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St Martins, windsurf at Fanatic or vela??

 
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Shredulato



Joined: 04 Jan 2016
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject: St Martins, windsurf at Fanatic or vela?? Reply with quote

going in a few weeks with a few friends. I have been windsurfing for 30 years and my friend is pretty entry level , can plane, beach start but not water start. SO which rental spot has the better gear? which is better to sail out of? what are the conditions like, where are the best waves? opinions and all other related info very welcome thank you!! Very Happy
Jeff aka Shredulato , Great White North, Canada
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rigitrite



Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 484
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vela is located in Orient bay, which is very beautiful, but can have alot of activity (kiters, parasailers, sailboats, power boats), and it will have some swell and a small shore break. I think Fanatic is located in Gallion, which is also beautiful, but completely flat (protected from the waves). I was not particularly impressed with the quality of gear at either place. St. Martin is also not the most windy place, but good for beginners.
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lturkevich



Joined: 11 May 2000
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:58 pm    Post subject: Windy Reef at Galion Bay Reply with quote

Just got back from a family vacation at St. Martin and was able to get off a nice afternoon session at Windy Reef at Galion Bay.
http://www.windyreef.com/windsurfing/

The gear was 2015 Fanatic Gecko 146 (w/ 46cm freeride fin) in good shape (with nose protector) and RRD 6.0 sail, for some cruising and freestyle work. Wind was around 10-12kts.

The winds vary based on the weather systems passing through: I bailed a few days earlier when everyone was on a 85L board or less (too small a board for my ability).

Nice place, it seems during the high season the inventory would be picked up pretty quick if you don't make reservations. (We stayed in Grand Case, around a 10 minute drive via rental car)
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jfeehan



Joined: 27 Jul 1998
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i might be in st martin next month

can anyone who has been to either rental location recently provide any new comments about the gear or anything else?
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adamel111



Joined: 15 Jun 2016
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:20 pm    Post subject: St. Martin experience Reply with quote

I am starting to plan a trip with my wife (10 yr anniversary) but on short notice. I'm looking at early December. The destinations are St. Martin, Bonaire, or maybe Trinidad/Tobago or St. Lucia (cause I just found out these last places have windsurf rentals).

What can I expect at St. Martin? I am an advanced sailor (although not much experience in waves). I don't need nuclear winds but it would be nice to know the trade winds are at least 15 knots/20mph.

This isn't a windsurfing vacation, but it woudl be good to be able to go for a few hours every day or like at least 4 or 5 out of 7 days.

Anybody have an experience since the hurricane last year?

Bonaire is probably my second choice - sounds like it is definitely the best "windsurfing" choice. But I figure that is in the realm of posiiblity when my kids get older.
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capetonian



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 1096
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't been to St Martin, but I've been to Guadeloupe since the hurricane, and they were completely back to normal. The island is stunningly beautiful, and very different scenery on the east and west sides. Minimal English spoken on the island but I saw 2 windsurfing rental places, one at St Anne (http://www.windsurfguadeloupe.net/) and the other at St Francois. St Francois was freeride gear only, while St Anne had wave and freeride gear.
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capetonian



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 1096
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.windsurf.co.uk/wave-freeride-windsurfing-guadeloupe-islands/
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capetonian



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 1096
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.windsurf.co.uk/wave-freeride-windsurfing-guadeloupe-islands/
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jfeehan



Joined: 27 Jul 1998
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished a sailboat delivery from La Grande Motte, France to St. Martin, and while in St. Martin, I went and checked out the windsurfing at Orient Beach, and Le Galion.

The Vela center on orient beach is gone.., and there is basically no windsurfing equipment for rent on that beach.

The Windy Reef center at Le Galion is operating, but is somewhat reduced in size because they lost a lot of gear in the hurricane. They have about 15 Fanatic boards, across a range of sizes from big beginner boards to small wave boards. There were maybe a dozen sails rigged, with a few more unrigged. The gear is probably a few years old, but in good enough condition.

Le Galion is a really beautiful bay, with no development on its shores - it is a nature reserve. It is certainly the prettiest spot I have seen on St. Martin. There is mostly flat water in the bay, and some waves on the reef at the ocean side of the bay. There is a sandy beach downwind, so it is totally safe for beginners. Kiting is not permitted on the bay - but people do it anyway. The launch at the center is shallow enough that it would be great for learning beach starts and water starts. The very nice French woman who was running the center was giving beginner lessons, and it's hard to imagine a better place for it. On the weekend, there was something of a windsurf scene there, with a bunch of local sailors showing up with their gear.

I sailed one day in ~6.0-6.5 conditions. It would have been great, except that the bay had enough sargassum weed, that it was imperative to have a weed fin. Unfortunately, the center doesn't have any - apparently they did have them but they were lost in the hurricane. The weeds come and go.., so I was just a bit unlucky. Supposedly they are going to get some more weed fins.

St Martin is not one of my favorite places in the caribbean - much of the development is pretty unattractive - but the French side is better than the Dutch side. The whole Island is still recovering from the hurricane, and parts of it are still a total wreck.., making the overall appearance of the place that much worse.

I wouldn't plan a trip there for windsurfing, but I do pass through pretty regularly on the way to other places, and would definitely consider staying a day or two if it looked like Le Galion was going to have enough wind to sail. I would check about the sargassum situation before committing. Unfortunately, Sargassum is an increasing problem all over the Caribbean.
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