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We came to Sardinia to catch Storm Ciaran. The opportunity to windsurf in Chia for three consecutive days, with an appetizer in Alghero, was too much tempting.


Windsurfing, report: Sardinia, 2 - 5 november 2023



Every trip to Sardinia leaves and teaches something. From this trip I return with a considerable wealth of experience and knowledge of an incredible spot such as Chia, in the south of the island. But I don't beat around the bush, I'm not one of those who always say that everything was fantastic and epic.... I like to be credible.

Chia, Friday 3 and Sunday 5 November 2023, offered crazy and rare conditions; down the line at the highest level, as few places in the world can guarantee. You just need to look at the beautiful photos and videos I took to realize this.

But, at least as far as I'm concerned, it turned out to be the most difficult and technical spot I've ever tried around the world.

With great humility, it must be recognized that it beat me.... It made me pay for my lack of experience in the spot, my inadequate training, and a technical level in waveriding that is good, but still insufficient for such demanding spots. But "everything that kills me, makes me feel alive..." (One Republic quote). I understood many things about the spot (which are not found in any guide, unfortunately, and which I will integrate into the review of the spot here on Waterwind), and it just made me want to return to Chia as soon as possible.

But let's start from the beginning, and tell how the trip went.






(go to the complete albums with the beautiful photos of the sessions)


I cast off on the evening of November 1st and arrived in Golfo Aranci on the morning of November 2nd.

Golfo Aranci welcomes me with a very different atmosphere from the one of other summer trips. There's no one around, and I struggle to find a bar open for breakfast.

Upon arrival, I realize I have made two mistakes. I realize that I forgot to take my pajamas, and.....I have arrived from Milan with wool socks on my's 24/26 degrees here and they're still wearing flip flops!

The forecast says S-SW will blow in Alghero, today, at the Faro (i.e. Lighthouse) spot, known for offering legendary waveriding sessions.... In reality, I am doubtful: the 40 knots of gust predicted by Arome seems to me to agree poorly with waveriding. But I want to know the spot and try it.
To plan the trip I really heard a lot of opinions. But in the end the only thing is to think with your own head and see for yourself.


In Golfo Aranci, there is only a light breeze, but as I cross Sardinia on national roads, the wind increases and, when I arrive in Alghero around 10.00, it is really strong. I find the spot immediately, because it is crowded with fellow windsurfers.... I park in a sheltered street parallel to the sea shore, and without delay I rig the Ezzy Elite 3.7 and Tabou Da Curve 80 2016 with K4 fins. War Quiver. I'm not convinced of the conditions, but I'm here now and I'll try.

In front of the beach of the spot there are rocky breakwaters parallel to the shore, with gaps of approximately 20 metres. With this wind and this rough sea, they are not trivial to overcome on the way out, and they will also be much more insidious on the way back as they are barely visible from offshore, because they are submerged by the waves.

Offshore, you can see waves crashing downwind of the islet on which the lighthouse stands. I head towards them with other riders.

I can't hold my sail and the sea is really messy. A nice mess. At the time of jibing, I struggle to bear away. Having reversed course, I go in search of the waves. On the shoal they are steep, and about three meters high, oriented from the west, but they intersect with smaller, breaking waves, oriented from the north-west, resulting in an absurd pyramidal wave.

I try to surf, but I can't do the bottom and I'm too fast when I get off the wave. Bullshit.... I try a few times but the situation doesn't improve. I'm not having fun and after a while I think about returning to the beach.... I look for reference points on the ground, to set my course. I arrive in front of the cliffs, and I see some red buoys that delimit a gap between them, and I get in. Without realizing it, I sailed upwind a lot, and returned 150 meters upwind to the exit point. It rarely happens to me.

I'm disappointed, but there's not much that can be done. Arome gives even stronger winds in the afternoon. I think about what to do.

I might go and try Porto Ferro, a little further north. But there, probably, the waves coming in from the open sea are even bigger and more disorderly. I might try a bump and jump session in Mugoni bay.

In the end, given that Chia will work well in the next three days, I decide to gain time and start driving towards the South. Also because, today, Chia is having a light WSW and we might end up riding there at sunset.

I arrive in Chia around 4.30pm, after having crossed some really wild areas of Sardinia on roads that are out of this world, with roads that behind a hairpin bend hide potholes as large as craters (Sardinia also offers this).

Chia is a paradise, out of season, and it always excites me so much. It bears comparison with some magnificent beaches in Galicia or Portugal or South Africa that I am in love with. There are people swimming, there are some surfers, or people simply walking on the beach, with their dog, relaxing.

