An exciting day, but with a happy ending, that one of January 4, 2018 in France; it started with some disappointment at Cannes Palmes Beach, but we closed it with a session at Almanarre with wind at 35-40 knots.
Windsurf session: Almanarre, Hyeres (France)
Technical session data:
Wind: West/North-West, 30 kts as average, gusts up to 40 kts.
Water surface: in front of the Restaurant Le Robinson (north end of the bay, near the partially submerged rocks) fairly regular waves up to almost 2 meters; towards the center of the bay, first, disordered big chops bay, further offshore smooth 2 meters waves, sometimes breaking. Insidious shorebreak just at the shoreline (sea bottom immediately becomes deep at Almanarre), except in front of Le Robinson.
Sail: Ezzy Elite 3,7 2016
Board: Fanatic Triwave TE 86 2013, with default fins.
Rider's weight: 70 kgs
Clothing: 5 mm wetsuit, 3 mm surf shoes, bare hands, neoprene cap.
Air temperature: 20 °C
Sea water temperature: 14 °C
Betrayed by the wrong predictions for West wind at Cannes Palm Beach (by all the main sites, which corrected their information only at the last moment ....), we had to go to Hyeres, and try the mad trip Milan-Hyeres (1000 km) just in one day, so as not to waste the day completely. I hope not to repeat such an experience, even if the pleasant company (Sergio and Max), and the magic of Hyeres, have made the day, however, positive.
During our drive to Hyeres the car thermometer came to score 21 degrees. Already spring time in South France.
This time, I wanted to try Almanarre (I usually go out at Madrague with mistral). In the review of Hyeres, I will add the details of this Hyeres spot. Here, I limit myself to say that it is decidedly different from La Madrague, and it is better to know what it reserves.
Upon our arrival, I immediately measured with the anemometer at 38 knots. So I took little time to understand, that I had done well to charge the 3.7 in the car. When you go to South France, it is always good to take that size .... Sergio has rigged a 4.2, and Max a 4.5, not having smaller stuff.
Shortly after 2.00pm, we entered into the water. On the spot, already, about fifteen riders mainly local (all with small equipment), and very few kiters!
Once gone through the initial shorebreak, we found ourselves in a beautiful battlefield. At Almanarre, much larger waves rise, with conditions suitable for waveriding, near the rocks in front of Le Robinson, although less regular than at Coudou or Cannes. Near the shore, the wind was more oriented from the north, and more side, while towards the bay center it rotated from the west (more onshore). In the middle of the bay, big chops, and then beautiful steep waves to jump.
In the first hour, I was overpowered with the 3.7, and it was not easy to maneuver, as the riding itself was rather challenging. On my way back, I tried to surf the waves several times, even if the wind, really strong, determined a really excessive speed when bearing away and descending from the wave. The wind was less gusty in the first part of the session (though with some really intense gusts). After almost an hour I came back to shore to get some rest.
When I returned to the water, shortly after three o'clock p.m., unfortunately a momentary rotation of the wind from NW happened, with a slight drop (then almost at the sunset it will rotate again from the West). The hills immediately north of the spot, therefore, made the wind much more unstable, especially at the shore. In this part of the session, my friend Max rode better with the 4.5, as in the lulls the 4.5 allowed him to keep the planning for longer time. I did what I could with the 3.7 (there was no time for a sail change), and remained in the water until about 16.00.
At the end of the session, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset over the bay of Hyeres (with some riders still in the water enjoying a wind then more regular), which made us feel unhappy to the idea of coming back home.
Click here, to enjoy the complete slidegallery of the day!