Session reports
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Appointment in the mythical spot of Hyeres for the waterwind group of riders, on January 4, 2015. The spot has has not disappointed us, giving a week end of strong mistral, and spring time temperatures.

 

Windsurf session: Hyeres (France)

Hyeres, La MadragueTaking advantage of a few days off between New Year and Epiphany, I decided to stay with my family in Nice for a short holiday, also programming a windsurf session in Hyeres for sunday, since the forecasts of strong winds. Nice is a beautiful town, as well as its surrounding (I recommend Cap Ferrat, a beautiful promontory, with breathtaking views).

The rest of the group, Michele, Norby, and Marco, directly go to Hyeres, where Saturday afternoon they have already enjoyed a great session with a mistral for 4.2 sails.... 

I arrived to the spot (La Madrague - read here the spot review) on Sunday at 11.15. The thermometer marks 20 degrees at my arrival. Great.

First measurement of the wind: 20 knots average, over 25 on gusts. Norby suggests to wait, because in the early afternoon it should intensify and spread. I shudder, because I hardly resist in front of a water body ruffled by the wind; moreover, it does not happen all days to have twenty knots available...

We chat ... The wind drops slightly. Second measurement: 15 knots average, about 20 on the gusts. The decision not to enter immediately will prove, at least from my point of view, a little unhappy, because at least I would have done almost two hours in human conditions. In fact, at 14.00 the storm begins. Third measurement: 30 knots average, about 38 on the gusts. At the beach .... So, in the water it is surely stronger.

We rig the smallest sails we have: Neil Pryde Zone 4.1 for me (my sail for special occasions ....), Norby and Michele rig a 4.2. But, it would be right a 3.7. Norby uses the quad 70 liters.

Norby in action

Norby gets into water as first; after a while comes back ashore, probably to fix some adjustment in his sail. He says the wind today is bad. I am hesitant to enter. The spot is safe. At worst, I'll end regurgitated on the sandy beach; but I would not like to break the equipment. The desire to try overrides. I get into water with the Tabou 3s 86 liters. On the beach, there is a blizzard of sand ...

I go to the point. Summary of the session ... I did 4 rides, or maybe they were 5 ...., with 40 knots of wind. I had already tried a 35 knots wind in Porto Pollo, in Sardinia, but the conditions were easier, because the water was virtually flat.

Today, the complications are many: tremendous gusts, on-shore wind direction which makes difficult to go off shore, shorebreak at times of almost a meter, some stretches of shore filled with posidonia torn by the storm, and that forms a dense jelly, in which to move is annoying; finally, the other surfers near the shore (there are many who have some difficulty starting), and the usual kiters who enjoy riding almost on the shore, and that invariably pass to leeward, while you're departing.

To start, today, you have to bear away almost immediately to take rapidly speed, quickly to put your feet in the straps, because the table is a wild horse, and possibly to hook fast on the harness. All this before a wave, or a gust, make you fall.

Once you start, and gain speed, everything is easier, because the board remains more stable. However, the gusts are always there, and today they are bad, bad, bad.

During my rides I meet Norby sometimes: he is enjoying very much (see video). He's more expert.

Even with the 4.1, it is not easy to maintain a reasonable speed and to control the board.

Hyeres, La Madrague: 40 knots!Today, you should do everything at once ... No time to think. Each error is immediately paid off with a dip. My rides are not longer than 100 meters... However, I remain around the exit point. My physical training is not at the top. At least for me, it is more difficult to maintain a good training during the winter, especially during the Christmas holiday...

I remain in the water until 16,00. It will be primarily an exercise in beach start, and waterstart....

This day reminds me of my first day in Hyeres, with 25 knots of Mistral, the 4.7 and 125 freeride. That day I did very little, but It was an important experiment, so that I could improve my ability and enjoy the subsequent sessions with 25 knots. For 40 knots, I still need a little practice.

The storm ends at 16,00. It remains a pleasant breeze of around ten knots, which takes us along the end of day, with the wonderful light of a winter sunset that lights ponds where flamingos feed, and the trunks of pine trees.

We all meet at the parked cars, with families, partners and friends around.

Waterwind friends

 

I chat with Michele. He too entered into the water, but when the sand has stopped flying ... He complains that his Fanatic freestyle 100 liters is too light, and not suited for these conditions.

We say bye to each other (Norby leaves for Milan, I come back to Nice, Marco and Michele will stay one more day in Hyeres).

It was not my most memorable session in Hyeres, but I'm sure it was an important step in my surfing career. Also from a psychological point of view: I tried to get into the water with 40 knots. But I surely learned something even from a technical point of view. 

I can not wait to get back to Hyeres with the rest of the Waterwind group, although, perhaps, with a wind slightly more forgiving. 

Aloha.

Fabio Muriano

 

To enjoy pictures slidegallery, click here.

 

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Below, the video of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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