There are a meter high waves, clean, and 15 knots, side. After some hesitation, I decide to give it a try. I get into the water around 5pm, with the Ezzy Elite 5.3 and the Tabou Da Curve 88 2020. I also manage to catch a couple of easy waves. But it's November now and after 5.30pm it starts to get dark. I then get out of the water around 5.45pm and unrig in the dark.

I hear my friends Marco and Alberto who are boarding from Livorno to join me, and we agree to get an apartment together to sleep in Pula.

Pula is a 20 minute drive from Chia, and proves to be a good base for the spot (as well as offering a beach for windsurfing itself). The town has a pleasant "historic" center, and there are shops for every need, and some interesting restaurants.....


The next day, the forecast for Chia is challenging. Significant swell, and wind from the West, side off, around 30 knots.

I arrive at the spot around 10.30, and to understand the conditions (it's the first time I am here with West wind), I lose the moment.... In the water, there is only a young boy, with long hair, with a Neil Pryde sail, and a JP board, who enjoys fantastic right-hand waves of 3 meters (maybe more), very smooth, in solitude (see the photos). When he rides them till the end, he doesn't risk jibing, at the east end of the bay, downwind, near the rocky tip that closes the bay to the east. He lets himself be taken to the beach by the wave, and then walks back upwind, to start again near the rock of Su Giudeu. Alessio, a friend of mine from Stintino, warned me about the dangers of the leeward side of the bay. I talk to the boy, who is a foreigner, who confirms the danger of the leeward end of the bay, and gives me some other advice.

Then, others will arrive, including a very tough boy with a red and yellow Goya (see photos and video), and other locals and non-locals. Jacopo Testa (the Pro rider) also arrives (and I was sure of it). Meanwhile, the sea grows and so does the wind. I move to the parking lot downwind of the bay. I see Jacopo surfing a crazy wave: there is still a meter above the head of his sail..... He remains in the water, with a few others. A local rider who has tried tells me that these are survival conditions, now, and that he is moving to the Hotel Setar spot in Quartu.








Reluctantly, I give up riding Chia and decide to move to the Hotel Setar spot, where in the meantime Marco and Alberto have also arrived, who get into the water in the central part of the day, and also experience nice conditions (1.5 high meters wave, side wind).

But when I arrive at the spot, about an hour from Chia, after having also crossed the traffic of Cagliari, I can hardly hide my disappointment. This doesn't look like Sardinia: brown sea, entrance from a pebbles slope full of poseidonia, in front of the asphalted car park, and areas around with shacks and disorder..... For me, the landscape around also counts. That's how I am, and the difference with Chia is unbearable.

Upon arrival the conditions in the water would also be easy and fun, but a series of showers that arrive in the early afternoon decide for me. The wind drops and becomes unstable, and the riders in the water begin floating or get only short glides on gusts. I return to Chia, but the bad weather has deteriorated the quality of the wind there too. The spot would be less demanding now, but in the meantime it is late, and it is not worth entering the water for a short time before dark. The next day Chia should offer a beautiful day, right both as wind and as waves.

We console ourselves by going to try the Zia Leunora restaurant in Pula, with Marco and Alberto, where we eat very well.

The next day we show up at around 10.00 in Chia. The day is beautiful. The wind should come in late morning up to 20 knots, and up to 30 in the afternoon. And indeed around 11.30 it seems to enter. I quickly rig the new Goya Guru 4.7 22/23 and prepare the Da Curve 88, and give it a try. But the wind drops... and there is no way to enter the water, immediately downwind of Su Giudeu, where there is only a very strong current, and it is impossible to stay floating on the board. At the end of the trip, after having tried them all, we will still understand that, here in Chia, it is better to start from the middle of the bay, or in the leeward part (without getting too close to the rocks at the end of the bay), as there is always more consistent wind and less current. Most riders start from there, so there must be a reason. On the other hand, you have to face breakers on the way out, which, in rough seas, can be significant and powerful. I'm going to get the 5.3, which I rig. But we wait for the situation to improve. Now, Arome has postponed the wind entry towards 3.00 pm. Unfortunately, even this afternoon there are several rain showers lurking, which probably disturb the wind.

After 3.00 pm, the situation improves, even if the wind will be weak and unstable, except near the thunderstorms, when it will fire rather violent gusts. I enter the water with the 5.3 and the 88 around 3.30 pm, and Marco and Alberto are also with me.

I spend two hours in the water, really physical and demanding, but not dangerous. Today, the waves don't exceed 2 meters on the best sets, and the spot is very forgiving. But it's really difficult and tiring to stay on the board, floating, or with some short gliding, and it's complicated to catch the waves, even if the best riders obviously do something. In particular, we notice a boy with a home-built custom board, with a wide bow, and a generous, swallow tail. The next day he will show a really good technique (see photos and video).

