Goodbye Leucate and Pictures batch #1!

Well… here I am, cuddled comfortably on my bed, in my own room at the back of my own flat. Man, it’s nice to be home once in a while 馃檪 Even though I returned from Leucate 11 days ago, up till now I was so absorbed with endless pile of stuff to be done, things to be seen, friends waiting to be visited, that I didn’t really have any time to sit down and write anything. But hey, now is just as good time as ever, right? So let’s see. 3 weeks in Leucate have passed. Most days were windy, thanks to both amazing Marin and annoying Tramontane. No arms, legs or any other body parts were broken. No equipment destroyed, lost or stolen. Everyone got back home with blonde highlights and pretty standard (and ridiculous) wetsuit tan lines.

Simply put, a nice trip. A very, very nice trip.

In the next few days I’m going to update ikiteit with the rest of the pictures and an extensive description of Leucate and its spots 馃檪 I’ll scan some maps and throw in useful links as well, so that it can become a nice reference for anyone planning a trip over there in the future.

And now, on a side note….

Next friday I’m leaving home again. This time my destination is Hel Peninsula, the best kitesurfing area in Poland. June is the perfect month to be there – it’s windy, and there’s almost no one on the water! Lots and lots of free, unobstructed, waist-deep space! I’m going to stay there for 3 weeks and work at kite.pl, the same school I worked at last year. Visit me if you have time, we have pretty sweet course/rental offers for all of you! 馃檪 Hel Peninsula is a really cool place, I bet it will be a lot of fun to try to show Polish spots and lifestyle to foreigners… we need more international recognition, so I’m pretty eager to try! 馃槈

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

spot Eole during Tramontane

Two days ago Tramontane was blowing like crazy where we live, so we decided to drive south in search of lighter wind (‘lighter’ being a relative term here, as Tramontane at our place was ~35knt with gust up to ~43knt, and when you drive south, you can expect the wind to be 5-6knt lighter… which is still damn strong in this case). We chose Eole, as this is a pretty big spot with a good place to do the set-up.

Eole is basically a small bay in the lake (you can see the left edge of the bay on the photo above). With Tramontane the wind direction is almost completely on-shore. You can choose to either stay in the small bay (lots of windsurfers do that), or go upwind a bit, leave the bay and ride on the lake outside it.

Windsurfers usually do the set-up in front of the bay (picture), kitesurfers have either their own sandy beach on the left side of the spot, or they can walk to the edge of the bay, set their kites up over there and ride directly on the lake (see that red kite on the left side of the pic above? This is where some people set up their kites).

Unfortunately, even in Eole the wind was too strong for me, as my smallest kite is 7m, and guys over there (who are obviously heavier and bigger than me) used 6m or 7m kites… so I spent the day on the beach. But even that day had its highlights. First, we saw someone riding the most oldschool sail in the world:

And second, there was this guy doing all sorts of real oldschool tricks – big airs, board offs, dead mans, candle sticks and all that. It was so much fun to watch it, as not many people do these tricks anymore… it’s always new school this, new school that. It was so clearly visible that guy had a great time just riding and doing his thing… I guess passion and having your own style is all that matters in the end 馃檪

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

spot La Palme with Marin blowing

Today we decided to go to la Palme in search of flat water. To be perfectly honest I didn’t really want to go there that much, because theoretically this is a good spot for Tramontane (NW wind) and not Marin (SE wind). When Marin is blowing, the wind direction in la Palme is almost completely off-shore…

I expected gusts and other unpleasant surprises, but boy, was I mistaken! La Palme is a PERFECT spot for Marin. The wind is stable, with almost no gusts at all (well, okaaaay, maybe one or two in an hour… it doesn’t count). La Palme has quite shallow water, ranging in most places from knee-deep to waist-deep, but in the middle of the lake you have chest-deep water (and I’m 178cm tall, so this water is not so shallow anymore :P). And the most beautiful thing – the water is TOTALLY FLAT. No chop or whatever… pure flat. If you’re a rider who doesn’t have problems with going upwind (you have to be able to go back to the shore… if you’re riding quite close you can walk back with your kite in zenith, but in general it’s useful to know how to go upwind :P), this is a perfect place to polish your skills 馃檪

I think we’ll visit la Palme for the next few days, just trying new tricks and having fun 馃檪 We’re all slowly getting a little tired, because each day we ride for as long as our bodies let us, but I’ll just keep pushing it – I don’t want to waste even one day here 馃檪 After all, there will be time to recover my aching muscles somewhere in the future when the wind goes down for a few days… 馃槈

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

Marin and spot le Goulet…

Note to self: NEVER visit le Goulet again when Marin is blowing. WORST GUSTS EVER (and I’m the last one to complain about gusty wind, or to complain about kiting in general, seriously). Gusts are so bad you can’t even ride in one direction like a normal person would, cause the wind drops to 12knt and then picks up to 30knt again and again and again. One second your kite is falling down from the sky, the next thing you know it’s pulling you like crazy. Try to do a jump in this shit. Horrible. Waste of time.

