Forums > Windsurfing General

Where's the Most Unique Place You Have Windsurfed?

Created by Tony Wills > 9 months ago, 22 Apr 2015
Tony Wills
NSW, 242 posts
22 Apr 2015 9:36PM
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Just wondering (as I do mid-week in Canberra) where is the most unique and interesting place you have ever windsurfed?

I'll start it off (and provide an example)...

I remember as a 15 year old finally mastering my first run. Holding some power whilst maintaining balance in the middle of the DeGrey River in WA. I was living in Port Hedland at the time and was on a youth camp with a bunch of mates at the time. I guess the gentle breeze, combined with the flat part of the river was perfect for this kid who had tried and tried again!

For those that have no idea where the DeGrey is, see the attached photo.

I guess that in order to qualify for this thread, you need to think about going off the beaten track in order to consider what is "unique and interesting". I've been lucky enough to have windsurfed in places like Cowaramup Bay, Cervantes and other places in WA. I've also been lucky enough to have sailed in Hurgahda and Safaga in the Red Sea of Egypt. Having said that, many a sailor has enjoyed these places as well.

So where is the most unique place located where you have sailed (or windsurfed)?

NSW, 1698 posts
22 Apr 2015 9:41PM
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Tony Wills
NSW, 242 posts
22 Apr 2015 10:09PM
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Just to add, there's no judgements here either!

If the most unique place (in your opinion) is Pelican or Pinaroo Point, Lake George in SA (or the ACT) or anything else, please don't hold back. My aim is to simply introduce our readers to somewhere they never thought was appropriate to sail...

VIC, 118 posts
22 Apr 2015 10:31PM
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Sailed around a deserted island at the top of the yasawa chain in the late 90s . Felt pretty cool at the time, probably an exclusive resort built on it now.

Sometimes it's what you have as your local that's underrated , rigged up in Blairgowrie last Saturday in 15 knots perfect for my kit got on the water and after 5 mins of fun drops off to 10, stayed out for a while and was joined by about 10 Dolphins that shadowed me around for the next 20 mins putting on a private show.
City of 4 million people and it's just me and the Dolphins .

WA, 2855 posts
22 Apr 2015 9:45PM
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I've got a couple of FNQ ones, way up there for me is the reef past Michaelmas Sand Cay, almost imposable to do unless you have a mad mate prepared to bash his boat in mad sea to get there. Once there the water is flattish, you're absolutely in the middle of the ocean and with just a couple of mates, the trip back is hell which adds to the adventure.

The next for me is Arlington Reef, catch the tourist boat to Green Island from Cairns. Depending on wind direction it's a 6 to 12 K sail to Arlington Reef, once there you can do up to 10K runs over shallow reef water through very small swells, a couple of guys have done over 35Knt nautical miles here. There's something about flying over the reef with a couple of mates about 35K from the main land and the only thing near above water is Green Island.

Another is Green Island it's self, simply paradise when the tides right, in my view

Michaelmas, poor vid as my helmet was to big/loose but you get the drift

Green Island

NSW, 2839 posts
23 Apr 2015 7:18PM
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Bob ya bastard!!!
Middle of Long Reef golf course in the same type of storm Sydney just experienced in the late 80's. Huge rain and winds filled up a lot of the middle where the small lakes are so we mucked around trying to sail it. Didn't do much but was pretty cool sailing in a storm like that. Sort of a stealth mission

WA, 167 posts
23 Apr 2015 8:12PM
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The way windsurfers talk I would have thought there would have been many stories here so here's mine:
Back in the late eighties I was invited over to the Big Island for a unique photoshoot to "windsurf" Mt. Kilauea which was erupting quite a lot at the time.
It was being filmed by a Hollywood movie producer and joining us was, Nathalie Seibel, Bruce Kendall, Barbara Kendall, Raphael Salles and some more that I cant remember. Bruce, Barbara, myself and someone else were travelling by boat 1 hour upwind of the eruption but we all got so seasick we rigged up on the boat and sailed downwind, Raphalle and his friend missed the boat so sailed downwind from the harbour about an hour after we left. Nathalie travelled by helicopter.
Once we arrived at the site were the lava reaches the ocean we just sailed around a bit too scared to get close to the sulphur cloud then I saw Bruce go into the cloud then come out the other side. He told me all is good so I sailed right into the cloud but with the choking gasses and no wind I fell off, water was so hot so after waterstarting and getting out of there I didnt do it again but I did see Bruce actually sail right up unto the beach with hot lava flowing just meters from him. Still one of the coolest things I've seen. Nathalie arrived in the helicopter soon after and she first had to use a huge knife to cut her board from the heli then put the knife in her teeth , jump from the heli and pretend to stab a fish (which we had on the boat!). As the sun set we sat on the back of this boat watching eruption after eruption with huge amounts of lava shooting into the air about 50m away from us, all coming from where we were just sailing.
Nobody spoke on the way back to the harbour, it was by far one of the most surreal days we've ever had.
Unloading the boards afterwards we found all our boards had small dings on the bottom, caused by lava rocks shooting out of the water into our boards.

