masirah Oman 17

Windsurf Masirah Oman 12

Windsurf Oman 2

Windsurf Masirah Oman 11

 

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Taken accommodation at the Masirah Hotel, a logistical base for both the Milanese and Roman windsurfers (but for several other riders, coming from Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, Greece) who will share the following days with us, and immediately worn flip-flops and swimsuits, we quickly went to Kashiit, the main windsurfing spot in Masirah Island. Matteo, my traveling companion (19 times in Oman, 10 in South Africa, and others in Hookipa, Pacasmayo, Punta San Carlos) has been my guide for both the sporting part and the logistics of the trip.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 1

Windsurf Masirah Oman 2

Windsurf Masirah Oman 25

 

Chronicle of the sessions

The session on the 2nd of July in the afternoon allows me to become familiar with the spot, although I will be able to better exploit it in the following days. 1 meter high waves, wind just over 20 knots.

I go out with the Ezzy Elite 4.7 2017 and the Tabou Da Curve 80 TE 2016, and I manage to catch some waves, still almost by chance .... Thanks to Matteo's instructions, I learn to know what are the possible dangers of the spot, about which I will tell extensively (together with his many pros ....) in the spot review I will soon publish here for Waterwind Supporters. We are tired from the travelling night, almost sleepless, but in the water the tiredness apparently disappears, only to re-emerge definitely, in the evening. The Tabou Da Curve, just bought, immediately gives me the first very positive feelings.

In the evening, we go to dinner at the Yemenite restaurant in Hilf, where I have the pleasant surprise that, with the equivalent of 5 euros, you can eat a grilled "Big Fish", a salad, some rice with vegetables, chickpea humus, barata (a kind of local focaccia), water and a cup of tea to close your meal....

I begin to know the group of Roman riders, including Elsa, a tough woman .... I had already met, in South Africa, at Cape Point, in a tough day.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 4

 

The next morning, we meet with some Germans, Martin and Rainer, and with the Swiss Bettina, here with a German friend, with whom we will spend happy and pleasant moments at breakfast and in the beaches of the island's spots. I also meet Federico Morisio, an athlete from Turin, here with his father Maurizio, known as "Prof" (which is the diminutive of teacher, the job he does, as a matter of fact). Federico, as well as a very strong windsurfer, will prove to be a very nice and easy going guy, and this gives him honor, since the windsurfing world is full of arrogant people....

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 21

Wednesday morning (the 3rd) is a bit windy in the morning, but as expected from the various predictional models, it will not be a great day. We take the opportunity to lend a hand to Stefano to build the wooden hut on the beach of Kashiit, a venture in which Stefano, here from the first of June, threw himself with head, heart, and wallet....

The Omani sun, in the middle of the day, gives no rest, and, if you don't want to stand in the shade of the car's rear door, a shelter can be really convenient. And in fact, it will be the favorite place for siesta and for chats among windsurfers, between one session and another. Stefano's project is admirable. Chapeau!

Also on Thursday, after having attempted an exit to Kashiit, just floating, and without planing, we dedicate ourselves to the construction of the shed, which grows really well. Then, in the afternoon, we go to chat and relax in Monkey Beach with the other windsurfers we met here.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 3

Windsurf Masirah Oman 26

 

Wind is expected on Friday, and in fact the holiday finally takes off from the windsurfistic point of view. I will do three sessions during the day, the first two in Kashiit, and then a wonderful evening session at the G-Spot, by the Italians called "Sercio", because of a semi-submerged rock (sercio, in roman dialect...), that you have a bit downwind respect to the exit point. The first session at Kashiit is interesting. I still go out with the 4.7 (I brought with me 4.7, 4.2, and 3.7), and I start to improve in taking the waves, also thanks to some fundamental advice from Matteo, which I will explain shortly. The waveriding is almost another sport, compared to freeride and freestyle, and it is essential to know some technical aspects to be able to practice it successfully, and having fun. But it's a total buzz .....

