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  • Writer's pictureThe Launch Pad

Teaching windsurfing in France

My nephews and niece spied the French windsurf and winging magazines I bought here on our trip to the Cote D’Azure. At breakfast they wanted to see videos and photos of the Launch Pad Windsurfing Academy. I was secretly hoping that the nearby Base Nautique would be able to hook us up with some gear and a lesson to help build their enthusiasm for an eventual visit to the Launch Pad in Canada.

After lunch overlooking the clear blue water of the Mediterranean I went to talk to the staff. Yes, it was possible to rent gear for kids, but a lesson from their instructor might not work. I asked where the sailing area is and they pointed to a wonderful bay 150 metres away where people were swimming.

I went and told the kids it was windsurf time. They were super excited and we headed to the Base and got wetsuits and the beginner boards. They had a 2.5m sail and also one of the inflatable sails I’ve seen but never taught with. I took a 5.0 so I would be able to chase kids if they got going. The 3 boards were towed upwind and over to the beach by the nice dock hand in their zodiac.

I started the lesson with safety tips and all the other basics. Ellie was the first to go on the 2.5. Alberto was next and did well with the inflatable sail. I took Charlie the youngest on my board as I chased them around adding tips about tacking and staying upwind.

It was great that in the little bay going downwind meant landing at the beach and walking back upwind. Jen was a big help with that part. Charlie got a chance at the end to try the inflatable sail and did well with that too. At that point Jen was on the 5.0 having fun with  Alberto.

The GPS trail above shows the little sheltered harbour for watersports instruction. After an hour we returned the gear and there were smiles all around. The centre is part of the UCPA sports federation. It has some amazing gear all available to rent from March 1 to November 30th at this new location so close to the old part of town, restaurants and pedestrian area.

French crepes tasted extra good as we headed back home. My first time teaching windsurfing in France was a big success. Even a few days after also doing paddle boarding and a hobie cat sailing session the kids are asking "if I lean the sail this way will I do a jibe?". What fun to have inspired some young future windsurfers.

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