Windsurfing in Cantabria, to live an adventure ...

It is said that sometimes need outside eyes to assess our situation, but at the same time, nothing more annoying to hear the chance of a divagación guiri, right?. I will not bother if you pass directly to the next story, but I am not the typical tourist, except when I forget sunscreen before a long session of windsurfing and just red lobster. 
I'm Justin, Frontier Productions, Californian resident in Cantabria and producer of television programs broadcast on National Geographic Channel and other television channels such as the World Ski Championships in Alaska and the Far programs of world records apnea, sailing, surfing, windsurfing and climbing. I arrived in northern Spain because my wife is now Cantabrian and so is our son, and I think this is one of the best places in the world to live and do all kinds of outdoor sports. 

The north 

As a foreigner, I noticed a peculiarity in many Spanish: dream of traveling to other countries, but many do not know either their own land. It is known that Spain has some of the best waves in Europe of which, many arriving on the Cantabrian coast, but there are few who know the conditions for windsurfing to offer these beautiful shores. 

The north of Spain, though not very extensive, is geographically one of the most diverse on the planet. There are few places in the world with mountains of about 3000 meters near the sea, where you can ski and surf waves of first quality in a single day. It is a harmonious mix between snow-capped mountains, green pastures, dramatic headlands, protected bays and spectacular white sand beaches, not to mention the cultural, historical and gastronomic. 

As an exclusive destination for windsurfing, it may not be the right place. However, it is a great place to complete a trip and usually if you live in Cantabria you can enjoy over 100 days per year of wind power with four or more. 

The winds of Cantabria 

We know that it rains a lot in the north but, as a result, the fields dressed in a stunning, green, nothing to do with the arid landscapes of southern Spain or the Canary Islands volcanic. I read that in Cantabria is an average of 200 rainy days a year. Can this be possible? I think not, but these are the storms that allow us to practice our sport in the winter, and it is during this time that we take the big waves that brings the Galician, the cold wind coming from the northwest. In addition, these storms also generate the warm south wind coming from the ground. Both directions of wind can exceed 40 knots ensuring a spectacular windsurfing. Depending on the temperature, if not below zero or no hail the size of chickpeas, you can browse for hours, as long as one has a flexible schedule and a thick wetsuit. 

Unfortunately for many, fellow tied to inflexible work schedules tend to arrive in Santander Hazard to parking on the beach of the Magdalena, at lunchtime, just when the beautiful south wind is dropping and shifting to the west, bringing and the cold and rain. All those who have not yet gotten run across the bay to the beach Pedreña, where the wind just rolar south-west, blowing with all its intensity. Sheltered from the big waves and bad weather, Pedreña is a secure site with flat water and little depth, and also a perfect introduction to freestyle. In these days of pure winter, the view from Santander is a spectacle of sea and mountains, where you see the candles at the foot of the sail Cantabrian mountains covered with snow. In recent years I have sailed with a suit of 2 / 3 mm every day, sometimes with bad visibility, and when it clears, the beach is white with a thin layer of snow. I do not mind the cold because I have Viking blood and I see it as a tribute to my ancestors. The only problem after so cold is expected to regain the sense in the fingers and the number one body. 

When spring arrives, the wind changed again to the opposite direction. The northeast is a prize for us windsurfers and a scourge for those who are not. The heat comes from the northeast regularly almost every summer afternoon, ruining the enjoyment of swimmers, surfers and those addicted to the sun, but for those who want to surf without clothes in water, is enjoyed, especially if you've suffered a hard winter with the unpredictable winds or south Galicians. 

With a light wind from the NE, within the bay of Santander can escape from danger or Pedreña with ease and enjoy all day coming and going with a table of formulas. However, it is a perfect guide for the northeast wind with waves to surf down the line, pure shore side, is the beautiful beach of Liencres. When it works, is surely one of the best waves of the peninsula, with the face of the wave hollow and clean, where you can make lots of money followed with an impressive speed. Take very good waves within a nature reserve with spectacular sand dunes, cliffs and beautiful estuary is an exceptional experience. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect and often needs to use huge waves of material: tables of 90 liters or more and 6.5 meter sails catch the wind loose. Almost twice the size used in Tarifa or Pozo. Sometimes the wind does not have enough power to spend the break near the shore, making a good day in quite expensive. In the first two bathrooms this year, 50% of those who put their broken masts and sails. The day's biggest percentage last year was 100% destruction, or a survivor. 

