If you are thinking about taking a windsurfing, you might only think about windsurfing conditions – and only focus on travelling to the windiest location.
But the best windsurfing locations in the world don’t just have great wind, they are stunning places with beautiful beaches, can have cool bars and a fun vibe too.
Whether you want to practice jumping in a location great with waves, or maybe you just want to cruise around in a bay, blasting back and forth in a freeride heaven. So with all this in mind, what really are the best windsurf locations in the world?
This article will explore the best windsurfing spots worldwide, and will explore their specific features, windsurfing conditions, local cultures, and nightlife — and the ideal seasons to visit for a windsurfing holiday.
If you’re taking the family, you might like to read our blog about the best family watersports holidays.
Table of Contents
The best windsurfing locations
Maui – Hawaii
Let’s start with the classic location that most have heard of and is probably on most windsurfers bucket lists.
Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii and has several excellent windsurfing locations for beginner, intermediate, and advanced windsurfers. You are going to find the best windsurfing beaches on the north shore of the island.
Local beaches like Kanaha Beach Park offer beginners a chance to hone their flat water windsurfing skills, while places like Ho’okipa and Spreckelsville Beach parks offer much more challenging wave sailing environments for advanced windsurfers. In fact, the relatively rocky Ho’okipa Beach is considered one of the “go-to” places for windsurf professionals.
Maui is home to year-round trade winds that mostly blow from the right, also known as “starboard tack”. Though you can get some good windsurfing in from March through April, you will see the best windsurfing conditions from May through August.
Overall, the surrounding area of Maui is family-friendly, there are plenty of resorts, restaurants, and amenities you would expect from a large residential town. Though there are windsurfing schools for families with older children; Maui would also make a great destination for adventurous windsurfers on a honeymoon.
Jericoacoara – Brazil
Jericoacoara Beach, Brazil, is located on the west coast of the municipality of Jijoca de Jericoacoara – one of the northern towns of the northeastern state of Ceara, Brazil. Nicknamed “Jeri”, this beach is known for strong, continuous trade winds that blow constantly from June to January/February.
The average sail size used in Jeri is between 3.5 and 4.7, so you know it’s windy!
Jeri is generally known for having flat, sweeping, sandy beaches – though somewhat rockier beaches can be found at the Praia de Malhada (Malhada Beach). Intermediate and advanced windsurfers can expect excellent wave sailing conditions at this location.
Whilst it does not cater for beginners, this beach’s shores are really suited for intermediate or advanced windsurfers.
Jeri offers really easy waves that are perfect for those trying jumping and wave riding for the first time. Freestylers also love the conditions and it’s incredible to watch them twist and turn middair.
Onshore, Jeri’s traditional role as a fishing village has diminished, but it’s bars and nightlife are unmatched. Capoeira practitioners take to the beaches as the evening approaches, and locals play Brazilian Forro music outside in the streets. From this, it might be obvious that Jeri would be best suited for couples or adult groups.
Lac Bay – Bonaire
Lac Bay is located on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. Located just off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, Bonaire’s Lac Bay is situated on the south-eastern portion of the island and is known for its shallow, relatively calm waters.
The windiest months are from January to May, but you can still find the odd breeze in June, July, November, and December.
You can expect a fair amount of free-riding here, but this is also a great environment for freestyle and foil windsurfing. In fact, Lac Bay is considered the “spiritual home” of freestyle windsurfing, with moderate winds and plenty of flatwater to manoeuvre.
Lac Bay would be great for a family windsurf holiday, solo travellers, couples – just about anyone interested in relaxing and taking in the best freestyle windsurfing conditions the Caribbean has to offer.
Restaurants and bars are small and casual, and there are no large nightclubs to be found, making Lac Bay that much more comfortable for relaxation-oriented vacationers.
The Gorge – Hood River – USA
“The Gorge” actually refers to the Columbia River Gorge, an 80-mile long, 4,000-foot deep canyon formed by the Columbia River, the river that forms the boundary between Washington State and Oregon in the United States.
The mighty Columbia is the main river of the Pacific Northwest, and the Hood River is a tributary, meeting the Columbia at The Gorge. Strangely enough, this stretch of the Columbia River makes for excellent windsurfing, in an area more known for pine trees, salmon fishing, and bear sightings.
