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There are few places in the world that are as perfect for windsurfing as Malta. Everything about it is perfect for this activity – in fact the only problem you might encounter is that the weather’s so good in the summer you might not have enough wind!
Lack of breeze can be viewed as a fairly serious problem when you want to do a wind-based sport, so you might be thinking that it totally negates our opening gambit. But, that’s when Malta really comes into its own because if there’s no wind on one side of the island then you can leap in the car and go to the other side and see what the conditions are like there.
Admittedly, it’s rare that you’ll find howling winds on either side during the summer months, but there are certain times of year – November to March (or winter as it's also called) – when you’ll encounter conditions that are challenging enough for even the most advanced board sailors.
Those calmer summer conditions, however, are absolutely bang-on perfect for learning and for many reasons, which are these. Number one, it’s hot and windsurf boards are wobbly. You will fall off … a lot … as you attempt to get your sea-legs, so it’s far preferable to be falling in the sea repeatedly if the sun is blazing and the temperature is in the mid 30s centigrade.
Secondly, that Maltese sea you’re falling in is warm too - relatively speaking. It’s not so cold as to require you to wear a wetsuit, which would make lessons more expensive, and it’s so darn hot out of the sea that falling in to cool off on a regular basis is actually quite pleasant.
Thirdly, the winds tend to be quite light, which is a blessing when you’re struggling to even stand up on your board let alone get it to carve through the water with elegance. As a learner in high winds you can and will get blown flat and end up with aface full of sail and sea as soon as you try and pull in the sail to start moving. The lack of wind also means you don’t get big waves, which also helps you to get upright and stay that way.
In the winter months, the water is still warm and the average temperature through the day tends to be around 15C, which is plenty warm enough to handle if you don a wetsuit. From November to March the island experiences (not very) cold fronts whipping across the Mediterranean from NW to SE, typically producing winds of around force five or six. However, on breezy days, force seven or eight gales are quite common.
In the spring, the winds shift around and the prevailing conditions are easterly breezes of force five to six. Again, these are excellent conditions for a competent windsurfer.
There’s a long-established rental business on Malta catering for all levels of windsurfers, so there is no need to bring your own equipment. In the winter, a wetsuit of at least 4mm is recommended so bring one if you’d rather wear your own. A pair of shorts or a swimming costume is enough in the warmer months, although you might want to wear a T-shirt to avoid shoulder sunburn in high summer.
You’ll find dozens of sailing and windsurf school offering lessons for people of all levels from beginners to experts who might want to learn some new tricks. For novices, you’ll get a big board that floats when you stand on it to make your life easier. Experts’ boards are much smaller for speed and will not hold you up unless you’re moving.
It’s relatively cheap to have a go at windsurfing on Malta. For a rough guide on price, expect to pay something in the region of €35 for a 60-minute taster session accompanied by a qualified instructor.
Address: 51 G. Balzano Street, Rabat
Phone: +356 7955 2222
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