The disadvantage of Liencres during the summer, apart from the car park full, is to learn to navigate among the dozens of surfers and swimmers that plague the peak of the small beach. The truth is that it can be very dangerous if one of us falls over them. It should be mentioned that pure waves for surfing requires a perfect knowledge of the preferences of way. We do not want an accident and causing the closure of the beach to practice our sport. Perhaps therefore the most comfortable and safe surfing on the beach is great, where there is more space, less people and wave to everyone. 

The other best-known spot of Cantabria, where he sailed with the wind from NE, is the beach at Laredo. A mainstay of huge white sand, full of apartment blocks in the summer, come here on the northeast shore harder than the rest of the coast. The impressive Mount Santoña to the left of the beach, a venturi effect with the cliffs on the right rib that condense the wind direction to the beach. With little swell and a long journey along the sand between Olita, Laredo is a wonderful place to do slalom or freestyle, but shared with an armada of kites. And if yours is the Formula, the bay is an ideal training for any wind direction, including Galician. But if you are willing to surf the waves with the wind side shore from the right, go to the nearby beach Berria in Santoña, where conditions are similar to the Northeast when Liencres blows with enough intensity. 

Completely opposite in appearance to Laredo is located in one of the most western Cantabria is the historic town of San Vicente de la Barquera which has a long beach with magnificent views of the Picos de Europe. In addition to this well-deserved reputation is known for being the people of Operation Triunfo David Bustamante. When not seeking his autograph, go to the beach where you can sail with wind waves in NE and NO, not anyone else. 

If you do not like to surf alone, Come to Santander, again, to the beach Sardinero. NE wind goes well with side conditions and on small but powerful waves. From the water, views of the casino and luxury hotels with thousands of people walking, makes everything seem like a century ago. The only change is that now is full of kite lovers. If you want to avoid being decapitated by the strings of their kites, escape to a sailing trip away, where the wind beats stronger, to the island of Mouro where stands a lovely lighthouse on sharp cliffs. 

Making a board a little further, you will land on the beach of Somo, one of the longest in Cantabria, which is renowned for its waves and surf culture. He also sailed in her during the winter northwest side shore wind. It is one of the few sites that can jump high in the province, but the wind is quite strong Galician hard by rain, streams, and a dangerous break with the wind gusting. Another ideal place to break material because, as I see in the sequence of photos, it's easy to lose control easily. 

Despite the fame of Cantabria rainy, the truth is that we have many sunny days and hot, but it is also true that the weather is very changeable, and changing very fast. During the summer, the clear sky can move quickly to a rain cloud with fine calabobos here or call chirimiri, which creates a fog pretty bleak. Day without wind forecast NE to remove the cloudy weather of the coast, you can upload the new road to the plateau in a half hour at the reservoirs of the Ebro and Aguilar de Campo. You'll find back to the sun and a thermal wind formed by the fresh breeze of the coast and the interior heat. Flat water and good environment for all Sunday, you only need to friends, a car full of toys and be on the sunny side of the reservoir. 

An adventure at home 

Speaking of comfort, in Cantabria, almost all of the windsurfing spots are chosen for their access, not for its potential. There is much untapped potential here and is always looking for interesting new sites to test the perfect wave. 
The truth is that many of the famous sites in the world of waves, where photographers get great pictures of professional windsurfers, access is difficult. Many good times to reach peak using a boat out on the rocks or walk a distance to find a position outside of the ordinary. I recorded several videos windsurfing and I know that photographers, like the pros, they suffer to get good pictures. In an interview for a program I'm producing now, Josh Angulo told me that the wave of Punta Preta, known to many as the best in the world, it is customary to go swimming to the peak just to catch the wave in its glassy state and clean. If we keep that mentality here in northern Spain, where we have great waves, discover new spots impressive. Going down the cliffs or arriving in a zodiac, Cantabria offers a multitude of peaks. With all the beaches, coves, bays and surf that is combined with the three directions of wind, much remains to be discovered. 
Something like that is happening now with the tow in surfing in northern Spain: surfing dragged behind a motorcycle to fetch water from large waves. In the past two years have been the first major attempts to catch huge waves at a global level. My friends from California and Hawaii who have been surfing this way more than ten years, are impressed with what is happening here. Congratulations to the Spanish tamañeros surfers! Now we just need some windsurfers wanting to improve our level of windsurfing. I'm expecting a visit from Victor Fernandez coast where it can escape its obligations in the PWA tour. 