In the afternoon, the wind drops a little and turns offshore. I make the mistake of returning to water, in the early afternoon, for a second session, and I laboriously leave the water on the leeward stretch of the beach, where the sea is strewn with rocks, as if they were mines .... But a blatant fortune ..... allows me to return without even a damage to the equipment and without a scratch.

But the best of the day has yet to come. At about 17.00, we decide to move to the G-Spot, which, incredibly, welcomes us with a nice side-off wind, around 30 knots, and with 1/1,5 meter waves, very clean and glassy, which rise about 70-90 meters from the shore. I enter the water just before 18.00, and despite having prudently decided to enter with the 4.2, I will end up to be overpowered on several gusts. At sunset, it is a bit cooler, and for the occasion I wear a shorty ..... Because, otherwise, here, in the day, you ride with just a Lycra T-Shirt (only to avoid getting sun burned), and in bath suit (so as not to be arrested ....).

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 1

Windsurf Masirah Oman 2

Windsurf Masirah Oman 3

My first real and unforgettable down the line riding is associated with this session. I catch a wave offshore, I begin to ride close hauled on it, and when it becomes steep enough, I start to make a good series of Bottom Turns and Cut Backs, aided by the wind that pushes me well in a direction perfectly perpendicular to that of the wave. Wonderful feeling. At Paternoster, in South Africa, I had already begun to understand what it means to do a real down the line. Almost at 19, when the sun is about to set behind the mountains on the horizon, Matteo tells me that the time has come to get out of the water, before it starts to get too dark (actually, other riders, while we unrig, continue to surf even after sunset).

The weekend will give us two wonderful days of windsurfing, during which, I finally have the opportunity to see Kashiit working properly.

On Saturday, in particular, the spot gives us a session that, for me, will remain unforgettable. The sea in front of the hotel beach (on the northwest coast, opposite to the one where Kashiit is), when we wake up in the morning, is already well rippled. The tense wind of the night also refreshed our room (we slept with the door and window open), and allowed us to rest quite well.

When we arrive early on the spot (around 9.45), I immediately understand, conditions are good for the 4.2 sail. Windy.com also predicts a 3 meter swell (but some sets will definitely exceed this height). The tide is rising and pushing the waves into the bay.

In the meantime, the group of Giangi, Alessandro of Florence, Luigi and his son Filippo arrived.

Today, you don't have to go out floating. Planing is ensured on each ride. And under these conditions, the Tabou Da Curve is at its best, and as the producer says, it quickly gets planing, and rides upwind to allow catching more waves. Kashiit is a relatively easy spot. I go out with the Ezzy Elite 4.2 2017, quite sheeted, having measured almost 30 knots already on the shore. The wind is side-off. I quickly go gliding and overcome the first easy breakers and also the steeper and thicker waves at a greater distance from the beach, which rise as usual, at regular time intervals.

 

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 11

Windsurf Masirah Oman 1

I treasure all the advice given by Matteo and all the others on the shore. But, today, taking the waves is quite easy, because they are large and it is immediate to see them rising already offshore (about 2-300 meters from the shore). They are advancing water mountains ....

Once I am quite offshore and upwind, I reverse the course (with a tack, or a fast waterstart ....), I start riding on port tack at reduced speed, looking behind me, and when I see a good set coming, I begin to accelerate and position myself on the long slope of the wave that is forming. The wave wall at this distance from the shore is like a very long descent, with a slope that is not yet accentuated, but sufficient to make you gliding almost regardless of the sail thrust. Once I have acquired the glide on the wave, I start to ride it close hauled, to position me as much upwind as I can, and compensate for the water I will lose after waveriding. The goal is to go near the rocky point, where the waves (they are lefts) become steeper and begin to break from left to right. When the wall of the wave becomes quite steep, I go down from it at greater speed, I lay down the sail a little (depending on the wave size), and place a bottom turn, immediately looking for the lip of the wave to decide where perform the cut back. It is a magical moment, because you are face to face with the wave of 2 or 3 meters that is breaking. It scares you a little, but it is also challenge, because the impact with its crest that is about to break, with a good cut back, allows you to reacquire so much speed, go down again from the wave wall, and continue the game for a long time.

