The report of another beautiful windsurfing trip to Sardinia, in search of wind and waves. This time we had sessions in the Sinis peninsula spots and in La Ciaccia. We will remember the Funtana Meiga session for a long time ....
Windsurfing, session report: Sardinia, February 19-22, 2022
The trips to Sardinia are always somewhat epic .....
About this one, in particular, the session at Funtana Meiga, on Tuesday 22 February, will remain memorable; in addition to the usual views and magical atmospheres of Sardinia..... especially out of season.
After the last trip to France, I had promised myself to return to Sardinia, to enjoy the unique conditions offered by its spots, which, in winter, are even less crowded. So I took the opportunity of this winter disturbance.
I haven't done many hours of windsurfing, actually, but this trip has allowed me to get to know some Sardinian spots better, since it's not easy to understand how they work. It's not enough to read the different forecasting models to understand if they will work well; you must have seen them several times under different wind conditions, and have been in the water lots of times to have a proper knowledge.
But let's move on to the trip report.
Saturday morning, disembarkation in Olbia. As always, I just go for breakfast in an open-air café near the port, and my mood quickly becomes the right one. Returning to the car, I find myself hopping while passing the streets of Olbia center ...
So I start driving in the direction of Cabras, where I will be based during the trip.
On Saturday, there is little chance of wind in the late afternoon. I leave a door open, but in order not to waste the day, I go for a bit of trekking on the peninsula of San Giovanni Sinis, and arrive at the lighthouse, located on its southern tip. For the night, I go to sleep at the B&B Gioia Guesthouse at Cabras, which turns out to be an excellent accomodation.
Light NNW is expected on Sunday, with little swell. I go to Capo Mannu, mindful of the beautiful session, last July.
I explore one of the possible exit points at the Mini Capo, where there are good waves for surfers, but little wind. However, the small beach may not be bad for starting your windsurfing session and reaching Capo Mannu Waves, as long as you know well the seabed.
I then go to the real Capo Mannu "beach". I meet known guys, that is a group of Omanites, windsurfers I met in my trip to Oman in 2019.
Here too the wind is weak. The waves are the usual spectacular waves of Capo Mannu. Tidy and smooth like almost nowhere else in the Mediterranean sea. They are "small", but still at least 2 meters high! However, they have a strange direction compared to the usual ones, it seems to me, and compared to the last ride made here last summer: they have a less wide front, they are concentrated near the Cape, and they move towards the east, and not towards ESE as it noticed the other times I've been here.
With Luigi, one of the Omanites, I start chatting about the exit and return from the Capo beach, which require experience. However, the wind drops further, and near the coast of the Cape, it is practically absent.
For me, waiting on the spot, and then risking doing nothing, is becoming more and more difficult to accept. So, I go and check out the other spots. Also in Funtana Meiga, the wind is very weak, although there are waves of 1 meter, neat, which could be fun. In light of what we have seen here in these days, I would say that both at Funtana and Capo Mannu the wind direction from NNW is excellent (because side / side-off), but only as long as the wind is strong, and manages to reach the sea , overcoming the natural obstacles on the ground (reliefs of the coast). Only in Mari Ermi (a spot a bit North of Funtana), I see decent and well spreaded wind (about 20 knots). The landscaped at Mari Ermi is very beautiful (even the road to get there in the middle of the Sinis countryside). The spot is frequented by Kiters (for the wide comfortable beach). A bump and jump ride would be possible, which I give up, perhaps doing mistake.
I go back to Capo Mannu. The windsurfers who were waiting, meanwhile, entered the water. The conditions leave me perplexed. The waves are beautiful, but the wind is still almost absent near the coast, and blowing only a hundred meters off the southwestern tip of the Cape, and it is light. They are all floating when they are not surfing waves. This takes time and patience to take two successive waves, and makes it rather uncomfortable to enter the water, and less to return, as long as you catch a wave and surf it skillfully until you almost reach the beach. I see a boy come out with a very slow and prolonged body dragging for almost a hundred meters, with extreme fatigue, before being able to get on the board. I see another boy trying to get back in, but not having the benefit of a favorable set of waves, he falls into the water in an area with no wind, and he drifts, and then tries to go offshore again. These circumstances discourage me, even if when I see the best windsurfers being able to surf one of these beautiful waves, I am tempted to enter into the water.
In the end I let it go, and even today that I write, I don't understand if I was right or wrong not entering into the water.
The next day (Monday) almost a storm with NW wind is expected. And in fact, when I get up, the wind is nice and tense. So I drive confident, early in the morning, to Funtana Meiga, but, to my great surprise, I see that the wind blows well throughout the spot, but there are practically no waves!