In these photos: Natahlie, Natahlie, me.

In these photos: Unknown, Natahlie, Nathalie.

WA, 462 posts
23 Apr 2015 8:50PM
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Well I think windsurfing near volcanoes takes the cake - wow! My meagre effort is sailing on a station dam north of Broken Hill. When time permitted I would drive 3hrs SE to sail on the Menindee Lakes. In hindsight, completely irrational and definitely not worth the effort

NSW, 647 posts
23 Apr 2015 11:03PM
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Kiwi legends, tougher than most

Al Planet
TAS, 1408 posts
24 Apr 2015 4:39PM
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Its pretty hard to top the Volcano about this vid from Max Matissek....

QLD, 1945 posts
24 Apr 2015 4:55PM
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^^ The water quality in the Vienna canal looked better than Lake George!

QLD, 274 posts
24 Apr 2015 5:01PM
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HF that story is UNREAL wow!

Lord Howe Island was one of the most beautiful (if a little cold spots I've sailed), great people too,159.0712027,15436m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6c7c1a4045be045f:0x253cb3d4e84fe28b

... along with Northern Fiji between the mainland and NanaNui-i-Cake stayed on the super laid back island of Nananu-i-Ra (mind out for Bounty Rum, it hits HARD!),178.2184293,8637m/data=!3m1!1e3

Tony Wills
NSW, 242 posts
24 Apr 2015 6:09PM
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Select to expand quote
tilldark said..
HF that story is UNREAL wow!

Lord Howe Island was one of the most beautiful (if a little cold spots I've sailed), great people too,159.0712027,15436m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6c7c1a4045be045f:0x253cb3d4e84fe28b

... along with Northern Fiji between the mainland and NanaNui-i-Cake stayed on the super laid back island of Nananu-i-Ra (mind out for Bounty Rum, it hits HARD!),178.2184293,8637m/data=!3m1!1e3

Fully agree with you regarding Lord Howe Island. I went there in 89 as part of the Gosford - Lord Howe yacht race. Wasn't much wind in the lagoon whilst we were there (and I didn't have a board & rig either) but I did promise myself back then that I would return again one day. If paradise can be personally defined, Lord Howe gets my vote!

QLD, 274 posts
24 Apr 2015 6:57PM
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Yeah totally! The guys who ran the hire center were awesome had so many kingfish steaks over there i almost couldnt fit in the plane, blew everyday/ The lagoon was just magic

NSW, 105 posts
24 Apr 2015 7:25PM
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I went to the Galapagos and one day saw a lone windsurfer in the ocean. I went to the beach to chat with him and I could rent his gear from him for just 15 USD. I went out and had an amazing windsurf experience, I was only told to look out not to hit any giant Turtles. Best day I ever had. Afterwards, he told me that I was the third person to have ever windsurfed in the Galapagos - an American dude who lived there 15 years ago and left his board as a show piece in a bar, himself and now me.

Other places far away from australia (but enjoyed by lots of wind surfers): soma Bay, Egypt. Cartagena, Colombia. Rhodes, Greece. Ijsselmeer, Netherlands and River Rhine (eltville), Germany

3048 posts
25 Apr 2015 7:32AM
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I thought the giant turtles were actually tortoise and didn't go in the water
Agree it must've been quite a unique experience.

best place I've windsurfed is just around the corner :

NSW, 8723 posts
25 Apr 2015 11:49AM
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Did a trip from from San Francisco to Sydney via the Pacific on a rather nice 45 ft trimaran. Took boards with us for unique island sailing. Somewhere in Polynesia we got hit by a big storm while travelling between islands AND we hit a whale AND we broke the mast. The boat started taking on a lot of water and was apparently slowly sinking. By early morning the storm had died down enough to become just a squall and we could make an island out in the distance so, having no other choice, we rigged up and started windsurfing toward it.

So this is just me and a good buddy, in the middle of the ocean, sailing on a perfect reach toward who knows what island at dawn at the tail end of a storm escaping a sinking boat. After about an hour or so a pod of dolphins started tailing us. They came close. Closer. And then they actually started nudging our boards. It was like they were trying to tell us something, perhaps even warn us abo.... Suddenly a giant tentacle rose up out of the ocean just to windward! Kraken!!! Its tentacles lashed toward us, and to my horror grabbed my mate clean off his board. I will never forget the sight of him being pulled into its giant beak and the sound of his bones being crushed as it tore him apart.