Many thanks to something in Cantabria. My greetings to the first to get here as Gelo and Maza, who discovered the spot where he now spent many windy days. However, there was a recess period in the sport during which many windsurfers prefer easy access or comet rather than adventure. We have now found a new motivation for exploring the coast and stunning photos promise for next year. 

Swamp Secret 

I will tell you a secret about a spot that is the windiest of all Cantabria. This is a dam with 500 meters height over the Ebro and Aguilar. As in all the high peaks, where there is wind ... ¡Sharp sticks!. There seems to be much in the photos but I assure you that sailed that day with 4.0 meters, with a south wind of force 3 force in the bay and 4 in the Ebro reservoir is secret and if I tell you where it is, we need to kill you! !.

Holy Thursday epic

The anticyclone was well placed from the third day of April, so I prefer to spend Easter at home. As in August with my friend Miguel del Toro, but this time the title would be: Galicia, a spot in seven days. The conditions, as always, very good side right off the waves and half a meter and half the day. Since Tuesday I knew that Holy Thursday we have something special, and leave the water, I commented to Manel (ratilla windsurfers sailed to 100% of days). The forecast was for sun, wind and swell sluggish Northeast Northwest of three meters. 

Tomorrow at ten o'clock began to enter my phone calls. Alejandro (the pilot) I'm at the airport of Vigo, how do you see? Victor (of Waira) Here in Vigo, calma chicha, what do I do? Manel (Network) ¡¡uff! Que buena pinta, go up to San Jorge?. My answer to all was: ~ Syo climb to San Jorge and I think it will be a day not to miss ~ T. Thereby encouraging more colleagues Victor de Vigo, like Manolo or Roberto (Pumuky) and Alejandro (the pilot) and the Dani Lanzada. I called Caesar. The one we were all in the water along with other friends in the area: Javi Tena Quinito, Zambo, Carlos and Fernando de Gijón. The meeting was a ten. Wave singles. I left, and surf virabas alone. Six hours without stopping, each with a different style, from the tombs at the bottom of Zambo, wanting to fly from Caesar or the Pilot, the Manel control of the spot or we descend olona Roberto Dani and me. I really realized how good it was the day when out and fall under the right looked like Victor and Manolo superglass caught waves with emerald-green sea. It was not a day of jumping, but sometimes you run the square and the vertical wall of two meters backloops allowed so perfect that you become a spectator of the maneuver. Burst finish, and while desmontábamos, my obsession was to see the photos that had Maru (official photographer), 360 in total, reflecting all the details. Manel, I also had the smile of the winner and Dani said: what a day!. 
In Galicia, are few sessions like this magic, so I went to celebrate with my wife and my son Lola Sebas recommended by Javier Tena, a seafood dinner at the fish-hatchery Albariño de San Felipe. The next day, I just wanted another day of waves that did not come, but on Saturday, this time in another perfect left-wing spot north of San Jorge.

