It wasn’t until I visited Margarita Island, Venezuela, that I got hooked on windsurfing. There, I realized all my sport fantasies came true in one sport; the fantasies are: thrills without too much danger, warmth, sun, wind, water, enjoyed with good music, good friends and Cuba Libres at the end of the day. When I returned to the Delta region near Sacramento, I worked hard at keeping those qualities a reality. It was a little difficult. Now that I get more enjoyment from the sport of windsurfing, the comforts are less important. Windsurfing in 50 degree water, and a similar ambient air temperature, is fine once you’re addicting to the sport. But anything less than full addiction requires my fantasy conditions. But for beginners, I highly recommend these spots which diminishes the frustration that comes with learning a new sport, and increases the fun.
Exotic options for beginners:
El Yaque, Margarita Island, Venezuela: Warm, waist-deep water, steady wind that starts off light and then increases throughout the day, white sand beach, lots of places to eat and drink on the beach and in town. El Yaque is to windsurfing what Breckenridge Colorado is to skiing. Best time to go is February through May.
Bonaire: Also warm, waist-deep water, steady wind which also increases during the day, white sand beach and one of the finest scuba diving and snorkeling resorts as well. Lodging is mostly a rental car or scooter ride away from windsurfing beach. This is a laid back island, where daytime activities are the highlight. Best time to go to Bonaire is February through May.
Aruba: Warm, waist deep water, steady wind increasing throughout day, white sand beach. Wind is off-shore, so a rescue is imminent for beginners. Luckily, rescue vessels are standing by. Lots of restaurant options and nightly entertainment abound. Sarah-Quita Offringa, the best female freestyler in the world is from Aruba.
Jericoacoara, Ceara, Brazil is a cool, exotic, beautiful windsurfing destination. Located four hours north of Fortaleza by 4WD vehicle, in the national sand dunes park, it is not easy to get to. However, once there, wind, sun, waves and beach abound. Conditions are good for beginners in the mornings, when the wind is light and steady, and waves are small. Stronger winds and bigger waves are the norm in the afternoons. The beach at Jericoacoara is gradual, but gets deep so uphauling or waterstarting is necessary.
Not so exotic but still pleasant nevertheless:
South Padre Island, Texas: Warm, waist deep for miles, mostly lighter winds. Gear rental right on windsurfing beach or at shop that is on the waterfront and in town. Many options for condos, restaurants, bars etc. Best time for wind is April and May. October can be good too. The closest airport is Brownsville. For more info, visit windsurfinc.com or windsurftheboatyard.com.
Bird Island, Texas: Warm, waist deep for a little ways, light, steady wind. Great gear rental and instruction at beach. Condos located about 20 min drive away. Camping right at launch site. Best winds are April and May. More info.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina: Waist-deep, warmish water. Unlimited lodging options during the Spring and Fall (high season is summer for general tourists). Best thing is to rent a house on the sound side with a hot tub. Click here for gear rental and instruction.
Zoe Najim is a Girls4Sport windsurfer who divides her time between Breckenridge, Colorado and Hood River, Oregon.