Then I think "Holy **** evlPanda haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your head?" And it was. I was totally fine. I've never even been on a trimaran.

WA, 3871 posts
25 Apr 2015 10:31AM
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Good story Panda, but this one is true. HF's experience is unlikely to be topped however. Amazing!

My story is not the most unique place to sail but it was the most exciting sail I've had in terms of the events surrounding it, and it was the first time I sailed at Boundary Island.

We decided April, being a lovely sunny month with calm winds was a good time for an idyllic houseboat holiday on the Mandurah Estuary. When the time arrived there was a bit of wind expected so I packed my windsurfing gear, but there wasn't much room on the boat for it, so I left it in the car.

One day out it is windy, so we head back to the Marina to pick up my windsurfing gear. The plan is, I go to Hardie’s run in the car, with windsurfing gear, have a sail, then phone the others to meet me back at the marina. In the meantime they were going to the bakery and then out for some fishing. A win win situation for everyone.

Returning to the marina was a bit of an adventure in itself, the boat ahead of us became grounded after cutting a corner instead of going around the navigation marker, then we had to navigate through million dollar boats (houseboats are very cumbersome and slow to respond to steering and not easy to drive), and it took a few attempts to dock in the strong crosswind. When we arrived back at the Marina the houseboat renters said “What are you doing here?”. I explained how I’d come back for my windsurfing gear and what our plans were. With a look of unbelief at our naivety and stupidity they said “We’ve just heard on the radio that we are to expect cyclonic winds with in a few hours “.

“Whooppeee!” I am thinking.

“We want you to hot foot it out of here and get upriver to more sheltered areas asap.”

“I can’t do that!” I said, "It's going to be really windy. Not without a sail first!”

“We don’t want you coming back here” they said. (We don’t want you amateur skippers in amongst all these million dollar boats in that sort of crosswind they implied)

I agreed to take the windsurfing gear on board so I could go for a sail and said we wouldn’t have to come back to the marina until tomorrow, but the storm was predicted to last for a few days and the houseboat people didn’t want us coming back tomorrow either.

I said “We have to come back tomorrow to pick up some friends.”

They said “The road crosses the river at Ravenswood, you can get them to meet you there.”

I said, “They can’t. They are teenagers and don’t drive. They are coming by train.”

“We will meet them at the train and bring them to you (That's how keen they were for us not to come back to the marina). Just get out of here and up river asap. Don’t even stop for windsurfing, “ they said. They were serious. This was just a couple of weeks after a big hailstorm that caused a lot of damage so everyone was nervous.

I loaded the windsurfing gear onto the boat. All of it. Didn’t want to not have the right gear. We head off. Did we go straight upriver? NO.The family were still salivating from their thoughts of going to the bakery and they weren’t going to pass that up so we crossed Mandurah to go to the bakery first. The Houseboat Owners (HBO) had satellite tracking on all their boats so they must have been horrified that we were not immediately heading upriver. My son was feeling stressed after navigating the boat through the marina so we let my Dad have a go at being skipper.There were 3 docks at the bakery. Dad aimed for the leftmost one. The cross wind was so strong we ended up in the right most one. We quickly dashed in to the bakery and dashed out again. We were trying to get out of town and upriver quickly, we just had a few things we had to do first...

After seeing Dad’s attempts at parking the boat my son decided he better drive again, so off we went. Not stopping to eat but munching his pie as he drove, my son expertly navigated the canals and channel and berthed perfectly at Boundary Island this time. I just had to go for a sail and had determined the wind was onshore at Boundary Island and the water mostly shallow (We had a map showing depth soundings for the whole estuary which was very useful), so a pretty safe crosswind run. I didn’t want to risk ending up somewhere down wind and not being able to get back.

I was ready in wetsuit by the time we stopped, and rigged up as quickly as possible. I was slowed somewhat by my decision to change down one size of sail, but I was on the water as quickly as possible, sailing in a 20 knot northerly. The black clouds were looming ominously to the north and west. With each run west I could see they were getting closer at an alarming rate. I kept saying “Just one more run”. Eventually I decided I couldn’t put the boat and crew at further risk and I came in. I hadn’t had enough, I just thought it wise to stop, and just as well. Everyone on board was getting a bit up tight in the face of this wall of black cloud.

My son helped me de-rig and throw the gear on board. He had the boat untied and idling ready to go as I jumped on. We turned out into the main channel and headed for the estuary and “Big Red”, the navigation marker signalling the junction between the main boating routes. As we rounded Big Red and headed east toward the refuge of the Murray River we could see rain was already falling heavily to the south west. It was going to be a race to the river mouth.

