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Kitesurfing at Le Jaï, L’Etang de Berre

The Etang de Berre’s warm shallow water is great for learning to kitesurf, and freeriders will love the bump and jump conditions generated when a northerly kicks in with gusto.

Kitesurfing Guide - Le Jaï - Etang de Berre

Freestyle
Wave-riding
Kitesurf in multiple wind directions. Consistent wind in summer. Shallow a long way out.
Predictable but dangerous gusts. Dubious water quality.

Spot Information

Spot Type

Lagoon

Best Wind

W,NW,N

Rider Level

Beginner - Advanced

Style

Freeride

Best Time of Year

Year round.

Summer Water Temp

18°C > 22°C

Winter Water Temp

9°C > 11°C

Hazards
Blows off-shore in a southerly. Rocks along the beach. Strong gusts possible.

Wind Forecast


Location Map

Practical Information

Nearest Town

Marignane

Nearest Airport

Aéroport Marseille Provence

Latitude/Longitude

43.4199, 5.1737

Parking

Park at the spot behind the beach along Avenue Henri Fabre. There's only space for about 40 cars, so it fills up quick. You can park at the far end of the kite zone, but you'll have to walk to the launch site before unpacking your gear.

Tourist Office

Office de Tourisme de Marignane
Cours Mirabeau
13700 Marignane
France

Phone: +33 (0)4 42 31 12 97
Web: www.tourisme-marignane.com
Email: officedetourisme@ville-marignane.fr

Access
Just 30 minutes from both Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, Le Jaï beach is located in the town of Marignane at the southern end of the Etang de Berre. Easily access for cars along the beach road from Marignane. Stick to the Etang de Berre side, the Etang de Bolmon side is a nature reserve.

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Le Jaï-Etang de Berre Kitesurfing Gallery

  • Kitesurfer at Le Jai beach on the Etang de Berre

    © Facebook | AixpoPhotos

  • Kitesurfer ready to ride at Le Jai beach on the Etang de Berre

    © Facebook | AixpoPhotos

  • Watch out for the rocks at Le Jai kitesurfing spot

    © OT Marignane

  • Northerly winds can kick up some decent waves

    © OT Marignane

  • Looking out over the Etang de Berre from Le Jai beach

    © OT Marignane

Spot Description

You’re almost guaranteed a good kitesurfing session at L’Etang de Berre because the wind will blow here from multiple directions. It’s a lagoon, so it’s popular with beginners and it’s the spot to head to if the Med gets too rough.

Le Jaï beach

Le Jaï beach is a spit of sand that stretches for 5 km from Marignane to Châteauneuf-les-Martigues dividing the Etang de Berre from the Etang de Bolmon nature reserve. Kiting is restricted to the Etang de Berre side. The local authorities have been criticised in the past for the water quality in the lagoon. With an international airport and some heavy industry along its shores, it's a battle to keep the water clean enough for tourism, but the days of discharging heavy metals into the lagoon are long gone. The beach is cleaned every day throughout the summer and the water is regularly monitored for pollution.

The Kitesurfing

Le Jaï works all year and with with between 250 and 300 days of wind per year it's one of the windiest spots in the south of France. The Mistral northwesterly kicks in from January to December. A thermal westerly that you can almost set your watch to is present during July and August. A southeasterly wind blows from time to time during low pressure and especially in October and November.

The beach faces northwest so fully onshore during the Mistral which is the prevailing wind. The Mistral can kick up a half decent wave with good surfing conditions in a strong wind. Sometimes it can exceed 50 knots with ultra violent gusts.

In a southeasterly, it's straight offshore and the lagoon is blown flat almost without a ripple. Experienced riders can slice through the glassy water along the beautiful strip of sand and shells. If you're a beginner, unless you have boat support, you need to take extreme care in these conditions. The lagoon's huge and if you're upwind riding skills aren't dialled in you could easily find yourself blown out into deep water.

A westerly blows cross-shore and is quite inconsistent. The choppy water makes it tough going unless you're lucky enough to have a foil.

Whatever style of kitesurfing you're into, you can do it here. Freestyle, hydrofoil, freeride, strapless, anything goes.

Beginners should stick either to a light Mistral (less than 20 knots) or the westerly thermal. Advanced riders will enjoy the frequently powerful Mistral and offshore southeasterly.

There are some big rocks and houses before the little bridge just shy of the kite zone. It's strictly forbidden to kite in this area as a loose kite could potentially hurt a resident or damage property. Besides, once you're across the bridge there are no more rocks, just a few tamarix trees and the setting is a lot prettier.

Le Jai Kitesurf Schools

There are 3 kite schools in the area. The closest is Hot School in Martigues. Then there's La Voile Libre in Fos and Glisse Attitude in Marseille.


Where to eat and sleep

In summer, there's a campsite right next to the spot where you can eat and sleep. The rest of the year, you'll either be sleeping in your van or in one of the hotels near the airport.

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