The image of a particular waveriding is indelibly printed in my mind. I'm on a big wave (3-3.5 meters). Its slope is long, like a garage ramp, and it's getting steep. I accelerate very much. In the water, in front of me, but 3-4 meters below..., my friend Max is preparing for a waterstart. I start screaming for the excitement (see video with the GoPro), but, at the same time, I realize that I have a rider, upwind, who took my same wave, and who has the priority. I try to coordinate with him, and run Bottom Turn and Cut Back at the same time. The game goes on for a while, then I slow down too much, and I get out of the wave, so as not to hinder it.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 7

Windsurf Masirah Oman 8

Windsurf Masirah Oman 9

 

During the day, I will catch other beautiful waves. The day is also good for jumping.

On the way out to sea, on starboard tack, you can be impact some waves which, in the leeward side of the spot, are at least two meters high. Taking them at full speed, it's easy to take off, and perform really high jumps. And I like to jump .... Moreover, the strong wind makes you gain and easily maintain altitude once in the air. The Tabou Da Curve prooves also to be excellent in jumps, being easy to control in the air, even for its reduced volume.

I make a half backloop, with a back landing.... For the forward, considering the height of the jumps, I can't find the courage. If I get myself hurted, besides spoiling my holiday, I should experience the thrill of Masirah hospital.

In the water, it's show. It is beautiful to admire the mastery and fluidity of Federico Morisio's waveriding, who performs some consecutive aerials, and comes out of the wave with a fast tack or with a perfect jibe. Even Filippo, Luigi's son, who is only 17 years old, shows a beautiful radical riding.

But also Alessandro, and the group of Romans, enjoy very much, with Tonino, Luca, Elsa, and Billo competing for the waves with the other riders in the water. During the day, Paul also arrives on the spot. He is a Cypriot guy, who lives in Maui, and runs Fish Bowl Diaries, which, with Jimmie Hepp's one, is the most famous photo agency in Hookipa. Paul is very nice, and very good at water, and he speaks a very clear and pleasant English to listen to. He confirms some impressions of mine about the Goya Banzai 2018.

Around 12.30, I leave the water to rest a little.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 6

Windsurf Masirah Oman 31

Windsurf Masirah Oman 13

Windsurf Masirah Oman 14

Windsurf Masirah Oman 18

Windsurf Oman 1

 

The afternoon session will not be as beautiful. The wind turns almost completely offshore and strengthens, making the water level very choppy. The waves are not as beautiful, smooth and regular as in the morning, because the tide is almost at its maximum. As for the waves, the situation will improve in the late afternoon, but the tiredness of the day will prevent me from doing another session at the end of the day. But that's okay.

On Sunday, Kashiit's playground gives us another beautiful morning session, with a slightly lighter wind (I go out with the Ezzy Elite 4.7), and with a slightly smaller wave (not more than 3 meters), but of quality more and more increasing, as the tide rises.

By now, I catch the waves with ever greater confidence (and less randomness ...). On one, in particular, I manage to have a very long ride, with 5-6 Bottom Turns, and as many Cut Backs. I end up a bit downwind, but it was worth it. The enjoyment was total. And then even today there are no problems to quickly get planing again.

On some waves, I start to run the bottom turn, cutting the water deeply with the inner board rail. I realize that the board, like this, maintains more speed, and I return to the wave crest more easily. My Cut Backs are still not very radical.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 15

Windsurf Masirah Oman 16

Windsurf Masirah Oman 17

 

In the afternoon, as always, the wind turns and becomes more offshore. Taking the wave becomes more technical, and requires an initial downwind sailing to gain speed and position yourself well on its wall. The waves remain beautiful, but, in general, I enjoy myself more in the morning, when the waves and wind conditions are ideal. On the way back, with the falling tide (excursion of 3-4 meters), having also the sun in front of me, I realize that it is good to pay close attention to the rocks near the shore that emerge, or, worse, remain semi-submerged, and can damage seriously fins and boards.