I’m so pissed, I don’t even want to describe this place. Go die, you stupid stupid spot.

I guess I’ll maaaaaybe give le Goulet a second chance when Tramontane starts blowing. It’s supposed to be a good spot for this wind direction…

Not the best day today. Tomorrow we’ll probably try another new spot on the sea, which means waves waves waves. At this rate after three weeks here I still won’t be able to do unhooked tricks… but at least I’ll become a good wave rider 馃槢

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

Canet – my first impression on the spot

Canet is a spot located about 25km from Leucate Plage. We went there today, because there is almost no wind right now in Leucate Plage, and whenever Marin (“normal” wind from the sea) is blowing, it’s better to go south as the wind there usually gets stronger. Canet is a spot with a very wide beach – quite clean, but it’s still better to bring a sandbag with you as there may be some small rocks or seashells (obviously not every location in the world can have such clean, beautiful, harmless sand as Hel peninsula… but you have to work with what you’ve got, right? 馃槈 )

We went there at 3 o’clock cause the weather forecast said the wind is going to pick up around this time. It did, and Canet welcomed us with a beautiful 17knots side-on wind. The later it got, the stronger the wind was, picking up to 25 knots (which made my fight for survival in the waves even harder on a 10m kite xD… man, I was SO OVERPOWERED). Anyway, there are way more kitesurfers than windsurfers there, but everyone seems to get along well (and one windsurfer did a huge backloop right in front of me, which was super cool to watch, so I don’t really mind them being there xD).

One thing that totally surprised me was that I DIDN’T FEEL COLD AT ALL!! I mean, yes, the water was cold in general, but after I put on a lycra, long wetsuit, short wetsuit and another lycra, I felt super comfortable 馃榾 And because my short wetsuit is only 1.5mm thick, it doesn’t make moving around harder, you don’t even feel you have it on, and yet you’re perfectly warm! I am really happy about this, as being cold was my main concern. So now I know I can spend as many hours in the water as I want… YES!!!

If you like waves, Canet is a good spot when Tramontane (the strongest wind around here) is not blowing. Marin usually blows here side/side-on and when the weather is nice, it is strenghtened by a thermal wind (and this is the reason why you can have 6knt in Leucate Plage and 17knt in Canet…). Even though you have to drive these 25km, it’s a good spot where you can find wind on most windless days. However, one thing worth remembering is – you can’t kite in Canet when Tramontane is blowing, because then the wind is really strong and its direction changes to off-shore!

Right now it’s dark already, but we can hear the wind outside picking up. It makes the young trees bend in funny shapes, quietly knocking on our windows with their branches. It’s the sign that Tramontane is finally coming. Tonight I’m going to fall asleep knowing tomorrow’s going to be another good day. I can’t remember when was the last time I felt as much satisfaction and happiness as these past few weeks, starting with the ITC trip to Egypt and continuing now in France, then Polish seaside and finally Greece… I don’t really know, but maybe this is how you’re supposed to feel when you finally find the road you are meant to follow?

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

Leucate at last!! :D

Here we are, FINALLY! 馃檪 After more than 20 hours of driving we’ve arrived in Leucate Plage. It’s nice to finally be at a kite spot you already know… Everything is just as I remember it from two years ago 馃檪 Right now there are only three of us, but because next week two more people are going to come, we’ve decided to rent a small house suitable for 6 people. It’s totally awesome, fully equipped AND there is free wi-fi here, so expect loads of pictures in the following days 馃槈

Water is cold, but it’s hard to say if we’re going to freeze to death tomorrow when we go kite/windsurf or not… It seems that if we put on all the lycras and wetsuits we have, we should be able to survive… Let’s hope so 馃槈 From what we’ve seen, all the other houses on our campsite are already reserved (probably because in two weeks there’s going to be Mondial du Vent, one of the PKRA stops – very excited to see it!!) so we expect to have a lot of good atmosphere and company soon 馃檪

Today we’re really tired after all the hours spent in the car, so we’ve decided to rest, but tomorrow we’re going kiting/windsurfing 馃檪 There are tons of different places you can go to, some of them close, some even 20km away, and as long as you know which spot is best for what wind, you can really squeeze A LOT of kiting time from your stay… We have maps and descriptions of all the places, I think I’ll upload them one evening when I’m too tired to do anything else… 馃槈 But for now… we’re going to the beach, seems like someone is setting-up a big kite over there, let’s see what’s going on 馃槈

May wind be with you,
-Suzana

Nasz trip do Leucate w skr贸cie

best ekipa!

