With East wind, Cannes Palm Beach is just a fun spot. It is true that the wind does not blow side with respect to the waves, but they are, however, of good quality for jumping sessions, and for some waveriding. Wednesday, December 4, 2019, Cannes gave us a nice windsurfing session, with the usual wind .... over 30 knots, and waves even over 2 meters high.
Windsurf, report: Cannes Palm Beach, France, 4/12/2019, with East
Sometimes we don't have to think too much about the many commitments and constraints that we all normally have. We must leave, and take advantage of the opportunities that arise. In many cases, as for me on this occasion, the choice is worthily repaid.
I practically decided to leave for Cannes on Wednesday morning. The uncertainty was due, in addition to the fact of having to make the trip alone (the others were all busy or sick ...), also to the fact that it was not so clear if the Tramontana (North wind) foreseen in Liguria, orienting itself from East to France, would have remained offshore, or would have even reached also Cannes Palm Beach spot, in addition to the more western French spots (Saint Maxime, Hyeres, etc.), too far from Monza (where I live) for a day trip. In the end, I trusted the Arome forecasting model, which, again, was not wrong.
The journey to get to Cannes was not easy. The A7 motorway, and the A10, in this period, are a continuous construction site, and travel times gets longer. During the trip, I checked the Cannes anemometer several times, to evaluate whether to change programs and stop in Albenga, Liguria, Italy, where, however, the Tramontana, as often happens, was rather greasy, as well as cold ... Comforted by first encouraging signals from Cannes, around 12.00, parked at the service station, I decided to go straight to France.
After crossing the Ligurian west coast (in Imperia 19 degrees ...), I reached Cannes around 1.15 pm. Even here, a pleasant temperature of 17 degrees and sunshine, but still unstable wind, around 14-15 knots, which started to make me a little nervous ....
And instead, within half an hour the wind has entered quite strong. I initially thought of rigging the Goya Guru 4.7 2020 (read the review), having measured with the anemometer a wind steadily above 20 knots, just before 14.00. Meanwhile, the first French riders began to go out with sails of 4.7-5.0 square meters. But as I was preparing board and sail, I started to feel very strong gusts, and I noticed that the sea was foaming more and more. Moreover, Arome gave a wind of increasing intensity in the afternoon.
So, I didn't trust of my last wind assessment, I took apart the Guru, already half rigged, and I prepared the Ezzy Elite 4.2 2017 (with a slightly fat profile). As for the board, I was "cautious", and I prepared the Tabou Pocket 94 2016, instead of the Da Curve 80. I'm still testing the Pocket, which I recently bought (used), and I still have to figure out how to set it to the best. In Cannes, I had the right insights to make the board give me great satisfaction.
First of all, I put the mast foot in a more backwards position (almost in the middle of track). So far, I had used it with a rather forward position. The session confirmed to me that the board does not need such an advanced position, because thanks to a rather flat rocker, and a relatively generous width at the center of the board, it gets planing in a lightning, almost on an upwind route. Instead, the too forward mast foot position, makes the board bounce too much in the chop, and a rough water level, behavior that for me (and my knees) is very annoying. With the a rear mast foot position, instead, the board was perfect, flying impeccably on the water (even if the more regular Cannes water surface, in the trough between the waves, was much more manageable than the chop of the Lake Garda, where I had tried the board the last few times).
In addition, I set the board as thruster, with the standard fins, with side fins quite forward, and the central one a little backward, obtaining a board with more upwind performance, and with the right compromise between lift / resistance and lateral sliding, when required in the waves.
With this quiver, I entered into the water shortly after 14.00. The spot turned out to be quite challenging, but also a lot of fun. In the channel between Palm Beach and the Iles des Lerins, every so often came some sets of impressive waves, well above 2 meters, really regular and smooth. It wasn't easy for me to surf them. The strong wind, coming from the same direction of the wave, and the steep waves, meant that as soon as I beard away to make the bottom, I took an impressive speed. Secondly, going up the wave in switch stance, almost against the wind, to set the Cut Back, is still complicated for me. At one point, while I was sailing on port tack towards the Iles des Lerins, I was lucky enough to see a wonderful wave coming towards me, a beautiful monster maybe of 3 meters, perfectly smooth, and about to break, in conjunction with a moment when the wind was not too strong. I surfed it for a while but not as well as I would have liked, having underestimated the speed of the wave, which passed quickly under the board.
