Living in a city and being a windsurfer is probably about a good a mix as beer and wine. Let's face it, when did you last think you could work and live in city yet get a reasonable amount of time on the water? Well have no fear as ending up with a desk job isn't the be all and end all...
Having spent a bit of time in Vienna, Austria these last few months, I had my sites set on the location known simply as the Bridge. A place that works perhaps twice a month, it accelerates the wind in a way that is hard to describe.
‘you have to be completely under the bridge to really appreciate the full affects’
When it works, the place funnels the wind between the vertical supports of the bridge and the overhead road. With a run that is perhaps no more than 75 meters you find yourself being forced into moves before even having the remotest of chance to catch your breath. So for the wannabe PWA sailor, it is pretty ideal. It is just one of those places that you go to with expectations and return with all of them, and more fulfilled. You are left amazed by the wind that just seems to appear out of no where, leaving you completely over-powered and ready to throw yourself into the latest freestyle moves. Although straying out of the shade of the bridge is perhaps the most dangerous manoeuvre as this can leave you fighting to stay on your gear as you slowly sink. Perhaps the ideal combination for the ginger ninja then... Sun cream not essential, what more could I want.
Photos below by Hanna Poschinger
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A bit more about the practicalities then and why this model doesn't have to apply to just one city. Well firstly the Bridge works only when the wind is at a slight angle to it. Also you have to be completely under the bridge to really appreciate the full affects, anywhere outside of it and you might as well not try. Finally, be sure to go when just a few people are there, we had five on the water at one time and that was almost too much.
By far one of the coolest thing about this place though is the Urban attraction, when crowds gather on the shore just to watch, you really feel like you are putting it in-front of the public eye. Even cooler than this is the community spirit, everyone is there to have fun, the Austrian windsurfers all just push each-other and get excited about any move, whether or not you stick it.
Photos below by Hauft
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We caught up with local sailor Mauricio Alvarez to give us a little more insight:
'I've sailed there quite a few times now and really enjoy it. Each time is different, it is not really like normal windsurfing, there is no real beach, you are just in the middle of the city with the metro around you and people passing by on bikes, cars running over you, it gives you a completely new feeling about sailing. Also with such short runs there you are all watching each other, pushing each other, it is a lot of fun to go with friends and watch as each person tries to step it up from the previous run. Sometimes people even crash into the bridge itself, it is super exciting! It would be a sick place to have an event, I think there are even plans for it this year on the Austrian Freestyle Tour... watch this space...
So yes, if you do live in the city and the closest 'decent' spot is about an hour away, how about considering your local bridge. It may well provide and you will be on the water in much quicker time. Perhaps even quick enough for a lunch break...