The Ultimate Year is a new monthly feature on Boardseeker. It will let you guys know where the pros go for the highest chance of some quality time on the water. Headed up by Max Rowe, each feature will be done the month before to give you some time to plan a last minute cheeky trip away!
Who is Max Rowe Only one of the finest freestyle talents to have ever come out of the UK, Top 20 in the World and as a result a very well travelled Homosapien. More on Max at www.maxrowe.blogspot.com. Over to Max…
I, Max Rowe, will be giving you the low down on where I would be heading every month of the year if A) I had a bottomless pit of money or B) I found a sponsor that was willing to send me on this epic journey that would hopefully guarantee the most time on the water all year round! If you can help with either of the above then feel free to get in touch. The advice Im offering is going to be based around searching for those perfect flat-water freestyle/blasting Meccas. The knowledge for this judgement will come from my own personal experience after all I have been doing pretty much exactly this for the past 5 years now!! Obviously there are so many places to go and so much to see that I havent managed to get everywhere so in times like this Ill bring in knowledge from the Pros that have.
Around April time in Egypt the more reliable summer winds are starting to creep back in. This will be the first time for the last three years that I wont have made my annual voyage out there in April, instead I compromised for a trip to Cape Town earlier on in the year. Its a great time to visit Egypt as the summers just starting to kick in. For me its been perfect also due to the number of pros training out there before the PWA season starts. When thinking of heading to the Sinai for your Easter getaway theres three locations that are worth considering. Last year I was lucky enough to visit all of them in one trip.
Situated around halfway up the Western side of the Sinai is the amazing secluded resort of Moon Beach. In the three days I spent there I scored some amazing conditions, with hardly anyone else out on the water. If youre not into looking before you gybe then this is the spot for you! When chilling with a beer in the evening youre almost guaranteed to see pods of Dolphins making their way down to the south of the gulf of Suez. The nightlife factor is low but the chill factor is massive. We travelled to Moon Beach from Sharm El Sheikh but when speaking to the instructors out there most of them had flown into Cairo. We went around the time of the revolution so didnt seem like the best option at the time. More on the revolution later on!!
About an hour or so south of Moon Beach youll find El Tur or more affectionately known to some as El Turd. Its definitely worth the visit and the spot is about as flat as it gets, but the hotel is somewhat Faulty Towers like. They have however built a brand new hotel right on the beach at the wave beach, about 2 minutes down the road that I hear is lovely. If youre looking for a bit of wave action in Egypt then El Turs a pretty good bet for some cross on action.
Without sounding too biased, as many of you will be aware that Im sponsored by Club Vass who happen to have a centre out in Egypt; Club Dahab. Dahab is hands down my favourite spot in the Sinai. Not just the sailing conditions but its mainly just the vibe of the whole town. Yes it is a lot more touristy than the other locations, but in a nice way, meaning theres loads more to do for no wind activities. The local town of Masbat is just a five-minute taxi ride from the beach and youll find loads going on. Be prepared to barter with the taxi drivers and in the shops.
If like me, youre on a tight budget and not fussed about having a salt-water shower then the accommodation in town is very reasonable and a place called Bishi Bishi is the safest bet. If you want to be on the beach then the best bet is to book a package holiday through www.clubvass.com
- Shams (cheap)
- Ali Baba (Dine like an Eyptian King)
- Nesima (Best steak in town)
- Blue Thai house (A nice change!)
- In Dahab try not to pay more than 10LE for a single journey to town.
- Dont drink the tap water!!!!
- Dont eat the salad unless youre in a nice restaurant.
- If youre taking kit and flying from the UK then go with Thomas Cook or Monarch as they are the most reasonable. Thomson arent too bad either and even Sleazy Jet are getting better these day.
This Paragraph is particularly relevant given the perception in the media that Egypt is in somewhat of a crisis at the moment. After visiting the Sinai just a few weeks after Mumbarak was kicked out of office I was excited about the prospect of cheap flights and a bit nervous about what it was going to be like. In reality when I arrived it was difficult to notice any difference from any other time Id visited in the past. Sharm El Sheikh Airport is roughly 600 Kilometres from any of the violence that has been restricted to Cairo. Honestly people should have no concerns at all when considering travelling to the Sinai.
The Mediterranean trade winds are yet to get going so if your not planning on heading too far, then Tarifa could be a good bet as the winds stats of 60% days above 4bft sound pretty impressive. Almost a local to Tarifa now, Phil Soltysiak tells us more.
Photo: courtesy of tricktionary.net
Just over a year ago I discovered my favourite place to go windsurfing in Europe. Lying on the southernmost tip of Spain lays the town of Tarifa, in the province of Andalusia, Spain. The town faces Morrocco across the Strait of Gibraltar and includes a pier you can drive across that separates the Atlantic from the Mediterranean.
Tarifa has two main wind directions, Levante (East) and Poniente (West). Levante are the renowned howling winds that commonly blow 30 knots+. Levante is side-offshore in most of the sailing spots around Tarifa. If you are looking for waves Playa Chika and Bolonia are your best chances near-by Tarifa on Levante.
Poniente winds generally pick up stronger in the afternoon, helped by light thermal effect. These winds are generally much lighter, but are onshore, sometimes building up a small swell. On Poniente one can sail from the town of Tarifa up along the whole playa de Los Lances and up to Punta Paloma.
My 3 favourite places to sail in Tarifa are Playa Chika (in Tarifa), Arte Vida (Los Lances), and right in front of the Starboard Volare Center (Valdevaqueros). - Phil Soltysiak
Further afield then El Yaque, Margarita, Venezuela is still pretty good this time of year but the real prime month there is March. I guess the extended feature on El Yaque will have to wait a year.
Coming up in the next Ultimate Year feature will be May in Bonaire, with some of the best windsurfers in the World!!!