18.09.2009 Pi膮tek

Wyruszamy z Warszawy o 5.30. Jedziemy non-stop a偶 do Francji, gdzie w ko艅cu na jednym z du偶ych parking贸w zagrzebujemy si臋 w samochodzie w bluzy i koce i idziemy w kim臋. Nie ma si臋 ju偶 co spieszy膰, camping otwieraj膮 dopiero o 9tej.

19.09.2009 Sobota

Dojechali艣my do Leucate i z godzin臋 miotali艣my si臋 zanim znale藕li艣my w ko艅cu camping otwarty d艂u偶ej ni偶 do 26 wrze艣nia. Robimy rozeznanie, rozbijamy namiot. Na campingu spotykamy polak贸w z deskami! No to teraz jest nas ju偶 pi膮tka. Jeste艣my zm臋czeni i nie wieje wi臋c reszt臋 dnia robimy b艂ogos艂awione NIC.

20.09.2009 Niedziela

Wieje! Uderzamy na Teleski, Kuba z Magd膮 szalej膮 na ma艂ych 偶aglach, dla mnie wieje troch臋 za du偶o. Po po艂udniu przenosimy si臋 na La Palme i p艂ywamy wszyscy. Na wodzie mn贸stwo ma艂ych kajtk贸w, kursanci si臋 ucz膮.

21.09.2009 Poniedzia艂ek

P艂ywaaaaaamy w La Palme! Wieje mocne 5bft, potem 6bft. Na niebie mn贸stwo kajt贸w Besta, troch臋 ludzi p艂ywa na Ozonach. 艢wieci s艂o艅ce, jest ciep艂o, pogoda wci膮偶 si臋 poprawia a m贸j depower w Waroo rz膮dzi!

22.09.2009 Wtorek

Gor膮co! Wieje! P艂ywamy w lycrach i boardshortach. Po d艂ugim dniu 艣migania na 7m Waroo przy 5-6bft, wieczorem genialna relaksuj膮ca sesja na 10m Bularoo podczas gdy Kuba z Magd膮 opalaj膮 si臋 na brzegu. Czy umarli艣my i trafili艣my do raju?

23.09.2009 艢roda

Ju偶 wieczorem wiatr przycicha艂 a teraz od rana kompletna flauta. Odpoczywamy, bo dwa poprzednie dni by艂y ci臋偶kie. Wszystko nas boli 馃槈
Wieczorem w pi膮tk臋 odwiedzamy na s膮siednim campingu Stefana, Francuza mieszkaj膮cego na co dzie艅 w Polsce. Razem ze swoim przyjacielem Fredem cz臋stuj膮 nas francuskimi specja艂ami – 艣limakami, ostrygami, krewetkami, dobrym bia艂ym winem i dziwacznym napojem o any偶kowym posmaku kt贸ry kopie jak dobre 8bft 馃槈 Niekt贸rzy z ch艂opc贸w przy ostrygach i 艣limakach wymi臋kaj膮, ale ja i Magda dajemy rad臋, mimo 偶e ostrygi po dotkni臋ciu no偶em ruszaj膮 si臋. Kto艣 musi godnie reprezentowa膰 w艣r贸d Francuz贸w nasz kraj.

24.09.2009 Czwartek

Zn贸w si臋 rozwiewa. Witaj La Palme, witaj s艂o艅ce! Jaki艣 kursant prawie zabija mnie 3m kajtem. Naprawd臋 trzeba uwa偶a膰. Lepiej p艂ywa膰 albo blisko brzegu albo po lewej stronie jeziora. Szkwali.

25.09.2009 Pi膮tek

szkwali… ale przynajmniej wieje i jest ciep艂o 馃檪

26.09.2009 Sobota

Tramontana nie wieje. Jaki艣 s艂aby wiatr od morza, ale za s艂abo nawet na du偶ego kajta. Odpoczywamy.

