KITESURFING in FRANCE
The moment you arrive at the beach, surrounded by sand, water, sun and wind, you know you're in your element! Kitesurfing has exploded in popularity in recent years. And it's little wonder when you consider it's relatively easy to learn, amazing fun, keeps you fit and takes you to some of the world's most beautiful destinations.
FRANCE - A WORLD-CLASS KITESURFING DESTINATION
In France, there are hundreds of kitesurfing spots along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines. The south of France gets 2 strong northwesterly winds; the Mistral and the Tramontana, which can kick in at any time but are most consistent in winter and spring. In summer, southerly thermals kick in around lunchtime making for some unforgettable late afternoon sessions. Each April, Leucate hosts the Mondial du Vent kitesurf event which sees the world's best kitesurfers battle it out in optimum conditions just metres from the beach.
KITESURFING FOR BEGINNERS
Unlike learning to windsurf where you can spend hours dragging the sail out of the water, with kitesurfing you can make quick progress. Despite the fact that when you're starting out you drop your kite occasionally, you'll quickly get that magic sensation of skimming across the water. However, kitesurfing can be dangerous and to stay safe you need to make sure you take some lessons with a qualified kitesurf instructor. There are lots of good kitesurf schools across France offering introductory lessons and multi-day courses.
With a bit of practice, you can start doing a few jumps and before long you'll be blasting along and launching skywards. The sky really is the limit. The beauty of kitesurfing is that you can make continuous incremental progress in every aspect of the sport.
Travelling kitesurfer Johannes Völkner reminds of a joke amongst the windsurfing community: “What’s the difference between a kitesurf beginner and a pro?” The answer: “One week”. Obviously, it’s not that easy but with a bit of effort (some natural talent always helps as well) you can be kitesurfing and staying up wind within 10 days or less.
ORGANISE YOUR KITESURF TRIP
Once you've chosen the perfect destination for your ability and style of kitesurfing, you need to organise your accommodation, airport transfers, kitesurf rental and lessons. We've got your back. We work with the best companies in the industry to help you organise an unforgettable kiteboarding trip.
Check out the best spots on France's Med Coast for your next kitesurfing holiday.
Superb spot in a strong southerly wind with some nice waves in front of the breakwaters.
Le Jaï local Yann Chouard gives us the lowdown on the spot and how he got into the sport.
When and how did you discover the Le Jaï?
It was early 2012 and a neighbour was drying his kites outside. I asked him what they were and the next day he took me with him to Le Jaï. I tried kitesurfing and right from the very beginning I was hooked. Since then, I've dropped my other passions including paragliding even though I know I'll pick them up again at some stage. And since then, I come to Le Jaï as often as I can. Evening after work sessions are my favourite if for no other reason than the amazing sunsets.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to kite Le Jaï for the first time?
I would actually advise people to be very careful. The wind can be extremely strong and there have been several accidents. It's not unpredictable though and you just need a bit of common sense. Always keep an eye on the horizon and if you see a storm brewing, it's time to come in. Don't put your kite up if you have a doubt about your ability relative to the conditions, and respect the designated kiting zone.
What do you think are the optimum conditions for the spot?
In my opinion, a good strong south-easterly on a nice sunny day is hard to beat. But I also like it when there's 30 knots of Mistral as generally when it's like that I have the spot to myself!
See the full interview with Yann Chouard on kiteboardjournal.com.