We come back to the shore also today almost in the dark, a little disoriented. It should have been the best day, and instead it turned out to be mediocre, even if didactic, one. For dinner I would like to be lighter, but instead Marco prepares us a powerful Pasta all'Amatriciana.....



Sunday 5 November, the last day of our short trip, according to Arome, will still be a demanding one, but with seas not as rough as Friday. The forecast says the wind will come in mid-morning. The day is clear again, and warm, with a beautiful sun and 24 degrees. Foreigners from North Europe go crazy.

I head towards the west car park, from where the long walkway leads to the beach. Marco and Alberto prefer the parking lot east of the pond. And they will be right, in terms of logistics and quality of the wind at the start.

The wind seems to be not steady today too, and I'm having trouble getting both the 4.7 (the Ezzy Wave I repaired, to avoid risking damage to the new Guru) and the 5.3 to the beach. The guy with the homebuilt custom, even heavier than me, rig the 4.4. And perhaps I should do some reflection..... But since the wind is still weak in mid-morning, I rig the 5.3 and go in. However, the wind increases rapidly in a short time, and when I try to start, the 5.3 gives me difficulty. In Chia, in particular, in the stretch of beach just downwind of Su Giudeu Rock, everything is against the unfortunate rider who tries to get out of there: a very strong current keeps the board parallel to the shoreline, making it difficult to orient it towards the sea; the wind reaches you almost from behind, from almost 0 to very strong, with significant gusts; in short, the current takes you to the area where there is a shoal just outside, and where breakers of one and a half meters rise, sometimes quite powerful, which obviously cannot be faced with the board parallel to them. But if there is no wind and only strong current, this becomes almost impossible (for me...). Next time I will definitely start further downwind, as mentioned. In short, even today, the spot is very technical. I return to beach (where I meet Alberto who broke the extension in the sea), and I quickly decide to switch to 4.7. And it is here that, thanks to the complicated logistics of the spot (at least as regards the west parking), the trouble happens. I left the 4.7 and the bottom of the Ezzy Hookipa 370 mast near a white hut near the shore. It is the most sheltered place from the wind. But now, in the gusts, the sand flies... I unrig the 5.3, and try to rig the 4.7 on the beach, but I have the problem that the two pieces of the mast that I have to assemble for the 4.7, and even the extension, continue to get stuck with sand. To prevent them from getting stuck, I then go and rinse everything in the sea, and insert them into the sail, after also putting some gray tape on the junction of the two pieces of the mast, to prevent them from separating, and to prevent sand from entering. But the wind will sand up the base of the mast again, and the extension could get stuck in the mast. I take the whole rig, partially assembled, without the boom, and rinse it in the sea. But probably, without me realizing it, at this moment the two pieces of the mast partially separate, without the gray tape, perhaps too wet, holding them together.

When I try to sheet the downhaul, it seems that the extension, although adjusted to the right size, is too long. I think about the situation repeatedly. I don't understand the problem. To best solve the problem, I would have to disassemble everything again and check. But on the beach everything would get dirty with sand again! Hastily, I decide to shorten the length of the extension by a few centimeters.... The sail seems properly trimmed, with a nice shape. I enter the sea.

As I'm leaving, a wave hits me and makes me fall. When I resurface I quickly understand that the bottom of the mast has broken right near the junction.... Punished..... End of the day. My inexperience about the spot and lack of attention caused the damage....

Meanwhile, it was almost one o'clock p.m.. We have the ferry in the evening, and at 4.00 pm we have to drive back to cross Sardinia again and reach Olbia.








Even though my mood isn't sky-high, I come to terms with what happened and decide to enjoy the early afternoon calmly. First I start taking some more photos and videos of the many riders now in the water, some of which really put on a show. The conditions are beautiful, with 3 meters high waves, and a generous 25+ knots wind, however slightly gusty. I can only compliment the riders I shot with my camera and who allowed me to take exceptional pics (I'm worth more as a sports photographer than as a waverider at the moment).

Then, I eat something, and I get in the car to take the SP71 again, the panoramic road between Chia and Teulada, a fantastic road with views worthy of the best of South Africa, or of some European countries overlooking the Atlantic. I reach Porto Pino, also to understand if the spot works with West wind (unfortunately not).


P1100045 P1100146



It's now time to get back on the road to Olbia. During the journey, I received reports of the very powerful south-westerly wind in Liguria. At 8.00 pm, I get on the ship and meet up with Marco and Alberto. Chia left us with mixed sensations, and a great desire for revenge: we have not ride at best because of our limits, but we discovered and tried one of the best wave spots in the world, where we can't help but return.

Hang loose. Fabio

Click here for the slidegallery of November 3, 2023

Click here for the slidegallery of November 5, 2023


The amazing videos off the sessions!




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