For days, Alessio Negrelli, a Modenese friend who moved to Stintino, has been saying that La Ciaccia will be good today. I don't want to drive for two hours ...., but, in the end, when Alessio, arrived there, tells me that the conditions are excellent, I accept the idea of going north.
I arrive in La Ciaccia just before 12. The wind has dropped slightly compared to the morning, but it is oriented side / side-on, and the waves are beautiful. I rig the Ezzy Elite 4.2 2019, and the Tabou Pocket 94 2016, with K4 fins, and quickly enter the water. The seabed near the shore in La Ciaccia is treacherous, due to the presence of an irregular rocky plateau. Alessio gives me advice, and shows me the safe exit channel, but this is only a few meters wide. For fear of doing damage, I enter the water and walk away from the shore for about twenty meters. Current and first waves, make me drift a little, and make me end up in an area where the seabed is low and irregular. When the water comes to my waist, I decide to get on the board, and somehow I leave.
The waves are not trivial. There is a nice roughed sea, with big and long waves, some "mountains" offshore, which proceed towards the shore from the West, towards the East. Upwind the exit point, they tend to break 50-100 meters from the shore. Offshore, they break when the biggest sets arrive, even exceeding 3 meters high. The steeper waves are in front of the rocky plateau, in front of the bar / restaurant on the spot.
I am quite well powered with the 4.2, even if the wind is not very stable and it has some changes in direction and intensity. Offshore, it tends to rotate a little onshore. Still, the conditions are manageable, and I like them. I love to be in the sea with this powerful nature around me.
I start trying to catch some waves to surf, even if I pay for the lack of knowledge of the spot. I throw myself into the bottom on the waves downwind of the exit point. Alessio, then, will scold me, saying that, in La Ciaccia, the most beautiful waves to surf are those upwind. The Tabou Pocket 94 makes it easier for me to go out to sea, but it penalizes me a bit in surfing, since it comes down from the wave too fast, and it is difficult to make it turn tight. I reflect on the fact that I would need a wave board of intermediate volume, between my two 94 and 80 ones.
I do, however, an hour in the water, with great satisfaction. Alessio waits for the wind to reinforce again. In the afternoon, the forecast gives stormy conditions ....
I get out of the water to eat and drink something. When I return, wind is picking up. I do few rides in the water, but the equipment soon turns out to be too big for the new conditions. Alessio has gone back in the water with the Goya Banzai 3.7 and the Quatro Pyramid 77. Just the time for me to go ashore, rig the Ezzy Elite 3.7, and prepare the Tabou Da Curve 80, and the wind becomes very strong. The sea begins to foam everywhere, and the waves, as happens in these cases, are smoothed out and become more chaotic. I try to enter again, but the sea spits me back to shore. Unmanageable.... and there is no need to get hurt or split. We unrig. The sun comes out, but it's chilly (about 12 degrees).
We come away from La Ciaccia, and we go to see the spot of Platamona, crossing the Sardinian countryside, with the panorama of the green hills, under a sometimes dark clouded sky, which is more reminiscent of Ireland than an island in the Mediterranean. At times, there are showers of rain. We arrive in Platamona (spot that I do not know). The wind is strong, but less than in La Ciaccia; there are some nice waves, every now and then, not exceeding 2 meters, which some windsurfers are still enjoying. But nothing special. It rains. I decide that it may be enough for today, also because I have to drive two hours to go back to Cabras. We trust on the excellent predictions for Funtana Meiga the next day.
Monday, the last day of the holiday, they give strong NNW, and swell rising, particularly from mid-day. In the early morning they give very strong wind. I arrive at Funtana at 10.00, together with the strong local rider, Matteo Spanu. In hindsight, it would have been better to get there and get in the water earlier. But I pay, also in this case, the lack of knowledge of the spot. As said, Funtana Meiga, in fact, gives its best with very strong NNW wind, as it arrives on the spot side off, and, being dampened by the reliefs on the ground, it arrives near the shore less strong than what would be feared from forecasts. And with this wind direction, the waves are gorgeous, clean and well spaced. To keep in mind for the next occasion.
I quickly rig the Ezzy Elite 3.7 2019, and the Tabou Da Curve 80 2016, with the K4 fins. Wetsuit 5/4 and helmet, and I enter the water. There is a beautiful sunny day, and temperature is pleasant (15-16 degrees).
With the wind coming from behind, gusty near the shore, and the first breaking waves to overcome, from 50 to 150 meters from the shore, the exit is not easy. With side off wind, that's always the case, in any spot. Anyway, I manage to ride off, change my direction, and the funfair begins ....