27.09.2009 Niedziela

Jedziemy na La Palme. Kilka 12m i 14m kajt贸w powiewa nad jeziorem wi臋c wiedziona nik艂膮 nadziej膮 rozk艂adam swoj膮 10tk臋. Magda z Kub膮 nawet nie bawi膮 si臋 w otaklowywanie sprz臋tu. Startuj臋. Kajt po chwili spada. Startuj臋 znowu. P艂yn臋! Po 10 halsach wiatr zupe艂nie znika zostawiaj膮c mnie na drugiej cz臋艣ci jeziora bez mo偶liwo艣ci powrotu. Zaliczam najd艂u偶szy spacer wod膮 z kajtem w 偶yciu.
Pomijaj膮c te p贸艂 godziny rano, ca艂y dzie艅 nie wieje.

28.09.2009 Poniedzia艂ek

Nie wieje, wi臋c pakujemy si臋 w pi膮tk臋 do samochodu i jedziemy zwiedza膰. 艁azimy po ska艂kach, ogl膮damy s艂ynn膮 winnic臋, jemy w knajpie. M贸j portfel cierpi znaczne straty. Oby jutro zawia艂o…

29.09.2009 Wtorek

Nie wieje. Ch艂opaki kt贸rych poznali艣my na campingu pakuj膮 deski i wracaj膮 do Polski. Nudzimy si臋 ca艂y dzie艅. Nie wiedzia艂am 偶e nawet k膮piele w morzu mog膮 by膰 nudne.

30.09.2009 艢roda

Nie wieje. Wchodzimy na wy偶szy stopie艅 wtajemniczenia w nudzeniu si臋. Ogl膮damy po 4 filmy na laptopie dziennie. 艢cigamy si臋 kto pierwszy u艂o偶y pasjansa paj膮ka z dw贸ch kolor贸w. Jest z nami coraz gorzej. Wieczorem modlimy si臋 o wiatr i sk艂adamy je偶owi kt贸ry mieszka niedaleko naszego namiotu ofiar臋 w postaci worka pe艂nego 艣mieci.

01.10.2009 Czwartek

Rano nie wieje, ale ofiara ze 艣mietnika zosta艂a przyj臋ta. Pe艂ni nadziei jemy i zbieramy si臋 na spot. Oko艂o 15 zaczyna wia膰! Wieje mocno i bardzo nier贸wno, ale wieje! Rozk艂adam 7m i id臋 p艂ywa膰. Og贸lnie olewamy 偶e momentami w szkwa艂ach kopie mocne 7bft. Raz si臋 偶yje.

02.10.2009 Pi膮tek

Jedziemy z samego rana na La Palme. Strasznie mocno i nier贸wno wieje, na jeziorze jest tylko kilku wymiataczy na latawcach 5m. Rozk艂adam 7m pe艂na wiary w mo偶liwo艣ci mojego depowera. Startuj臋 i po p贸艂 minuty ju偶 wiem, 偶e nie tym razem. Przy l膮dowaniu musi mi pomaga膰 jaki艣 kole艣, bo kajt ma najwyra藕niej zamiar rozpla膰ka膰 mnie na najbli偶szym samochodzie. L膮duj臋 i podczas kiedy Kuba i Magda pr贸buj膮 co艣 pop艂yn膮膰 na najmniejszych 偶aglach, siedz臋 na brzegu i u偶alam si臋 nad faktem 偶e nie mam kajta 5m. Po d艂u偶szej chwili Magda i Kuba schodz膮 bo wiatr jeszcze przybiera na sile. Jezioro pustoszeje. Lokalne psy nie s膮 w stanie podej艣膰 prosto pod wiatr a 偶eby wpakowa膰 deski windsurfingowe na dach, musimy trzyma膰 je wszyscy w tr贸jk臋.
Po kilku godzinach jedziemy na Teleski, bo przy Tramontanie tam teoretycznie wieje s艂abiej ni偶 w La Palme. Magda i Kuba jako艣 p艂ywaj膮, ja wi臋kszo艣膰 dnia ogl膮dam z brzegu. Wieczorem rozk艂adam 7m i p艂ywam ‘na po偶egnanie’ o zachodzie s艂o艅ca.

03.10.2009 Sobota

Wyje偶d偶amy. Do jedzenia mamy tylko herbat臋, paczk臋 偶elek i chleb. W Lyonie pakujemy si臋 w korek, dwa razy zamykaj膮 nam autostrad臋, b艂膮dzimy. W ko艅cu doje偶d偶amy do jakiej艣 stacji w Polsce i idziemy w kim臋.

04.10.2009 Niedziela

Wr贸cili艣my. Ostatnie chwile oddechu przed rozpocz臋ciem nowego roku akademickiego na uczelni. Czas umy膰 kajty z soli, od艂o偶y膰 desk臋 na szaf臋 i zacz膮膰 planowa膰 nast臋pny wyjazd.
Mo偶e tym razem Egipt? 馃檪