Going to the South of France for windsurfing is always an exciting experience. This time I have gone to Six Four Les Plages, for a week of surfing and tourism. It's an area that I love, because it really offers so many possibilities, both for water sports and trekking, and also for sightseeing (beautiful landscape and historical monuments). Moreover, it is less than 500 km far from Milan (near where I live), and it is reached , traffic permitting , in less than 5 hours.
Windsurf session: Six Fours Les Plages and Hyeres (France)
Regarding windsurfing, with advice of my friends Adolfo and Norberto, I went out with mistral wind (NW) at the spot of Le Brusc ( Six Four ) and La Madrague ( Hyeres) . I have had good sessions, especially that one at La Madrague , with winds over 25 knots. During the week, it also did three days of wind from the East / South-East . In the slideshow related to this article (see link below), you can see how the different spots of Hyeres work under these East wind conditions: flat water and slalom/formula boards lovers at La Madrague, waves and small boards at La Bergerie .
The spot of Le Brusc is located in a very beautiful natural setting , with homonymous lagoon just southwards (forbidden windsurfing inside ), which offers magnificent natural views . It is closed by L'Ile du Grand Gaou and by L'Ile des Embiez to the South and West , on which you can take great walks (or jogging in the morning, like I did) . I went out from the beach just before the village (coming from North) of Le Brusc , where there is also a small school of windsurfing (La Cahute), riding towards the center of the bay , which is in front of the other two mythical spots in the area, La Coudouliere and Brutal beach , where , with strong winds and waves that become significant , you can watch the best French waver in action (Thomas Traversa to name one).
On the day of my session at Le Brusc, the wind varied between 15 and 20 knots. I went out with a 6.3 sail and a freeride board of 125 liters. In front of Le Brusc , with the mistral , the water remains relatively flat ; under this wind conditions, there are sandy beaches downwind, and the spot can be considered safe . In front of La Coudouliere , even with the wind conditions I met, waves of 1 meter and a half formed, almost at about 100 meters from the coast, really fun to start doing some jumps while going out, and to surf on the way back .
The session at La Madrague of Saturday April 26 was more adrenalinic . The Mistral rose up well at 15.30 , but , having to go back home during the night , I went out already at 14 , with the 6.3 sail, when the wind was already blowing at 15 knots average . Beautiful rides and planing, already in the first hour of session. This is a spot that I love because it allows you to dare what you want , because the wind throw you back on the beach ( that is sandy everywhere ) . So I took the opportunity to perfect the water start , and to approach the Speed Jibe which is my next goal . Then , as mentioned, his majesty the mistral entered strongly , exceeding 25 knots in the best moment. While my friend Norby equipped a 5.8 before, and then a more suitable 4.7, I , for lack of time , remained out with the 6.3 , riding at full speed and with much pleasure, even if , under the stronger gusts , sometimes a little out of control. Great excitement .....
However , the nice thing about this spot is that you can plane and ride both steep waves a few tens of meters from the shoreline with great fun , even if in the middle of surfers and kiters traffic on the week-end, and the longest waves at 100-200 meters from the coast ( the bay is huge) for beautiful solitary rides .
On the day of our session , waves had not yet formed very much , being the first day of mistral, and also in front of L'Almanarre spot , where they generally get bigger, I found no more than a meter and a half wave, although already long .
On the way back I had some difficulty in orientation , as from the sea it is not easy to recognize the unique building ( a small bar ) , at the center of the long beach of La Madrague , where I had parked the car . Better, perhaps , to go out, the first times, at the South end of the beach ( if you do not exit at L'Almanarre , that is on the north end of the coast ), where it is easier to notice points of reference. When you know the spot well , obviously there are no problems at all.
The only negative thing to say of this spot is that you have a high amount of kiters. Although generally kind, they have almost completely occupied the spot of La Madrague up to the central part of the bay. The crowding makes the risk of collisions increasing , especially in strong winds , as an error or careless maneuver by a surfer or a kiter can always happen . Theorycally , as my friend Norby told me, the kiters area should be limited to a portion of the bay , but apparently the rule is not very much respected. This problem should be, in our opinion, reasonably resolved in a decisive manner .
At the end of the day, a chat with my friend Norby about the session, and then from Hyeres, in the late afternoon, I left towards Milan; when you go away from Hyeres , you immediately dream of coming back soon ......
We explored but not tried other spots: Bandol and La Seyne sur mer - plage de Les Sablettes . More details, soon, in the " Spot reviews" section.
Good wind . Fabio Muriano
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To watch the complete sessions slideshow (more than 70 photos), or to freely download pictures, click here.
Below, the video of the session of 26th of april 2014, at Hyeres, La Madrague (choose settings to 720 hp, if you want to watch the video in HD).