The waves offshore are beautiful big and clear to see "mountains". The wind is good to acquire the glide well in a direction subparallel to them. All that remains is to choose a wave, and start riding it upwind by going down its wall. When it is steep enough, I start with the bottom, but I miss the timing on the cut back, on the first one, and the wave passes under my board. I go back out and try again with a second wave. And here the incredible happens .... I do the first bottom, and then the cut back, which I do well. I might as well be satisfied. But the wave still pushes, and does not break. I go for another bottom, and another cut back, and so on for a total of 4 bottoms and 4 cut backs, easily managed. I am amazed .... Only in Oman, I had found such conditions. Basically, it's down the line riding.... And the great thing is that I manage to close the cut back, returning to ride close-hauled on the wave to regain water.
I am still a beginner of waveriding, but I am improving with every opportunity. I'm learning to change the body's stance, above all bringing it forward, out of the cut back, to get the stern out of the water, and let the board resume speed, and go down the wave. I am also learning to get out of the bottom faster and faster, pushing with the front leg in the middle of its phase. But today the side off wind helps a lot to keep a nice speed on the wave.
I take other waves, always closing at least 3 bottoms and 3 cut backs. So, it's a drug ..... Waveriding at these levels is addictive ...
At a certain point, after an abundant hour in the water, a little tiredness begins to emerge, and I think about going ashore. I also noticed a slight drop in wind, and now it might be better to have a 4.2. When I'm offshore, I plan to catch a wave and ride it upwind for a long time, to gain water, and return to the exit point, which is 100 meters upwind. But every time I start to ride a wave, it turns out to be beautiful, and I can't resist not starting in another series of bottoms .... I surf one that I shouldn't, and when I restart to go back out to sea again, I realize that the wind has dropped decisively.
We are all floating. On the 80 liters, it is not easy. I try to restart on a new wave, but without wind, I'm too slow, and almost all of them pass under my board. I finally manage to partially surf one of them, but then I fall. At least I got close to the shore. I start studying the coast, looking for a beach where to land, even if in Funtana Meiga, getting to the shore where there is a rocky bottom is not so problematic, as on the shore, in these areas, mostly almost harmless foams arrive. The sea takes me in front of a wide sandy beach, about 200 meters downwind from the exit point. I realize, however, that there is a rather bad shorebreak in front of it. With no more wind, a few meters from the shore, I can't get back on the board. Somehow, the sea throws me on the beach. I lift the equipment out of the water quickly, before another wave can damage it, and I walk away from the shore, tired, but without damage. I unrig, and prepare the equipment for transport and return on foot to the exit point, where I have my car.
Despite the windless return, I realize that I have just had a crazy wave session, perhaps the most beautiful of my life. That's why I wanted at all costs to return to Funtana Meiga!
I start to comment with Alessio, and other local riders, the fantastic conditions offered by the Funtana spot today. The Sinis delivers truly high-end wave session, and is addicting.
I eat something, and I rest, lying down in the sun: sheltered from the wind you could also stay in a bathing suit .... We are waiting to see if the conditions may change, even if the models predicts wind decreasing in the afternoon. The sea, in reality, soon becomes even rougher, but the quality of the wave degrades, because the huge waves break offshore, and in the first 150-200 meters from the shore, there are mostly large foams that are not surfable. The wind comes and goes. Then, it will rise again in the late afternoon. I must say that I am tired, but above all very satisfied with the beautiful session. At about 3.30 pm I decide to leave the spot, to go and admire the waves of Capo Mannu, and perhaps the beach of Is Arenas.
On the road, I make a detour taking a dirt road that leads near the shore of the Cabras pond, in the middle of the fields of artichokes, or just been sown with wheat. I start taking photos and videos of the beautiful flamingos that live in the pond. The grazing light of the beautiful sunny day coming to an end is really charming. I'm in heaven.
Before going to the Cape, Alessio calls me back because he has decided to return to the water. I return briefly to Funtana to take some pictures of him and another boy.
Then I go to Capo Mannu to enjoy the sunset. This place bewitches me, and exerts a unique charm on me (and not only). It looks like you are standing on a promontory, facing the Atlantic Ocean. And its waves seem like living creatures that surround and caress the Cape continuously.
There is no more time for anything else. I get back in the car, and begin to drive towards Olbia, to embark and go home.
Another incredible trip to Sardinia, out of season. The image of Funtana's wave lip, as I see it through the sail window, to place the cut back, will remain in my memory forever.
Click here, for the slidegallery taken at Capo Mannu
Click here, for the slidegallery taken at La Ciaccia
Video of the sessions