The best time of year to windsurf in The Gorge is from June to September. Areas like “The Hook” are sheltered and protected making it great for blasting around. While areas like the western-wind driven “Hatchery” and narrow-channelled “Wall” make excellent freestyle and jumping venues.
The Gorge is less than an hour’s drive away from Portland, the the largest city in Oregon. The city is a diverse amalgamation of restaurants, shops, and trendy bars, fit for families as well as adventurous single or coupled windsurfers.
Gwithian – UK
If you’re headed to Cornwall, the village of Gwithian (and its sand-drift-laden beaches called the Gwithian Towans) is one of the best windsurf locations in the UK. Facing northwest along St. Ives Bay, the Gwithian combines south and west winds for great cross-shore winds that generate fairly intense waves.
The beach is mostly sand, with occasional rock patches at Gwithian, Hayle (located to the southwest of the beach), and Godrevy (northeast of Gwithian). The beaches can be gusty, drawing up waves that are truly conducive to down the line wave sailing. Needless to say, advanced windsurfers only would be suited to Gwithians high-wave conditions.
The best months for windsurfing in Gwithian would be from April through December – indeed, the United Kingdom Wavesailing Association (UKWA) holds competitions during this time, even late into October.
The village of Gwithian has pubs, cafes, and pasty shops. Beach houses are available for those on vacation, making this an ideal windsurfing destination for single vacationers or couples.
Sal – Cape Verde
Sal is an island in the archipelagic country of Cape Verde, located roughly 350 miles west of Africa, specifically Senegal and Mauritania. In wintertime, from November to April, the wind blows consistently and strongly, usually from the northeast.
This makes for varied windsurfing conditions, with most conditions suitable for intermediate to advanced wave windsurfers. That does not mean, however, that beginners can not learn here. Santa Maria bay has sandy white beaches and calmer waters suitable for learners of the sport.
Ponta Leme and Ponta Preta have beaches with higher waves, at up to 2 meters and 3 to 6 meters, respectively. Both would be best for experienced windsurfers, with the cross-shore winds off of Ponta Preta being particularly suitable for advanced wave riding.
Onshore, there are restaurants, nightclubs, and bars that feature live music. Hotels that accommodate larger parties are not particularly plentiful in Sal, but there are some that can cater to family holidays and non-windsurfing companions.
Le Morne – Mauritius
Le Morne is a peninsula located in the southwestern part of Mauritius, an island country some 1,200 miles east of the African mainland in the Indian Ocean. Offering excellent wave riding and flatwater free-riding opportunities, Le Morne’s best windsurfing starts in May, ramps up between July and October, and tapers off in the winter months.
The luxurious Le Morne is home to a shallow turquoise-water lagoon surrounded by a reef, roughly half a kilometre offshore. Low tide can expose both the lagoon and the reef, but higher tides make for great flat water windsurfing at Little Reef.
Much more advanced windsurfers will find great wave riding opportunities at locations like Manawa and One Eye, but will find little room for error over the shallow reefs there. Summer winds blow from the east/southeast and are always incredibly reliable.
Le Morne has wonderful restaurants that serve local French Creole cuisine, as well as an active night club scene. Le Morne has superb accommodation for family and it would also be a perfect holiday spot for couples.
Vassiliki – Greece
Vassiliki is a town located on the island of Lefkada in western Greece. The town, known as a fishing port, is also home to a large south-southwestern-facing bay — which borders the flat, rocky, partially sandy Vassiliki Beach.
In the summer months, the wind blows from the south in the morning and from the west in the afternoon. The afternoon wind, which picks up from around 3 pm, can be from 18 to 30 knots.
This creates excellent flatwater windsurfing conditions (the locals call the afternoon thermal wind there “Eric”) and it is not uncommon to find hundreds of windsurfers out on the bay during the day. Here, you can hone your skills as a beginner or enjoy excellent freeriding conditions.
Because of Vassiliki’s flat water, pleasant beach, and relatively safe waters, it would an excellent place for a family holiday. Here, small children can play on the beach while the adult windsurfers can take to the waves one at a time. Onshore, you can enjoy local Greek food and drink from the many restaurants and cafes that line the bay.
Sotavento – Fuerteventura
Sotavento Beach is located in the southeastern part of Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands (off the coast of Morocco). Its nine-kilometre beach is flat and sandy, making for excellent flat water windsurfing, but you can also expect to find very small, ankle-high waves here too.