Dakhla: Windsurf Challenge

After the success of the event first played in Madagascar in September last year, where Victor Fernandez won the remaining nine riders acomplejantes their guests with combinations of jumps, Windsurf Challenge organizers have launched this year by three waves of testing in exotic spots: Dakhla, in the Spanish Sahara, Sumbawa in Indonesia (no wind during the month of May) and again in September, Madagascar. In this report, under the pretext of talking about a test waves, you can see what the Atlantic in the winter gives each spot located 15 minutes from the school of Rachid Roussafi ... The windsurfer got a Moroccan kiter Dakhla we had sold as a flat water lagoon! 
Morocco. February 2006. 
By Fanny Lestelle 
Photos of Julien Schlosser / Taka Productions 

I know that is not original but the story begins in an airport: Last call for flight to Casablanca ... Where the hell are the Brazilians? Kauli, and Ricardo Brownzhino (Marcilio Browne) is managed for the lost billing and the gate. The temperature in Paris is 12 degrees below zero, but even so, I appear at the end of the hall to enjoy ice cream each. Nothing happens in any case, the porters are playing Tetris with boardbags of our friends, trying to place them in the belly of the plane. The output will be delayed. Already on board, and Ricardo Brownzhino vie for the seat in front. Interestingly, the youngest, also did not have the best seat in the boarding card wins. Marcilio to 1-0. Also flying with us and the French Victor Fernandez Fabrice Beaux and Baptiste Gossein. Moroccans Boujmaa Guilloul, Fettah Ahllamara and Rachid Roussafi ahead in our destiny. At Casablanca. The first Tagine of meat with vegetables, cakes first, the first tea, typical tables and chairs, mosaic ... Welcome to Morocco. 

Arriving in Dakhla 
Tea in the village and Ricardo has already taken his revenge with the seat. It is impossible to keep the account because they are all the time with one another by picándose nonsense, sometimes almost with violence ... until they erupt in laughter again. If you take the trouble to try to find out how fast speak Portuguese, you discover that the topic of conversation is always the same: girls. It seems that the prettier sister Kauli is one of the recurring topics of the other two, which bothers the champion of the world ... Worse than boys. 
But back to Dakhla. The name of this fishing village in the middle of the Sahara is beginning to be known by many windsurfers, especially in Europe, but will become much more in the future as it surely deserves. Is a few kilometers from where Rachid has mounted his camp beside a large lagoon. From here, the nine windsurfers will be moved to wave spots in the area. For some, the atmosphere reminiscent of Punta San Carlos in Baja California, while others enjoy life desoccidentalizada, though without giving up their laptops. 

Foum Labou 
Is the name of one of the spots the wave of Dakhla, Fabrice Beaux opened as soon as I arrived, still out of competition ... I did not expect a wave so close to Europe. Is comparable to that of Punta Preta. While water comes out, Victor admits that just take the right longest of his life ... The magic of discovery is here. In addition, the wind is side off, perfectly designed, and no one else in the water. As Kauli says, is like a water park: no running water is clean and beautiful, the weather is excellent, long surf ... Every day you can surf, surf, and if you are forces to surf again in the afternoon. Until the water park, running before the competition, can be reached by road. It is not the most environmentally friendly way to travel but the only one to reach the beach from the camp today. In addition, drivers are an inexhaustible source of experience and conversation, though, for fear of laughter from some and others seem to manage better the kettle that the steering wheel. Between sitting and sitting, teas loaded with sugar substitute to the best energy drink in Europe. 

After a few days without wind surfing who took as if there were no tomorrow, the wind is back, and with it the competition. First round: three sleeves of fifteen minutes and three riders on each. The first ends with Baptiste Kauli and Victor, although both have an option to repechage. The judges were unanimous in the other two duels: Fabrice ahead of Ricardo and Rachid and surprisingly beat Boujmaa Marcilio Fettah and, through a better selection of waves and the introduction of several Flakes in the middle of the surf. Second round: it's time for the repechage in which the two disposed of each sleeve in the previous round. Rachid gives way to Victor, whose surf demolisher convinces judges, and Kauli Marcilio, commented that the benefits of this system of competition in which riders are judged each other ... Who better than them to know what is truly radical or not? 

The repechage 
Continue the sleeves, but now the waves are not so perfect and good positioning is crucial. Spend the repechage, in addition to Victor, and Boujmaa Ricardo. We have six participants who will make the final thirds, since the final three. This time Brownzhino unable to repeat the gesture of the first round and was taken by Victor. Beaux from the sleeve and Boujmaa is much tighter but the Moroccan knows how to impress the judges and the press machine in full sleeve. As for the battle between Ricardo Kauli and the latter gives greater speed and fluidity in their bottom turns and rollers while Ricardo inexplicably refuses to introduce his incredible skills freestyleras in the waves, leaving the road to final for Kauli. 

