The spot of Bages - Port La Nautique, is one of the most beautiful and comfortable spot among the ones we tried in coastal ponds in the area of Gruissan, in France. It' s located near Narbonne, in the province of Languedoc Roussillon. Pleasant also the natural landscape around the village of Bages perched on a cliff, on the opposite shore, in front of the spot.
Windsurf spot reviews: Bages, Port La Nautique (France)
We tried the spot with strong mistral wind (30-35 knots), and in these conditions it was perfect. To reach the spot (see map below), you can take the motorway A9 up to Narbonne. Reached this city, you leave the highway and head south along Avenue des Etangs, reaching the north side Etang de Bages. Then, take the road called Chemin de la Nautique (there are signs for "La Nautique"), where the namesake camping site is also situated, and finally Rue de la Pinede, which leads to the large dirt parking lot where the spot is located. With strong mistral wind, in general, everyone is trying to park downwind from trees to get some protection and to rig protected from the wind.
To be true, it is better to park as close as possible to the entry point into the water (see map marker), where you have a comfortable beach from where usually all start. Behind the beach, in fact, local surfers have placed a synthetic mat, in a place sheltered from the wind, on which you can put your rig together. Or, just north of this mat, there is a grassy area, which is also protected from the wind, and where it is possible to rig (see map). At the spot, there are no schools or centers for equipment rental. There is only a sailing school: Societè Nautique de Narbonne.
The entrance in the water, as said, is from the beach indicated above. It must be said that it is not the most pleasant place. Seaweed on the shore (careful not to slip), and mud / algae on the bottom near the shore, not pleasant to feel underfoot. But I tell you that it is worth endure these little inconveniences (they are basically natural elements), because the spot offers fantastic sessions. Near the shore, in case of mistral, there is a more sheltered area, where beginners can practise (I let my child try with a beginner board and rig), as they can also drift a bit as the bottom downwind remains low. But even in the middle of the lake there are not significant dangers. Approaching the shore, sooner or later, you arrive in an area of shallow waters, where you touch the bottom with your feet, and you can then come back, walking in water, and dragging equipment. Of course, we do not recommend the beginner to go out with strong winds (more than twenty knots) in the middle of the lake.
Once started, and overcome the tip at North of the beach, the funfair starts .... From there on, in fact, the wind comes in undisturbed, strong, and rather constant. In this spot, the strong winds can not lift a wave more than half a meter, which, however, at the reached speed lets you jump, if desired, or also try some freestyle maneuver. The day we tried the spot, we saw several local speed boards.
Riding on starboard tack out of the beach, you head towards the village of Bages, and the landscape is, for this reason, agreeable. There are not protected areas on the opposite side, but you should pay attention to the shallow waters. In general, I maneuvered to change direction to a hundred meters from the shore from the other side. Moreover, after almost 1.5 kilometers of planing ride like a bullet, you can feel yourself satisfied. The spot is perfect to try freeride maneuvers (eg. Power jibe) and also freestyle ones. If you miss the maneuver, close to the shore, you find yourself with water at chest, so being able to rest. The spot, therefore, it is safe, as, generally, also the others located, in the many coastal lakes in the area (see reviews spot).
Few words about the water quality of coastal lakes, about which I have heard many different versions. It's true that is not the water of the Maldives. It has a milk and coffe color, and at the bottom there are algae, or mud. But the water is not dirty or polluted, it's just cloudy. In short, it's all nature .... Anyway, from my point of view, the really perfect conditions (in terms of safety) that these ponds offer for windsurfing, are worth to bear some unpleasant feeling. Finally, consider that the shallow waters temperature in the coastal ponds is slightly higher (at least from late spring to early autumn), compared to that of the sea.
On port tack, you head back to the beach from where you started. Close to this, about fifty meters, the water is particularly flat, since it is partially sheltered by the coast to the north of the lake. This is a perfect area for power jibe (so do almost all local), as you can see in the video of our session in the spot.
On the occasion of my session here, with the wind indicated above, I used my Ezzy Tiger 4.2 (the smaller sail I have), and a RRD FSW 110 liters with a FSW fin of 21 cm. The set was perfect, and the session was exciting.
To have an idea of all the spots in this area, we suggest to have a look at the useful map, published by Darkzi at google map.
Aloha, Fabio Muriano
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Are you a passionate windsurfer? Do you want to collaborate with us? Read here, then!
If you want to sponsor Waterwind and advertise with us, or place your banner inside this article, contact us.
To watch the all slidegallery of our holiday in Gruissan zone, and of our sessions in this and other spots, click here.
Here below, a video of our session at the spot