Session reports

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Finally, we found a spot where the Tramontana (North wind) in Liguria, if a little rotated from North East, can become very enjoyable: today at La Rabina, Imperia, we had great fun. A big thank you to my friend from Turin, Marco Full Elia, for having encouraged me to come to Liguria today, and for letting us know a really good spot.

 

Windsurf session: La Rabina, Imperia (Liguria)

We leave from Milan at 7,45, under a thick fog, that will follow us up to Turchino pass, gateway to sunny Liguria. And, infact, on the opposite side of Appenine mountain chain, we dive in a wonderful landscape, with blue sky and 15-16 °C. Shortly after 9.00, Tramontana wind (i.e. from the North) is already strong at Noli - Spotorno, Albenga and Diano Marina. But we drive further. 

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Our goal would be to try Bordighera. Everyone says that with the wind from the east is a blast. Some weather maps give a good rotation from east of Tramontana, on the west of Liguria, in the middle of the day; but when we arrive, shortly after 10.00, the wind is just really off. We stay for a few minutes to think about what to do in the vicinity of the spot (Caranca bath facilities - Church of Sant'Ampelio). I meet my friend Marco Elia, from Turin. Staying is a risk.

Marco suggests us to go to La Rabina, in Imperia. He reports that, there, the wind is already entered. We decide to play it safe, and we head towards Imperia, which, moreover, is on the way back. We are there just after 11.

 

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When we arrive, the wind seems really beautiful: strong enough, and especially well spread all thorugh the water surface in front of the spot beach; and it's blowing more or less side. Not so gusty as usually Tramontana is in the near Noli .... But above all, it is the location that fascinates me. La Rabina is located almost at the end of a dead end street in the East area of Imperia. Quiet and relaxed atmosphere, and convenient parking right on the spot. The view is very nice, with a stretch of coast not much built. Moreover, if desired, the area of bars and typical restaurants in the arcades and the historical center of Oneglia is within walking distance (soon, a detailed review of the spot). On the spot, there is also the Windsurfing club La Rabina.

On the breakwaters in front of the spot, I measure 25 knots on the gusts. Offshore, there are definitely more. In the water, there is already a guy who rides at full speed (I do not know with which sail).

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I choose the Ezzy Panther 2, 4.7 (I'm 70 kg), to be matched to the only board that I brought, the Fanatic freewave TE 105, with standard fin (single fin 29, G10). I decide to sheet quite a lot the downhaul, but not so much the outhaul, to have power in the lower part of the sail, and not too much in the leech, to better manage the likely 30 knots that I will face offshore.

Marco, who was rigging the 5.3, also decides to go out with a 4.7 (a Neil Pryde), and with a RRD Firewave 82 liters thruster. My friend Remy prepares a brand new Fringe Goya 4.7 (three battens), with a Goya One 95 liters, resulting though, a little underpowered once out (but he weighs 85 kg). On the spot, there are a dozen other riders, mostly from Liguria, which choose similar sails (few ones go for a bigger one).

I wear a 5mm wetsuit, my helmet and a neoprene cap (but the cap is not compulsory), surf shoes (the pebbles on the beach are sharp), and bare hands.

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At about 12,00, we enter into water. The exit point is not so comfortable, but not impossible, anyway. You beachstart between two close breakwaters that enter into sea for about 20 meters. Just outside, the hesitancy for the novelty of the spot vanishes immediately. I am perfectly trimmed with the sail, and the board goes very well. But above all, there is a sun, a blue sky and a blue sea, which are such a beautiful sight. Near the shore, there are about half a meter waves. Offshore, in the first part of the session, you have some fairly regular series of waves, sometimes steeper, of about two meters. They move in a side direction, like the wind. They are not perfect for jumps (although on some small one, you can take flight). In return, they would be nice to surf, but onlky if you are available to lose water, and I, at first, want to avoid it. The spot seems secure, as downwind, past some rocks, there are other beaches for landing. Finally, at 1 km, there is the Imperia harbour, and so there is no chance to be drifted offshore, in case of problems. In the second part of the session, the waves will become a little bit messy.

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The wind is beautiful on the entire stretch of sea in front of the spot, with a few extra lulls, very close to shore. The gusts are not so bad, and the glide is also held peacefully in the poors (average wind still intense). I easily ride upwind to the exit point. At the beginning, full of strength and energy, and I throw myself in the jibes at full speed, also trying to ride the waves while carving. The strong wind helps me to glide throughout the power jibe, and forgive me during the exit from the maneuver, which is not yet perfect, 'cause I make the stern sink too much, loosing speed. The fast tack, on the contrary, will be today an ordeal, since I can not find the right measures. Probably, with this type of wave, which makes you lose quickly speed, while luffing, it is better to anticipate, throwing yourself immediately beyond the sail on the new tack, to sail backwinded for a while. Even the board makes the difference: on a freeride (especially, in flat water), the speed and the headway, at the beginning and during the maneuver, are greater, and you can wait a bit more time before passing with your body on the other side of the sail.

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After an hour, I return to the beach and I eat a sandwich. Short break of 20 minutes, a few photos and videos (and a cute dog on the beach swap my sail for a tree ....), and shortly after 13.30, I am back in the water.

The wind has now turned a bit more from the North East. Near the shore has dropped a bit (then, it will rise and turn again from the East). After a few rides, I go back to trim the sail. I ease both the outhaul and the downhaul, to give power to the sail. And here, the Ezzy prove, once again, to be fantastic sails, for the wide wind range that are able to cover. The Ezzy Panther 4,7, trimmed like this, will prove to be completely different, much more powerful, and I will not be forced to change sail, and go for a 5.5. Marco also switches to 5.3 (always Neil Pryde Combat), as well as Remy (always Goya Fringe).

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In the second part of the session, I stau out until me energies are over. I finish shortly after 15.00, along with another group of five or six riders. Finally, I find the opportunity to take some nice pictures and filming in the water (I will pay it with a little leeway ... but where do you find another windsurfing website, where you can find similar photos .....). I begin to do mistakes because of tireness. At some point, however, I close well a power jibe, I turn around, and I find in front of me a huge fishing vessel on a collision course .... I would have precedence, but there's no need to scramble: I jump into the water, I stop, and I greet the driver with a wave of my hand. After all, it is a great day: why to get angry?

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At the end, on the spot, a slalom rider appears, who, then, at the beach, while taking a picture of us, tells of being leaving for Tarifa, where he will remain until March ...

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I go on enjoying the session as long as I can, trying and retrying fast tacks (but today there's no way: sometimes I fall, when I am practically on the new board), until I have two problems:

1. My neck muscles begin to ache, and I can hardly look forward riding upwind!

2. The wind finally begins to decline, and remains only out to sea, so that with the 4.7, near the shore, to keep gliding, I should often bear away and drift.

I definitely go back to the beach very pleased with the day.

The end of the afternoon is pleasant. We wash sails and boards to the club shower (thank you!). We get a bit of photos with a Christmas atmosphere, and we comfortably put everything away at the parking lot, with Marco that puts some nice background music. I dream to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing with a good book and a drink on the veranda of a beautiful villa just above the spot ....

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Then, we go to get a cup of tea and a slice of Sacher pie on the terrace of near Bar, and we enjoy the sunset just wearing a light sweater ..... I wonder why we have to go back ...

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Happy Christmas to everybody. Fabio 

 

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Click here, for the slidegallery of the day

The video of the session filmed with my camera

 

 

 

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