Where there’s water, you can bet you’ll probably find Ali and me, and staying along Spain’s Mediterranean coast was no exception. For several weeks the Playa Honda has been our home away from home.
Playa Honda is a tiny vacation town that is less than a half an hour from the larger and better-known city of Murcia. This region is littered with beaches and enjoys a typical cool, breezy Mediterranean climate.
Perhaps one of the most notable features of this location is the 135-square-kilometer saltwater lagoon, which, geographically is a triangular basin practically enclosed from the Mediterranean sea.
Mar Menor, or “Minor Sea,” is considered the largest lagoon in Spain and because of it’s warm water, shallow depth, high salinity (which aid with floatation) and relative calmness in all but the worst weather, it is a popular spot for all kinds of watersports.
After watching people flying across Mar Menor at top speed during our lunch break for the last two weeks, Ali and I decided it was time to get our butts out on the water. We had been enjoying the pool and beach in front of our Airbnb, but it was time to find ourselves a watersport rental shop and take to the sea.
Just around the corner from our accommodation was a dingy little oceanside rental shop. The shop was decked out with all the water toys imaginable; paddle board, catamarans, mini sailboats and of course windsurfing equipment.
Windsurfing time! Once we had located a shop and established prices and donned gear, off, we went – time to give this windsurfing business a shot.
Both my parents used to be avid windsurfer when my brother and I were kids, so I was quite familiar with the concept of standing on a board and catching the wind with the sail. As an avid snow/wakeboarder and having tried surfing once or twice, I have no issues standing on a board and keeping my balance. Because of this, I was fully confident that I would hop on a windsurfing board and blast off to the other side of the enclosed lagoon. Oh, how wrong I was!
As soon as we gathered our equipment, I quickly put everything together and waded out into the water, GoPro in my hand primed and ready to film Ali’s first attempt at getting on her board. I waited in discreet anticipation as she raised her sail – my camera still rolling – convinced that she would topple over into the water in some hilarious manner.
You can imagine my surprise and dismay as she flawlessly stood up, raised her sail and took off like a windsurfing pro.
Naturally, I jumped on my board in an attempt to race after her. Just like Ali did, I found my balance, stood up and raised my sail only to find out the gust of wind that had propelled Ali down the shoreline had died.
In case anyone is wondering, that was the undignifying sound me falling off my board into the water. That’s right; it’s all fun and games until you get shown up by your wife.
The rest of the day was spent slowly zigzagging back and forth in the shallows along the Mar Menor beach. As the afternoon progressed, we got better and better. The wind even started cooperating with us at times, and we were able to ride the occasional gust down the beachfront.
At mid-afternoon, our rental time was up, and we paddled our windsurfing equipment to shore but not before attempting one last ride on our board. On our way home the winds started to pick up, and we saw several hard-core windsurfers gearing up for a ride on the basin.
When it comes to trying windsurfing for the first time, Ali and I decided just to dive in and rent a couple of boards and sails ourselves and play around in the shallows. Our plan worked really well because the wind wasn’t overpowering and the area we were in was sheltered and relatively enclosed.
Important Note: As we quickly learned, the sport of windsurfing is pretty technically demanding. As the name implies, it happens in a windy and open water environment. If you are new to the sport, most windsurfers strongly advise taking a lesson, and above all else make sure that you have proper thermal protection and can get back to shore.
Here are some of the small tips and tricks that as beginners, we self-taught ourselves:
Going for a windsurf on our lunch break was a fantastic way to break up the day and returned to work nicely refreshed. As I learned the hard way, it’s certainly not as easy as it looks, but then again nothing ever is.
The biggest takeaway lesson that I learned as a beginner from our try-windsurfing afternoon is to make sure to check the weather and pick a day with gentle but somewhat steady winds.
All you windsurfing fanatics: Where did you first learn to windsurf? What is your favorite locations to go windsurfing?
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