Monday the wind gives us little to do, even if the waves remain of discreet measure and quality. Under these conditions, I have the opportunity to admire the class of Gigi Colombo, who can still ride upwind floating, or with a few glides, and can ride a lot of waves anyway, surfing them with a consistent technique and fluency (in particular, I admire how much forward he places his body weight, to facilitate the initial descent of the wave by the board, not being able to count much on the wind, now weaker). Gigi arrived with Michelino, and Dante. Meanwhile, Franz, Peppino and others also arrived, and the group is almost complete.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 23

Windsurf Masirah Oman 19

Windsurf Masirah Oman 24

Windsurf Masirah Oman 27

Windsurf Masirah Oman 32

 

Tuesday, the wind starts to rise again, and it will continue well on the day of my departure, Wednesday.

Tuesday, I play all my cards, and do three sessions. The wind today comes more from the West, and is, therefore, quite side-off / off. It will grow throughout the day, although it will not reach Saturday's intensity (I go out with 4.7). The day will give best conditions after 16.30, with the waves (with the falling tide), that becomes glassy and regular, even if not as high as in the weekend. I ride until 16.30, then I have no more energy in my arms. Many others have avoided the session in the early afternoon, and enjoy a wonderful end to the day. Everyone comes out very satisfied.

In the evening, after another huge dinner, again for 5 euros..., I start packing the equipment in the two bags, in view of the flight back to Italy, and chat a little with Tonino, Billo, Gigi, and others.

 

Windsurf Masirah Oman 35

Windsurf Masirah Oman 9

Windsurf Masirah Oman 33

Windsurf Masirah Oman 29

 

 

The next morning, at 9 am, after the last greetings, I take the fast ferry, and at 10 am I'm back on the mainland, in Shannah.

Being alone with the car on the way back (Matteo will stop in Masirah until the weekend), also for safety reasons (I dare not think of the idea of ​​having some problems at 46 °C ....), I decide to take the coastal road to return to Muscat, benefiting from the mitigating effect of the sea and the wind, instead of going back along the inner road. This choice also allows me to check the Asilah spot on the mainland, which turns out to be very interesting (waves of good size, and no danger). But, unfortunately, there are only 12-15 knots of wind. Only a few kiters have fun.

The new road also allows me to see new panoramas, which are more pleasing than those in the interior. First, I drive through a sort of sandy desert next to the beach. The temperature is pleasantly around 28-29 Celsius degrees. Then, the coast turns north, and rises more and more on the sea. I reach Sur, a city with a very beautiful fjord, crossed by a bridge. From here the monsoon will no longer cool the air, and the temperature from 34 degrees scored in Sur will continue to rise to over 40, reaching 43 in Muscat. In the last stretch of the coast, before Muscat, some imposing mountains falls into the sea, sometimes crossed by spectacular canyons (called Wadi, by local people).

Once reached Muscat, I immediately go to the airport, to benefit from its air conditioning and escape the scorching heat that dominates the city. At 11.20pm, I take the plane.

I leave Oman, with a very positive balance. The landscapes are certainly not the sensational ones of South Africa (read journey report), which have definitely conquered me, but the conditions on the water have been truly remarkable. And I know that, at least for a while, this too will become a beautiful destination for my windsurfing trips, where I can improve my skills and learn a lot from a technical point of view. Maybe, with a nice group of friends from the Waterwind team ....

Hang Loose. Fabio 

Click on the links below, to enjoy the slidegalleries complete with the exits (and to freely download the photos).

G-Spot (Sercio), 04-08/07/2019

Kashiit, 05/07/2019

Kashiit, 06/07/2019

Kashiit, 07/07/2019

Kashiit, 08-09/07/2019

 

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