Round 2 of the Ultimate Year with the pros and it looks like Bonaire is the place to be if you are into your carve gybes and flaka shaka flakas. Or with the help of Klass Voget and Mikey Clancy, Pozo could well be the wise choice for waves. Max Rowe, guides us through these ideal destinations...
After last months feature I found myself anticipating potential hate mail, I’d seen what I thought to be a fairly average forecast for Dahab. However it must of just been a glitch in the Matrix as much to my annoyance all I can see now is gold stars and purple numbers, along with the constant updates of how its been going off.
Having been out there myself a lot this time of year it was a bit of a mix up for me being currently stuck in England as my trip to Cape Town earlier in the season had exhausted my funds there was no other option. I’ve always got a lot of stick for posting constant updates on twitter etc from somewhere windy from the folk stuck somewhere not, having shrugged it off most the time now I can say that I truly feel your pain!
Now on to where I would ideally be heading for May, unfortunately the PWA event out there that was scheduled for May has been cancelled so its not looking likely I’ll be going. However I can’t recommend the place enough.
My job this month has been made easy by a certain Nic Hibdige as he has just written an amazing write up with all the details you need to know about Bonaire here.
Nic’s detailed report tells you almost everything you need to know but I’ll still add in a few do’s/don’ts of my own.
- Don’t pack a wetsuit (unless you want to cook yourself)
- Wear sun cream
- Take some form of mosquito repellent
- Don’t pack a 45cm slalom fin! It can get seriously shallow in places.
This paragraph isn’t supposed to put you off going but I just felt the need to highlight what a bunch of %&*$%Â£%@ KLM can be if your flying with gear. Flat rate €200 per 23 kg bag each way! My way round it was taking my quiver bag as a suitcase, so long as it’s shorter than 2 metres you’ll get away with it. I was unlucky enough to get charged double by mistake at the check in desk. Instead of this being a simple refund they dragged it out over 3 months of e-mails and visits to Heathrow before they finally paid me back. I did notice recently that Air Berlin have started flying to Bonaire’s neighbouring island Curacao so that option could be worth looking into further.
One of things we’re trying to do with this feature is to add a wave aspect to it every month. As I don’t have vast amounts of experience or knowledge in this field I’ll be bringing in advice from those that do.
First off I spoke to Klaas Voget G-4 who needs no introduction. However I might as well big him up a bit while I’m at it. Klaas is numerous times German champ and has been ranked well inside the PWA top 10 for the past 4 years. Including an impressive ranking of 4th overall in 2009. Unfortunately he missed the tail end of last year after suffering an injury in Klitmoller. Now well and fit again I asked him where he would be in May for his “Ultimate year” this was his response-
“I think a really good call in May is Gran Canaria. You get many days in Pozo with good waves and already have the strong summer winds... Also it’s not as crowded as in June/July, when all the world cup sailors try to get their training before the event. It’s really easy to get to from Germany (or the UK), there are plenty of flights, accommodation, car rentals, so you can even time it with a good forecast and get organized within a day. I’ll be looking at the forecast in May and might go for a quick Pozo trip if it looks good.”
Pozo is the local stomping ground of many top PWA sailors Victor Fernandez, Koster, Ojeda, Cebbalos, Alonso, Skye and the Moreno’s to name just a few. Having the PWA event there has clearly been a great inspiration for the youths growing up near the spot. For a period in Pozo competitions Victor went three years without loosing a heat. After being near enough invincible for this long it was pretty amazing to see a fifteen-year-old Koster come along and change all this. After producing two world champions Pozo has found its way on to a lot of aspiring wave sailor’s lists of “must visit locations”.
Keen to know more about the spot itself I got in touch with Irish wave sailing hero and up and coming PWA talent Mikey Clancey.
Max - What range of sails do you normally take to Pozo with you?
Mikey - I would normally take form 3.4 — 4.7 to Pozo, very rarely would I be out on my 4.7 in the 6 or 7 months I have been there. The main size sail I would take would be 4.2 and 3.7
Max - How about boards?
Mikey - If I was to go to Pozo free sailing I’d probably only take the one board my 75 Fanatic Quad. That’s the size that suits me best when I’m fully powered up sailing and will get you through the lighter days in Pozo too.
Max - What’s the wipe-out factor like? Is it worth taking extra masts?
Mikey - Well Pozo itself to sail isn’t that bad for wipe-outs unless you sail near the bunker but even then its not the worst, just a miserable walk of shame. When I say not that bad I mean you can get away with a lot more as you are more than likely sailing to be powered up. Pozo has become busier each year I have been there especially coming up to the PWA event the water is packed and everyone is going big full of testosterone which can be a bit intimidating if your lucky enough to sail there then. That’s why May the later part of July and August are my favourite times in Pozo because there is only a handful of guys on the water so you have more space.
Max - Which airline did you fly with? Did everything arrive the same day as you and in one piece?
Mikey - I have flown with many of airlines to Pozo but I think I may have settled on Aer Lingus now after it is so stringent at check in with Ryanair for weight (only 22kg bags). However if you fly with any of the charter planes they usually have great offers and have no problem taking gear.
Max - Where’s the best place to stay?
Mikey - If your staying with your girlfriend you will be putting your relationship on test if you stay in Pozo, some people love it others hate it. On your own there are a few hostel and apartments that are windsurf based and quite reasonable which are in walking distance to the beach and have kit storage. I stayed in one of these for two months when I was sixteen and had the time of my life, windsurfing eating and sleeping.
The incessant wind can be of constant annoyance never allowing you to take a proper rest in silence that is the main reason staying in Maspalomas or Playa del Ingles is a good option only a 20 min drive from Pozo itself.
Max - Best restaurant?
Mikey - La Ola for the windsurf history and El Viento for seaside view
Max - Will I get laughed at if I take my freestyle board?
Mikey - No a lot of the Bonaire boys normally come over between the Lanzarote and Fuerte competitions and can be seen do some wild completely overpowered action.
Max - Do you just sail at Pozo itself or are there any other spots you visit?
Mikey - Yea there are quite a few spots you can sail from Pozo directly Mosca Point upwind of Pozo and also Salina downwind of Pozo. There is also the home spot of the World Champion, Phillip Koster, Vargas, which is a 20 min drive and is usually a little less windy than Pozo. Further north again is Ojos de Garzaa, which work when it’s not windy in Pozo.
Max - Is it all cross-on jumping? Any chance of getting some down the line action?
Mikey - Mosca point can offer some cross off sailing when the swell is big enough can be sick. Weekends can be busy if it’s not so windy with surfers and body boarders; Iâve had boulders thrown at me!!
So there we have it. Hopefully everyone’s now got a pretty good idea of where to head for that last minute trip away in May. As far as other options go then I’m sure Dahab will still be going off so get over to www.clubvass.com to book that up. On the wave side of things it sounds like all the Canary Islands are pretty reliable in the summer months so Fuerteventura, Lanza(g)rote or Tenerife could be worth looking into.
Soma bay, Egypt and The Gorge.