Victor in absentia 
The slow wind and the night is coming, but a little rosy forecast for the next few days they decided to proceed with the final between Kauli Victor and Boujmaa. A controversial decision ... Victor, with 75 liters and 5.0 meters of sail, the greatest thing that has been brought because it was assumed that the Windsurf Challenge takes very good condition or not, is clearly lacking in power volume and to select good waves and good points but pulls in getting grip, leaving a half-sleeve. Almería, about fifteen pounds more weight than their contestants, do not agree to hold the final with a wind and waves stunted ... Regarding Kauli despite being overrun by a terrible virus that prevents you from breathing normally, it's like another planet. Knows exactly how to organize their breadth and surf without any hitches two waves from the peak to the edge: two aircraft, three or four rollers, and attempts to Taka Goito ... Benefits unconditionally plantearte do if you really needed to come to Morocco to designate the winner. 

The cartoon crisis 
It is worth commenting on the visit made to our children of secondary school in the village. In a long meeting, in English class, introducing the students and vice versa, the conversation ranged from the wind and the lives of the competitors in each country to big issues: the crisis of the cartoons of Mohammed in world in full swing, the kaulis do not hesitate to touch upon, to the nervousness of the teachers who seem to prefer to extend the conversation about aseptic windsurfing. But everything goes so smoothly and was really surprising to see them so interested in politics. Marcilio also concerned, but in this case you would go to jail for trying to link with a Moroccan girl. While the answer is no, it is debatable whether the idea in a country where its citizens need permission to talk to tourists, one of the many contradictions of this charming Morocco. 

Surf against calories 
In the last few days in Morocco, to escape the wind, the main activity was to catch waves, building to discover the many peaks surrounding quality of the area, until the time came to leave the quiet camp and Rachid, to Ricardo, pay your account chocolates: 250 dirhams. Finally, at the reception hosted by the Director of the Center for Local Investment in the presence of the Governor of the region, do not miss anything: barbecue, fresh fish, camel, kefta, couscous ... The authorities showed great interest in developing tourism in the area and in particular by the wind and, therefore, our riders were treated to desharrapados body of the king. 
Now back in Paris, the Brazilians have to spend a night in the French capital before flying home. Ricardo, asking questions as always, this time to Nicholas, the organizer: I get time to buy chocolate?, Can we go to the Eiffel Tower?, Can we at least go to McDonalds? Windsurf Challenge While this has been more rewarding than a typical PWA competition, there are habits that do not change so easy! 

Dakhla practical as Víctor Fernández 

How to get there. By plane: we must fly to Casablanca and then take a direct flight of Air Maroc, Casablanca, Dakhla. By road: caravans and many European Van roam there. Are 2000 km and an area between Morocco and Casablanca Dakhla we must pass through escorted by the Moroccan army, as the Frente Polisario should not walk away. 

Accommodation. In Dakhla village, which is five minutes from the spot, is the four star Hotel Sahara, as well as many other simple accommodation. In the spot, the best option is the field of Rachid. You will stay in igloo type tents for two people or more within a Jaima giant. The stores include the mattress and you provide them. The sleeping bag so you should bring. The price of accommodation in Rachid \ 's Place includes meals (rich and diverse Moroccan food), water (bottled) and take up the spot of waves on a daily basis. In addition there is another big Jaima that serves as a lounge, dining area to be (when you're in the water). There are toilets, shower rooms, mobile phones and coverage ... is less radical than it may seem from here. If you want tailored to your van, you can also get closer to the waves with her and sleep walk to spot, more than interesting choice for the more fortunate. 

Epoca. The wind is the same trade winds that of Cape Verde, being the best months for surfing waves, not only, in January and February (and there is time to go to plan). Freeride in the lake almost every year to surf and waves from autumn to spring. 

Material. Rachid is headquartered in the wind and kite saltwater lagoon at the foot of camp where you can also rent equipment. If you want to surf the waves of the magnificent place, they take you by car to the water, about 15 minutes of all-terrain (assuming you're staying with them).