As soon as I got out to sea, I realized that I was slightly overpowered ... Even this time, despite all my efforts, to guess the sail! During the afternoon, Cannes anemometer recorded a burst at 37 knots, and in the water, at a certain point the 3.7 sails (local rider Orion) appeared, and also, for some girls, the 3.4 ones. Having time to stay in the water until 17.00 at the latest (it's winter time), I did not think to a sail size change. However, the overpowering was quite manageable (also thanks to the Ezzy Elite performances), except in some worse gusts.
The other area where you could ride beautiful waves, as always, was the one in front of the parking lot, and the one in front of the beach along Boulevard Gazagnaire. As for the first, however, losing the equipment there is risky as it could be dragged against the cliff in front of the parking lot. Some waves, however, at that point, were too inviting to surf, and I could not give up the temptation. When I fell, I never let the equipment go, and then, I did some pretty fast waterstarts, to get out of the danger zone quickly.
Moreover, in these two areas the wind was less strong, and gave less discomfort during waveriding; too bad that, in front of the beach, there are always some kiters and now also some wing foils (!). Some of them yesterday stole me some waves. They also apologized (the rider on the wing foil), but meanwhile the wave was gone ...
Some beautiful jibes also came out. Here I am continuing to experiment, trying to come out clew first, even in strong winds. During one of my attempts, however, I lingered too much clew first: a burst gave me a crazy acceleration, and I saved myself with a voluntary dive, 3-4 meters ahead of the board, performed in an exemplary manner.... and with great fun!
The other gem of the day was the jumps. Above all going towards the islands, it was enough to detach from the waves, more than 2 meters high, to find yourself in the void .... At one point, right here, I recognized Orion, a local rider from Cannes (lucky guy), who performed a high and perfect forward, right in front of me. On the same wave, I only performed a jump of a few meters ....
In this period, I'm quite trained (I started training for South Africa, where I'll go next January), and I can stay in the water for a long time, even in tough conditions. Around at 3.50 pm, I decided to take a break, to eat a snack, and to take the pictures of this article.
On the ground, while I was taking photos and eating, I also meditated on a possible change of equipment. If I had entered the water with the Ezzy Elite 3.7 and the Tabou Da Curve 80, I would have been perfect. But at 16.00 there was no time left to rig another sail. However, there would be time to change at least the board. The forecasts, however, gave a progressive wind fall (in reality it was not so). So, I decided to get back in the water, shortly after 16.00, with the same equipment used up until then. However, I sheeted in my sail outhaul very well.
Upon my return to the water, the feeling was immediately very pleasant. The wind had dropped slightly, and I was perfectly powered, but the waves remained pretty tall and smooth. Indeed, the water level was no longer chopped. I then sailed nicely for another half an hour, until the wind dropped further, especially in front of the beach along Boulevard Gazagnaire, from which I returned, at around 4.40 pm.
On the ground, I calmly unrigged, and I chatted with Orion (who speaks Italian well, given that he often comes to Italy for working reason), and whom I hadn't seen for a while. We commented on the session, noting both that the wind had been a little oriented from the South East, so that it let us sail upwind more effectively, when returning towards Palm Beach on starboard tack (tribord, in French). I envied Orion who lives 7 kilometers from the spot, and in any case in a very beautiful part of France. I had to do 3.5 hours of driving again to get home, which, however, passed quite well, without traffic, and with a beautiful music compilation by italian singer, Vasco Rossi. Before leaving, around 18.00, the wind grew in intensity again. Too bad that we are on winter time, and there is no longer the possibility of staying in the water until late.
And the desire for waves goes crazy more than ever .... In the coming days and weeks the wind should not be missing, and we will do everything possible to enjoy it.
Hang loose. Fabio
Click here, to enjoy the slidegallery of the day (free photo download).