Windsurfing at Lake Garda
Thanks to its constant winds Lake Garda is well known around Europe and the world. The two main winds also change intensity depending on the location. That means everyone can find the right conditions, no matter the level or the kind of windsurf practiced.
That's why athletes coming from all over the world choose Lake Garda as a spot to train during season.
There are two main winds at Lake Garda: Peler and Ora
The Peler blows from north to south, it's the strongest of the constant winds and starts at dawn and keeps blowing until 9.30/10.00 in the morning. One of the best spots for the Peler is Malcesine because the wind isn't patchy and is reliable. Torbole in the morning is better for beginners.
The Ora blows from south to north, mainly in the afternoon with light-medium intensity. It's a suitable wind for beginners in Malcesine area while it becomes stronger as it moves north.
Freestyle at Lake Garda
Freestyle means liberty of movement on a sailboard and consist in plenty of manoeuvres, in search of the most spectacular tricks.
Spots for freestyle
Retelino (Big Car Park)
On the eastern side of Lake Garda, 1km north of Malcesine. Here is where you will find a wide parking lot with a comfortable meadow to put your equipment together. Normally the Peler blows and lasts for about 4 hours with an average speed of 20/25 knots. The normal equipment is freestyle and freestyle/wave boards between 90 and 110 litres of volume with sails between 4.5 and 5.5 m.
Beach of Assenza
On the eastern side of Lake Garda, in Brenzone sul Garda. During heavy storms in summer, the Peler can increase up to 35/40 knots.
When the there is a northerly storm wind, better move south of Malcesine to Assenza, to the beach located in front of the Trimelone Island. Here you will find a bigger and more fun wave.
Pra del la Fam
The harbour of Tignale, aka "Prà del la Fam" or "the Prà" is the most renowned of the west coast for the north morning's wind.
Unlike other spots along east coast such as Malcesine where the Peler blows from early in the morning, at Prà you have to wait until the sun arises before the spot starts to work. Therefore it is best to surf here on clear days as on cloudy sky days the wind does not come into the coast.
The spot works all year long but is during half season that it gives its best when, thanks to sun exposure, it rewards you with mild temperatures. Once in the water an ancient LIMONAIA at the feet of the wall and the small waterfall on the right will capture your attention.
Normally you go out on freestyle equipment with boards of 90/100 liters and sails from 4.0 to 5.0 m. The only problem is the lack of parking so it’s better to come very early especially during the week ends.
Is located on the eastern side of Lake Garda, a few km after Malcesine. The Ora blows constantly in the clear summer days.
You will find quieter conditions to learn or improve your technique. Windsurfers use freestyle equipment with boards around 120 liters and sails of 7 m or higher.
It takes its name from the hotel and lies on the western side of Lake Garda, on the border between the province of Brescia and Trento.
In this part of the lake the Ora increases its intensity and the zone is very popular with windsurfers and sail boats. Sometimes due to races it can be very crowded.
The best period to go out at Pier starts with the first icy hours in spring until end of June. But it is not difficult to have some beautiful sessions even during the rest of the summer.
You go out with freestyle boards of 100 liters and sails between 4.5 and 5.5 mq.
The Conca d'Oro of Torbole
What I most appreciate about the Conca d'Oro are its comforts: wide parking lots, a soft meadow to relax on under the sun, the bar for a cold beer with friends and the entrance into the water with comfortable platforms.
Therefore the zone is very crowded all summer long and the mirror of water in front of the beach is very crowded. To find quieter conditions go upwind (south) for some hundred meters towards the small tunnel.
If you need to go further from the crowd you can, with just an upwind edge, cross the lake and reach the western shore to "Casa della Trota" where the landscape changes drastically and you can sail directly under the mighty vertical wall.
The wind increases strength, water flattens and the movement of waves become more regular... perfect conditions for a freestyle session!
Slalom at Lake Garda
Slalom is the most adrenalin packed discipline of windsurfing and to be the fastest is the main goal.
The Slalom race consists of doing a trail downwind (descending) gybing around the buoys, right and left. The starting line takes place between a boat named "Barca comitato" or just "Giuria" and a buoy put downwind of it.
A three minutes countdown is given and when the zero is reached you must be perfectly over the immaginary line.
Each battery consists of eight riders but only the first four will reach the next turn. Starting from the second round up to the final, winners (first to eighth) and the final losers (from ninth to sixteenth). Generally in a slalom regatta 64 participating athletes are divided into eight batteries.
Lake Garda offers perfect conditions to train all year long in a different variety of conditions thanks to the huge number of spots.
Spots for slalom
Retelino (big Car Park)
On the eastern side of Lake Garda, 1km north of Malcesine. The wind blows well in the mornings, between 20 and 25 knots. Under the coast the water tends to be flat but further out the chop forms and it is perfect to train with small boards of 90/98 liters and sails such as 6.3 or 7.2. During the summer you can enter in water from 5:30 in the morning to 9:30 to try and find the right set up.
Is located on the eastern side of Lake Garda, at the north end. During the morning there is not always wind but when it blows you can try your bigger slalom equipment on totally flat water. The wind can be mostly gusty.
Another great and fun spot on the western side of the lake. You can reach it crossing the lake from Navene or going to the western side and going out from Capo Reamol. The water is extremely flat so you can reach very high speeds, the wind is very constant and jibing in slalom at speeds so high gives a lot of adrenaline. In summer the water is so transparent that it makes you feel like you are in heaven.
Is an afternoon spot. Unfortunately the Ora does not always enter but when it happens it's worth it. Flat water and constant wind between 10 and 14 knots is what awaits you. It's the spot to trim with light wind: 130 liters and 9.3.
The Conca d'oro in Torbole
Is on the eastern side of the lake, in the north. It's a paradise for slalom and freeride lovers.
The Ora is there everyday with light and medium intensity, lot of chop and it is easy to move around. But if you like to go flat out it could become more difficult due to the crowds and gusty wind.
If the Ora is light a 122 litres with 8.6 sail is needed but a 107 litres board and a 7.9 sail will be better in case of strong wind.
Windsurf races at Lake Garda
There will be 7 in 2016, starting from April to October, organized by the Circolo Surf Torbole.
You can't miss the Windsurf Grand Slam 2016, the most important racing week in Italy, taking place in Torbole in July, and contains slalom, freestyle and formula.
Not to miss the One Hour Classic too, a long distance regatta where the participants number has no limit.
At this link you can get the full calendar of Circolo Surf Torbole.
Windsurfing schools at Lake Garda
There is a large number of surf schools, all equipped with qualified instructors ready to satisfy your needs, from beginner to advanced, there are courses for everyone.
Rely on 360gardalife booking if you plan to come on holiday on Lake Garda and want to try windsurf.
As mentioned above the conditions you can find here can satisfy the most expert riders as well as the ones that are beginning this sport.
Regardless of the spot or the discipline, the fun you'll have doing windsurfing is assured.
So what are you waiting for?? Come to enjoy this paradise.
Good wind everyone!
Giacomo Milani e Max Loncrini ITA5084