The navigational markers are quite far apart and difficult to see even in clear conditions. If the rain closed in it would be impossible to see where to go. The estuary is really wide (you can only just see the other side) and we had little idea of where on the other side the river mouth was. Added to that, is the opening of the Serpentine river is at the same point as the mouth of the Murray River, but the Serpentine is too shallow to navigate by houseboat. Most of the estuary is very shallow too, and you risk running aground if you stray away from the safe water markers.

I monitored the max speed of the houseboat using my GPS - 4.5 knots. Not easy to outrun anything at that speed. We had at least an hour’s travelling just to cross the estuary. The rain was closing in. It was on our right, on our left, and behind us, but miraculously not in front of us. We could still see the navi markers. Just. As we passed into the open estuary away from the protection of the windward shore the water became significantly rougher. We weren’t being tossed about but it was no smooth sailing. Slogging eastward we went. We had “Riverdance” playing on the CD and it was fast and exciting, echoing our tension and our desire to get out of there fast.

We mentally ticked off each navi marker passed and breathed a little easier. The rain stayed to our sides and rear until about two thirds of the way across, then it started to blow in front of us. Dad and I were helping navigate but we couldn’t see the navi markers anymore. Fortunately my eagle eyed son could. It was a good thing the rain wasn’t any heavier. I comforted myself with the knowledge that I had my GPS with me and if necessary we could radio in our exact coordinates and base could guide us to the river. As we approached the river mouth the navi markers became closer together and that made navigation a lot easier as it was really pouring with rain by this stage. We made the sanctuary of the river and my son decided he was feeling a bit stressed and had done his bit, so he would have a break. Dad took over the driving and I went to have a shower. I had been standing in my dripping wetsuit all this time.

We thought the worst was over, but the rest of the holiday turned out to be no less eventful...

QLD, 12082 posts
25 Apr 2015 12:37PM
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since we are moving from places to events.

am I the only one who has gotten sea sick while windsurfing?

VIC, 118 posts
25 Apr 2015 1:49PM
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My dolphin story from last weekend is starting to look pretty fkn lame!!!

WA, 3871 posts
25 Apr 2015 2:10PM
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Select to expand quote
33frupus said..
My dolphin story from last weekend is starting to look pretty fkn lame!!!

Nah, dolphins are special. They get bonus points!

Dean 424
NSW, 440 posts
25 Apr 2015 8:28PM
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1990 Big wet in Nowra. Shoalhaven river overflowed into the carpark for the local shopping centre. A mate and I called a sickie but where caught out when we the picture of us sailing the carpark ended up on the front page of the local rag.

VIC, 190 posts
25 Apr 2015 9:02PM
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Hood River

WA, 42 posts
25 Apr 2015 10:12PM
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Lake Ponchatrain New Orleans 1983, sailed to the pub

WA, 1049 posts
26 Apr 2015 1:29PM
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58°05'15.7"N 8°04'26.3"

NSW, 105 posts
26 Apr 2015 8:56PM
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Check out this travel windsurf video from Argentina which I came across today.


The last spot at the glacier close to El Calafate in Patagonia is very impressive and so unique. I went there in January last year - of course without windsurf gear - and was wondering if someone has sailed these places. Now I know...

WA, 651 posts
26 Apr 2015 7:12PM
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Coral Bay WA is the most picturesque place i've sailed. Unfortunately i'm not a world traveller. We have some nice spots around our home land

but sailing the glaciers would be something that would definately be etched into ones memory and well worth braging about

TAS, 1919 posts
26 Apr 2015 9:50PM
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Ya beat me to it bob! This is well up there for me, as a unique place sailed! Just the mission to get there and enjoy a great spot with only our selfs in mad cams boat!

I didn't seem too enthusiastic talking in the video haha but man did I have a blast, out on the cay!

NSW, 1010 posts
27 Apr 2015 9:05PM
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The Lagoon Denham Shark Bay.

1901 posts
28 Apr 2015 6:59AM
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Zaca Lake, which is in the mountains about 10 miles NE of Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch in central California, it looks very much like The Lagoon Denham Shark Bay, except it is smaller and surrounded by mountains. No good windsurfing winds show up there, but I had a board in my van when we went up there to go camping, so I figured why not try, it was pretty breezy.
I managed to sail all the way around the perimeter of the lake without making a single jibe.
Turns out that that area is very popular of glider flying, they get towed up into the air from a small landing strip near by and then go over the lake to hit a wind vortex that rises up so they can gain altitude. Evidently that vortex starts down at the lake level, enabling me to sail around it w/o jibing.
Pretty unique in my book.

SA, 3437 posts
28 Apr 2015 9:01AM
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Windsurfed out the front of San Quentin Prison and along side the Richmond Bridge in San Francisco

Rigging up next to the prison grounds


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"Where's the Most Unique Place You Have Windsurfed?" started by Tony Wills