Sports is part of my life. The sports that I like most are
. In addition I play squash and like going with some friends on a mountain bike tour.
My move to California has changed the focus a bit: From my old employment
in Garmisch-Partenkirchen it was only 400 meters to the cable car going to one of my favored skiing
areas. So sometimes I went skiing during lunch. Now I have to go several hours by car or even take a plane. But the snow quality in the U.S. ski areas is famous and therefore I look forward to some great days in the Rocky Mountains.
In Southern Bavaria there are lots of beautiful lakes. Some may get really good wind, in particular in fall when storms approach from the Atlantic Ocean. But there are also lakes that develop good thermals winds on cloudless summer days. San Diego, on the other hand, is well-known for good weather and great ocean waves but winds are usually not very strong. Therefore, I either have to get a larger sail or learn surfing (I mean the generic way without a sail).
Since Garmisch-Partenkirchen is right at the border of the Alps it provides ample opportunities to climb mountains with a bicycle. Although the hills in San Diego county are not so high there are beautiful places in the back-country that are worth to explore.
I learned windsurfing almost 20 years ago at Lake Garda in Italy. From the very beginning the sport has fascinated me. What makes it so special is the combination of being in nature, glittering water, speed, acrobatics, athleticism and all the friendly people you'll meet.
Below are some pictures from my favored spots (click to enlarge). On most shots I ride a Fanatic Gecko 272 and a Neil Pryde sail with 6.5 square meters.
Walchensee is about 30 km away from Garmisch-P. So it was my local spot in Germany. It is a beautiful lake with crystal clear water surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Winds are thermal and peak in the afternoon. On good days you may get 25 mph. Thomas from the local windsurf shop has recently installed a live camera.
Lake Garda (Italy)
Lake Garda is probably the most famous windsurfing spot in middle Europe. Wind conditions are pretty reliable: In the morning, the wind blows from the North and is called "Peler" or simply "Vento". It can reach up to 40 mph. In the afternoon the wind direction turns by 180º and then the "Ora" blows from the South with about 20 to 30 mph. The best spot to surf Ora is "Hotel Pier", which therefore became one of my most favored sites. All pictures below are from this spot.
Check out the livecam!
Datca is a place that you will hardly find in a windsurfing magazine. It is somewhat like a secret paradise at a very remote place in Turkey. I was surfing completely alone for 4 days. Only an old shepherd grabbed a chair and was watching me. Find out more about Datça here!
Thanks to Jürgen for the great shots!
Sanary / Six Fours les Plages / Hyères / Almanarre (French Riviera)
The spot in Sanary/Six Fours
is called "Brutal Beach". And this name was not given by accident: When the Mistral is blowing with up to 55 mph you may get 8 feet high waves and world-class wave-riding conditions. The beaches of Sanary and Almanarre are therefore part of the windsurfing world cup schedule.
Although windsurfing is by far less popular in San Diego than surfing there are several windsurfing spots in and around city. My kind mother has sent my windsurfing equipment to San Diego as a Christmas present. So I don't have to miss my favored sports in the new world.
"Lake Hodges" is a beautiful reservoir with thermal winds in the summer that peak in the early afternoon.
"Mission Bay" is a huge recreation area just in the city of San Diego. The wind is usually not very strong but the spot is only a few miles away from my apartment and has a nice lawn for rigging under palm trees.
SeaWorld is just around the corner at Mission Bay. Check out this page, which features many links about windsurfing in San Diego.
Also, don't miss to visit the
Cannibal Bros. windsurfing shop in Encinitas. If you want to know about the current wind conditions in the whole U.S., iwindsurf.com or "Call of the wind" are probably the best resource.
The beach with the best wind in Southern California, which is worth a day-trip from San Diego, is
Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro \ Los Angeles. From La Jolla, it's a 2 hours drive. During summer months, the wind is often good for a 5.5 m² sail. Check out
Captian Kirk's site and his shop located on the cliffs above Cabrillo Beach.
Lake Isabella is the fresh water lake located in the foothills east of Bakersfield and has the best wind in Southern California. It even blows more than at Cabrillo Beach. However, it's a five hour drive from San Diego and I pulled myself together for going up there only once so far. But it was worth it! I have spent three awesome days over Memorial Day weekend at the lake, sailing with a 5.5 all the time (in fact, I could have used a 5.0). People told me that it is not uncommon to sail a 4.0.
More pictures from Lake Isabella can be found on my
Monthly Updater from April/May 2000.
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Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the most important skiing resort in Germany. Once even the Olympic winter games took place there. My favored ski area in Garmisch is the
Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain with 9725 ft. Except of the last one, all pictures below are taken on the "Zugpsitz Platt".
I am not as thick as I may appear on the shots. I just wear my camera bag under the parka (I don't mind if you don't believe).
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