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.
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.
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! !.