The 2021 windsurfing season started with a series of winter storms at Lake Garda, Italy. Today, 9 January, at Pra' de la fam, we enjoyed Peler wind at 35 knots, with fully winter weather conditions.
Windsurfing: Pra de la fam (Lake Garda), 09/01/2021. Winter storm!
The abundant snowfall on the mountains north of the lake, and the lake water temperature still at 10 Celsius degrees, are creating the perfect conditions for the genesis of Peler wind, which blows really strong, especially in the sunniest days.
Driving along the Gardesana road, this morning, I was immediately impressed by the conditions that the lake was showing after Toscolano: all its surface was foaming, with waves well over one meter, and really strong wind. I was in doubt whether to stop in Toscolano (and perhaps it would not have been a bad choice, since I don't have many opportunities to ride there - and it's a great spot), but then I joined with friends at Pra'.
Once I arrived at Pra, I found my friend Davide, who was already struggling with his 4.0 sail, especially in the middle of the lake. Typical winter scenery, with the snow-covered Mount Baldo, up to unusually low altitudes for Lake Garda. Clouded sky, due to the humidity brought by humid currents from the East. Air temperature at around 4-5 Celsius degrees.
I immediately chose the sail: Ezzy Elite 3.7 2019. I prepared both my two wave boards (Tabou Da Curve 80 and Tabou Pocket 94), which I decided to set both with the K4 fins, in thruster set up. When the wind is so strong, softer fins under the board are only a pleasure.
I entered the water properly dressed: 6/5/4 front zip hooded wetsuit, mittens, and 6.5 mm boots, which, together with the wetsuit, proved to be the real heating system for my body; unfortunately, they penalized me a lot when jibing, since my front foot often got stuck in the strap, when closing the maneuver in switch stance.
I tried the 94 board, first. I rode with a little, but then I quickly switched to the 80, which allowed me to ride a little more in control. A little .... because some gusts turned out to be really bad, and made me open the 3.7 when sailing!
The wind then dropped a bit (only in the 150 meters near the shore), and I returned to the 94, to then rose again after 11.00. I was the last to get out of the water at 12.45, still fully planing with the 3.7. I went out, only because of fatigue, because the wind continued to blow hard most of the afternoon. In the end of the session, I experienced the strange feeling of having the Pra - usually crowded in the rest of the year - all to myself!
At the end of the session, I experienced the most difficult moment. If I didn't suffer much from cold in the water (even my hands soon warmed up), taking off my wetsuit was not pleasant, due to the absence of the usual Garda clear sky, and the warm sun, which the Pra often lets us enjoy. I need a van!
About ten riders were present on the spot. In addition to the always present Simone and Davide, two steel girls deserve a special mention (congratulations), and a young boy with RRD equipment, accompanied by his father, truly admirable for the determination shown in the water, in these conditions.
I'll be honest: I enjoyed my session, but there are much more pleasant weather conditions to windsurf with. In January, my thoughts can only go to South Africa, which I will certainly miss a lot this year. We hope soon to be able to return to enjoy some rides at sea spots, or that, at least, the air temperature at lake may return a little warmth, like in other winters.
But, in the meantime, since, in this Covid pandemic, there is no certainty of tomorrow, we enjoy Sunset ... Pra !!!
Below, some photos kindly granted by Alessandro Dossi, and Simone Grezzi (those ones taken by the talented photographer Maurizio Poinelli are really nice).