Comprised of five beaches (Mirador, Playa de La Barca, Malnombre, Risco del Paso, and Playa de Los Canarios), Sotavento has cross-offshore wind conditions, starting in March/April, but comes in full force from May to September.
These are great freeriding and freestyle conditions, and both beginners and experienced windsurfers can enjoy Sotavento’s strong winds. Due to the incredibly consistently strong winds, Sotavento has got to be up there with one of the best windsurfing locations in the world.
The beach also features a number of windsurfing schools.
The island has several large hotels, making it great for families with children. This is not to say that the beach is just as accommodating, there are parts of the beach that are sparse on amenities, so if you plan on visiting, be prepared with food and drink.
Lake Garda – Italy
Lake Garda is located in northern Italy (split between the administrative regions of Lombardy and Veneto) and at 51 kilometres long, and 16 kilometres wide, is the country’s largest lake.
It’s windsurfing conditions are best from the months of April to October.
In the northernmost part of Lake Garda, morning winds (known as “Vent” or “Peler”) blow from the north at around 4 to 5 on the Beaufort scale. Afternoon winds (known as “Ora”) blow from the south and calm as the evening approaches..
The conditions make for flat to choppy conditions, making it fun for freestyle, freeride and slalom windsurfing.
Lake Garda offers a variety of cultural, natural, and historical sites in the surrounding area. Its churches, castles, palaces, and archaeological sites offer a unique look at northern Italian history — and would be suitable for family members and non-windsurfers. Families with children, younger and older, would enjoy Lake Garda’s scenic and cultural sites.
Coronation Beach – Western Australia
Coronation Beach is on the west coast of Australia, a 22-mile drive north from Geraldton, Western Australia. The beach is 281 miles north of Perth, the capital and is known for having a wide, flat, sandy reef beach.
The wind on this beach can be fairly strong, which can easily get to force 6 or 7 on many days. This, however, is not the case year-round, as the best months to windsurf are between the months of October and April.
Coronation Beach is great for a variety of windsurfing, from freeriding, freestyling, wave, and slalom. Its winds usually blow from the southwest, but southern and southeastern winds also occur.
This windsurfing location is better suited for adventurous solo vacationers or small groups of windsurfing friends. The surrounding park offers sheltered campsites, picnic areas, communal showers, pit toilets, and a barbecue area.
Tarifa – Spain
Tarifa, Spain is located on the extreme south end of the Iberian Peninsula. It is a municipality in Cadiz, a district of the administrative region of Andalusia. Tarifa’s beach is located on the country’s “Coast of Light”, the Costa de la Luz.
The gateway to the Mediterranean (and situated right on the Strait of Gibraltar), Tarifa is home to two major winds: the Levante (which comes in from the east) and the Poniente (which blows from the northwest). The best months to windsurf are June through October when the Levante is most consistent.
These winds can come in rather strong, anywhere from 4 to 8 on the Beaufort scale, and would be suitable for intermediate or advanced windsurfers. Flat, sandy beaches are common here, and conditions range from slalom, wave, freestyle and free-ride.
Tarifa is an active nightlife venue with parties gaining momentum at around 1 am. Parties can go on all night, making this a destination more suited for single vacationers or small groups of friends. Hotels are located in the nearby city area, as are numerous bars that serve tapas.
Langebaan – South Africa
Langebaan is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, roughly 75 miles north of Cape Town. It is a city located on the eastern side entrance of Langebaan Lagoon, and adjacent to the larger Saldanha Bay.
Langebaan’s bay area has excellent flat water conditions for beginner windsurfing, blasting, and freestyle. From November to April, Langebaan has strong and consistent winds that blow from 3 to 7 on the Beaufort scale from the southwest, south, and southeast.
Langebaan Lagoon is partially protected as a Marine Wildlife preserve, but windsurfer-friendly areas are also present. These areas feature waist-deep blue waters with flatwater conditions ideal for beginners and those working on carve gybes and waterstarts.
Langebaan’s surrounding area is home to West Coast National Park, a bird sanctuary and wilderness preserve that also features large varieties of native flowers. With numerous resorts and hotels nearby, Langebaan would make a great family windsurf holiday destination.
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.