Session reports

Finally, we made to be back to the Coudouliere! The well-known waveriding spot of Southern France gave us two full and intense days of windsurfing, with sun, wind and waves, in an ever-exciting landscape.

 

WINDSURFING, REPORT: COUDOULIERE, FRANCE, 16-17 SEPTEMBER 2022

I had been away from Coudou for about a year. Moreover, I missed the sea, and the waves, which I hadn't seen since the last trip to Galicia, last July .

So, with my friends, Adriano and Marco, we organized this two-day hit and run trip, making use of the powerful vehicle made available by Adriano, i.e. his Volkswagen Transporter, which he himself converted into a kind of campervan.

Once we got out of the traffic in Milan, the journey to Six Fours quickly passed thanks to some pleasant chatting, despite the 33 degrees, which on Friday the thermometer still recorded in the south of France.

We reached the Coudouliere after 3.00 pm; the spot was quite crowded, despite the midweek day, and with a fully summer temperature (28-30 degrees).

As expected, the wind, on our arrival, seemed strong, but not violent, and rather oriented from the NW (and not from the W, as predicted). Marco and I have rigged the 4.2 (an Ezzy Elite 2019, as for me; a Goya Guru, as for Marco), while Adriano opted for a 4.4, matched with his Fanatic quad 79. As for the boards, I opted for the Tabou Da Curve 88 2020, Marco for his trusty Quatro Mini 94, both with thruster fins set-up. Given the heat, light wetsuits: 3/2 for me; Adriano even went out with a neoprene bodice and bath suit; in the water we saw several shorts and some naked torsos. Still warm water. At 16.00 we went into action.

 

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 009 Windsurfing Coudouliere France 002

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 001

  

 

The wind was rather unstable, with moments in which it was decidedly stronger (my 4.2 was pretty full), alternating with others in which the wind became weaker, or momentarily oriented more by West. I think I have understood that when the wind is oriented from NW (theoretically, a better direction for the Coudou, because it blows more side), if it is not particularly strong, descending from the coastal hills, it reaches the spot in a more disturbed and unstable way, both in terms of intensity and direction.

Small waves (first day of wind), around 1 meter, not easy and evident to catch, at least for me. After the sessions in Moulay and Galicia, with side/side-off wind, it was not easy to get used, once again, to Coudou side-on conditions, which require technique and malice to return to the lip, after the bottom turn, in switch stance with clew forward riding. In addition, you have to do the "slalom" among the many castaways ...., sometimes present in the middle of the waves (me among others, sometimes), or to pay attention to your friend, intent on dropping your wave ..... To look for the steep section of the waves, you had to go as far as possible to the cliffs of Cap Negre, with the risk of going fishing for sea urchins in the event of a fall ... But that's all part of the game.

Some nice ramp, in the exit riding, allowed me a couple of nice high jumps, with the board bow in the sky: thinking about it in time, they could have been an attempt for a back loop.

For the rest, in the middle of the sea, level of water a bit choppy, given the absence of important waves, and the many riders present.

We have stayed in the water until 19.00, and we had fun, despite the less than ideal conditions. The sea is beautiful, especially on days like these, and in any case, however small, the waves are always an added value when windsurfing.

Basically easy and safe conditions. Adriano has regained confidence with the spot, where he hasn't been riding for a long time.

We stayed overnight at the Hotel Le Clos des Pins, which proved to be a good economic alternative, to the classic places, such as Premiere Classe and B&B Hotel in La Seyne Sur Mer, which have recently given some safety problems (read the report of my last French trip, in February).

For Saturday 17, the forecast changed several times. The wind direction from NW was sure, but the intensity was uncertain: according the first forecasts, it was expected very strong wind, then reduced, according to Arome, close to Saturday. 

 

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 002

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 006

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 004

Windsurfing Coudouliere France 008

 

In the end, another day very similar to Friday came out in terms of wind quality. All three of us went out with the same gear as the previous day.

Strong wind in the early morning (3.7-4.0 sails, for the first riders entering the water), then a sharp but momentary drop in the middle of the morning, and then a good blast again in the middle of the day. But the nice thing was that on Saturday, finally, we were able to have fun with much more beautiful waves, of a more interesting size, around two meters, with some sets on two and a half meters, near Cap Negre. By the time the wind picked up in the middle of the day, the conditions turned out to be just fine. The air was more fresh, as expected, with temperatures between 18 and 24 degrees, depending on the day time. 3/2 wetsuit and then 4/3, for me, even if some shorties were still seen ('cause the water, of course, remained warm).

Having regained confidence, I managed to surf a couple of really nice waves, even if I had to leave several of them having other riders upwind, or below me, at the beginning of the bottom turn. I am not one who goes looking for unnecessary trouble; and I always try to respect rights of way, or to take an adequate safety distance. Sometimes, in the wave trough, with shallow water (about 1 meter), and sea bottom showing, I sometimes feared to hear the "tum" of the impact of the fins against some rocks, but, in the end, it always went well; including in the case in which I lost the equipment, because of a wave that tore it from me. A quick swim allowed me to recover it quickly. A forgiving Coudouliere ...

 

On the spot, several well-known faces, or in any case quite known among the French regulars of the spot, which, I must say, always show a lot of skill in knowing how to get the best out of these waves, despite the side-on conditions ( just see the slidegallery I shot from Cap Negre ). Among others, Corrado from Turin, Ezio Papalia, and the local rider Guillame, who is always welcoming.

Around 1.00 pm, we took a lunch break, to recover some energy, with the idea of ​​having a final session, and changing, Marco and I, to the smaller boards.

Unfortunately, when we got back into the water, the wind had a momentary drop, to increase again, later. With my 80 liters board, I struggled, even risking something in front of the cliff of the port, to keep on gliding and avoid the big waves in front of it, also considering a momentary rotation from the West; I passed in front of the cliff at the exit, at about 20 meters .... (I think ...., because I didn't dare to look). I soon returned to the beach, with the idea of ​​returning to my 88 again. But Adriano told me that in the meantime it was almost 15.00, which was more or less the time to start thinking about returning home. Furthermore, the fatigue of the two days began to appear.

Marco "Duracell" remained in the water for almost another hour (he returned to his 94 board), while Adriano and I went to unrigg and put our equipment away.

Before leaving, with Adriano we went to the beach to look at the sea, which was rippled by the wind, with the dark silhouettes of the islands, standing out beyond the silver mirror of the sea. The calm sea is pleasant, but we like the sea shaked by the wind even more: it seems to us a living creature with which to enter into relationship. Happy hours...

We left for home, around 16.00, a little sore (waveriding is healthy ...), but satisfied with the trip. Also this time it was worth it, with the added value of good company. Between one beer and another ..., at 10.30 pm we arrived at Milan.

Now, it will be necessary to train well, in view of the autumn storms, to be taken maybe, sometimes, even in my beloved Sardinia.

Aloha. Fabio

Click here, for the slidegallery of September 17, 2022

 

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