Beyond being a beautiful Ligurian town, Noli is a spot rather popular among windsurfers. With North-East and East winds, the spot works better, and offers relative security. The Tramontana enters very gusty, and the spot, with some precautions, is still quite safe compared to other places on the Ligurian coast, where, for example, the Tramontana enters offshore (e.g. Genova-Voltri).
Windsurf spot reviews: Noli/Spotorno (Liguria, Italy)
The most loved exit points are at the Mediterranee bathing facilities, or at the Lega Navale (Navy League) at the end of Spotorno, border town to Noli. See map below.
In both places, the parking is quite comfortable (at least out of season, when the bathing establishments are closed). To access the car park of Mediterranee beach, coming from the center of Noli, you must turn right, just before the tunnel at the east end of the town (towards Spotorno). After the turn, passed a first car parking, you take a small road that runs along the beach, along which you park.
If there are available places, it is convenient to park down the street, near the pier, close to the beach from which you enter into the water. Coming from Spotorno, immediately after exiting the tunnel above described, you have to turn left to take the same side street leading to the bath facilities (pay attention to other cars, especially ones following you).
Alternatively, you can go out form the beach of the Navy League, which is actually at the beginning of the town of Spotorno (immediately east of Noli). In this case, there is a large asphalt parking lot by the sea (see map and photos below).
With Tramontana wind, the beach near Mediterranee bath facilities is a bit more exposed to the wind (except for the stretch of beach sheltered by the pier to the north of the spot); the Navy League beach is more sheltered, with more lulls near the shore. The Tramontana wind at the LNI beach (and at the front bay), though, comes more side-shore, while at the Mediterranee beach, tends to rotate sligthly side-off, since it is diverted from the hill behind the beach, where there is the Noli castle.
It should also be kept in mind that, with Tramontana wind, downwind to the beach of the Navy League there is a long cliff to protect the coast. Therefore, if any difficulties should happen and you should come back to the shore at Mediterranee beach or even downwind (towards West), there is no possibility to return on foot along the beach to the Navy League (to recover the equipment afterwhile). On the contrary, downwind of Meditteranee beach, there are only the sandy beaches of Noli (with only a few brief interruptions - some pier), so the return is possible.
The spot, as mentioned, works with winds of Tramontana, North East and East. Especially the first one, coming from the inland, is usually gusty, sometimes in a very pronounced way. The wind spread a bit better, downwind of the sea section between the coast and the Bergeggi island, which is not impossible to achieve sailing upwind, even from Mediterranee beach. In fact, in particular with Tramontana wind, you can ride almost parallel to the beach of Spotorno (since the wind at Mediterranee beach comes sideoff, as previously said). However, it's strongly discouraged, with Tramontana wind, to go too far out, unless you have adequate assistance (eg. support boats), because in the event of problems, you may not be intercepted by Capo Noli, and then you can drift offshore (and in that case, you would be in seriuos danger.
The Tramontana comes mainly side, the north-east side-on, and the Levant (East wind) onshore. With Grecale and Tramontana wave is limited (maximum 1.5 meters), but sometimes messy, with sudden steep waves, alternating with a chop of half a meter, not pleasant for your legs. With the Tramontana, generally, the sky is clear. Grecale and Levant often bring clouds and cold.
At Mediterranee beach, you can assemble your equipment in the road where you park (a bit more sheltered - see photo), or in the inner part of the beach on some concrete platforms. From there, with about fifty meters, you can cross the beach (pebbles), and enter into water. Near the shore, there is generally a very low shorebreak. Often, you have trains of modest waves, which alternate with almost flat sea for a while. Near the shore, while starting, there could be moments when the wind is low. You just have to be patient, because, sooner or later, gusts come strong also on the shore, enabling a rapid beach start, or directly a waterstart (the sea immediately becomes deep). It's good to try to quickly sail towards offshore (at least 50 meters from the beach), to reach the area where the wind is a bit more consistent.
The ride back to the shore can be in favor of wave, and, therefore, very funny, having the possibility to surf moderately, or at least to be pushed, descending by the wave in the wind lulls, without losing speed.
The Bay of Noli, to the south, is enclosed by Capo Noli, who, in case of problems, constitutes an element of security, if you have not gone too far from the shore, especially with Tramontana (in our opinion, at least in high winds, not more than 4-500 meters). We have tried so far with the spot with Tramontana wind, and on the second occasion we also had a problem (the mast foot suddendly got unscrewed). You can read the report of the 21 October 2015 session.
You can also consider some possible alternatives, where the wind spreads a bit better (Albenga and Laigueglia), in the case of Tramontana wind, since in Noli it is often very gusty. In general, with Tramontana wind, it can be more convenient to get even more to the west (Arma di Taggia, Bordighera), only as long as the Tramontana rotate sufficiently from the North East, going towards France (otherwise, near the shore it remains weak , or too unstable). Arma di Taggia and Borfighera (as also Albenga) work well with full easterly wind.
After the rides, from Mediterranee beach it is also possible to walk to the center of Noli, very nice to eat somethnig, or to have a happy hour. From the Navy League, instead, it is better to proceed to the center of Spotorno.
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