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More than a year after my last session at Coudouliere (France), I finally managed to return to this waveriding spot that I like so much. And Coudouliere repaid me with two beautiful days of windsurfing, wind, sun, waves, in the usual exciting natural scenery. In between, a nostalgic return to Hyeres ...

 

Windsurfing, report: Coudouliere / Hyeres (France), 19-20 September 2021

It is never easy to plan the trip to France in the midst of work and family commitments; in addition to the fact that unfortunately I live more than 5 hours drive from Coudouliere. But even this time, it was enough for me to enter the water, and have look around, to understand that it was right to come ....

I quickly get to the point, and move on to the chronicle of these two days.

I arrive at the Coudouliere on Sunday morning around 10.30. Unexpectedly, I immediately find a parking place, right on the spot's beach, and this immediately appears to me as a positive sign for the good continuation of the day.

On the spot, I immediately meet Fred, from Turin (he is a real globetrotter). We will be the only two Italians present .... Besides us, the many more or less known faces of the French riders. What envy I felt the last few months, when I saw the photos of their sessions among the beautiful waves of Coudou.

At a certain point, next to my car, a blue Volkswagen van, a bit dated, finds its place, and Thomas Traversa, who I still believed in Iceland, jumps out .... Thomas is very easy going, and talks cheerfully with the other guys, even dispensing advice. Thomas will also be present on Monday, accompanied by another windsurfing celebrity: Antoine Martin!

Meanwhile, the wind begins to grow in intensity. I measure 20-25 knots, at the breakwaters of the harbor, and I decide to rig the Ezzy Wave 4.7, 2021, so that I can confirm the results of the test I have recently published. And the Ezzy Wave proves to be a beautiful sail in the bigger waves, with a perfect balance between power and lightness in your hands. I match it with the Tabou Pocket 94 2016, set as a thruster with K4 fins (Scorcher 18 + Stubby 11). 3/2 long wetsuit (but I will see later that a shorty could also be used), and at 11.30 I enter the water.

 

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 003 Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 002

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 003

 

The wind is of good quality, even if oriented from W; the waves are still small (about 1.5 meters). I start having fun right away, because the spot is not too crowded yet, and there is a good chance to practice with the waves.

The first years I came here, I tried surfing the waves 50-100 meters from Cap Negre. This weekend (especially on Monday), I have had less and less trouble looking for the steepest section of the wave, a few tens of meters from the rocks of the cape. Lots of adrenaline, even if I get amazed at how low the seabed is (sprinkled with sea urchins), when I fall ....

With West wind, surfing the wave at the Coudouliere is not easy, as the wind comes from almost the same direction as the wave. Every time I come back here, I notice my improvements, and the increasing confidence with which I face the session.

But I confess that I still have a lot of work to do to surf in these conditions: I have learned to get good speed when entering the bottom turn, but I struggle to get out of it with enough speed to get well on the wave wall again, and perform an effective cut back on the lip. Too often I stop in front of the wave that is about to break .... I understand that I have to push well with the front leg, keeping it straight, when exiting the bottom, but probably I have to bring the mast even further outside of the curve, to go up the wave clew forward.

Then, I see Thomas Traversa (but also other local riders who know the spot by heart) spinning the board in a minimum space on the wave, as many times as he wants, and I feel like an idiot .....

At the end of the first session, when I already have in mind to come back because I start to be overpowered, I break the mast foot, luckily close to the beach and without major damage. I go back to shore, to change it, to eat and rest, and to change equipment.

I rig the Ezzy Elite 4.2 2019, and take out the Tabou Da Curve 80 2016, always set as thruster with k4 fins (Scorcher 16 + Shark II 10). At 2.00 pm, I return to the water. Due to some drop in wind, every now and then, the 80-liter is a bit on the limit. But it's nice to have it back under my feet: I appreciate its agility, and the tight radius of the curves that allows me to draw on the waves. The wind is stronger, the wave has risen (now they reach about two meters), but the all the world of riders has also entered the water. It's Sunday, and everyone wants to surf the Coudou. For me, the traffic on the water is excessive. I get out of the water after an hour, even to take some pictures. We would have to wait until late afternoon (as does my friend Guillame, who lives here, and whom I see entering the water around 5.00 pm).

 

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 009

 

I also want to indulge in a part of the day of pure relaxation. So, I decide to go to Hyeres, with the idea of ​​enjoying its beach. Hyeres brings back to me good memories. I remind of the first sessions here, when I was learning to glide. Here I meet the Piedmontese "old glories", Caterina, Ivo, Dario. What a fun chatting with Caterina, a woman full of energy. I discover that now she made her life comfortable, and after so many years with a 55 liter board, now she rides with a 60 liter custom board!!

I don't know what happens inside of me ... I would be tired enough, and I should save my energy for another waveriding session at Coudou the next day, but I feel like to get some riding here too. Amarcord.

I rig the 4.2 again, the Pocket 94, and enjoy an hour in the water from 7.00 pm, until sunset, with a few others. And, what a surprise, I am overpowered! I practice, perfecting my jibes, and I confirm that my knees don't like Hyeres chop, and that it makes me a little nervous ....

I get out of the water just before 20.00, with the sun setting to the West, and a huge moon rising over the dune to the East. What a magic moment.

 

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 006

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 007

Windsurf Coudouliere Hyeres 008

 

 

The next morning (Monday) the mistral promises another day full of windsurfing. I enter the water at 10.30 with the 4.7 and the Pocket 94. In the first half hour, the wind is a bit weak and unstable, then it increases and spreads over the spot a little better, even if for most of the day it will remain a bit variable, and oriented from the West. The waves, on the other hand, are better than on Sunday. More tidy, higher (about two meters), and with a better period. Between 11.30 and 13.00, I have a nice session, in which I don't really spare myself. I am satisfied with my tacks and jibes, and I surf as many waves as possible, hunting for sea urchins under the cliff ..... Because most of the time I fall .... But if I don't try, I don't learn. After these other two hours in the water, however, the tiredness of the two days emerges; and then I have to drive for 5 hours to return to Milan ....

I put all my equipment back in place. I chat with Guillame, who reproaches me for always being on the road .... But I reply that I should open another website like this one, to tell also the rest of my life full of troubles ..... And I also add that, at 52, it is better to seize the moment, and take advantage of all the opportunities, before it's too late ...

At about 4.00 pm, I leave for Italy.

The period of autumn / winter disturbances has just begun. The fun comes now. Better take advantage of it ...

Hang Loose. Fabio

Click here, for the Coudouliere slidegallery (Sunday).

Click here, for the Coudouliere slidegallery (Monday).

 

 

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The video shot at Coudouliere (mainly on Sunday)

 

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