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South Padre Island question

 
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rickp



Joined: 07 Aug 2000
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: South Padre Island question Reply with quote

First time windsurfing trip there in late April.
Are we likely to need weed fins for Laguna Madre?
Thanks, rickp
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markpaine



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 90
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes.

Aside from what few freestylers are there, almost everyone else uses a weed fin.

-Mark
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aaron1234



Joined: 22 Jun 1998
Posts: 58
Location: Marin

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are the winds like that time of year? Are there any good websites for checking out windsurfing vacations in the area?
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pshaw



Joined: 24 Apr 1996
Posts: 74
Location: Mill Valley

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:26 pm    Post subject: South Padre Island sailing in April Reply with quote

First of all, it is often hot and humid. If you are planning on camping out, think again. When I was there (several years ago) in April, it was impossible to camp in an RV without air conditioning. The wind was light, although I was told that sometimes it can be very windy if a storm is coming through. I bought a weed fin but found it so hard to sail with that I went back to a wave fin and just jumped off (it is shallow) to periodically clear the fin. Don't take a pointer fin, however. I would be happy to sell you my weed fin (nominal price). If you go around Easter, it will be crowded with wealthy Mexicans coming up from Monterey and Easter break college kids.

Here are some links that my be helpful:
http://www.windsurfinc.com/
http://www.spionline.com/wthr.html
http://weather.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/fmtbltn.pl?file=forecasts/marine/coastal/gm/gmz130.txt
http://www.spiwindsurfing.com/
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markpaine



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 90
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aaron1234 wrote:
What are the winds like that time of year? Are there any good websites for checking out windsurfing vacations in the area?


My experience is limited to November, but I'm told by a friend who spends a couple weeks at SPI every year in late April and mid-late November that the conditions don't differ too terribly much between spring and fall, the two best times of year.

My observations:

In November, lodging is ridiculously cheap and abundant. And I mean ridiculously. $29.95 rooms. It seems that there was quite a building boom at some point on SPI anticipating a huge rush of visitors that might be there for spring break or summertime, but certainly not in November. The main strip of the island is hideous to look at, but nevertheless has a certain charm after you get over the gawdawful behemoth stores all selling $3 boogie boards.

When the wind comes in from the south, which was frequent for me, it's almost Caribbean-like. That can be good and bad. If you're efficient and can pump to plane a 5.8 in 14 knots, or you like doing light-wind work, you'll feel almost like you're in Bonaire (where I lived for 2 years), without the crystal-clear water and sandy bottom. It's warm when the wind comes in from the south--board short weather.

Speaking of the bottom, I don't wear booties and didn't wear them at SPI. But all the folks who seem to drive down every year from Colorado and Kansas and over from Southern California seemed to be astonished by that. I don't really know what the big deal was but they all seemed to be concerned about cutting their feet on the shellfish.

When the wind turns around and blows in from the north it whales. 30 legitimate, average knots or more. I wore a shortie and was fine on those days, but could've been comfortable in a 4/3. Most people were in full neoprene.

The water is the flattest water I've ever sailed anywhere. On the south days, it's the easiest sailing you'll ever experience, bar none, at least in the Laguna Madre. The gulf side is another story altogether. When I was there it was pretty sloppy.

Jibber and the folks who run the SPI Windsurfing Association do a terrific job at the North Flats. It's well worth spending a few bucks (maybe $25 or so) to get a pass to park and sail the flats. You'll read that SPI has become kite central. Doesn't matter. Everyone coexists peacefully, and if it really matters to you (it doesn't to me), the kiters and windsurfers are segregated on the Laguna Madre anyway.

I'm a pretty crappy surfer, but I took a couple surfboards along anyway. There's a jetty all the way at the south end of the island that purportedly gets good surf, but not when I was there.

-Mark
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markpaine



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 90
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I neglected to say that even though I was underwhelmed by the helter-skelter urban development at SPI, I found the sand dunes and grass in the undeveloped areas to be astonishingly beautiful.

-Mark
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rickp



Joined: 07 Aug 2000
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:30 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks gang - will get a weed fin before I go then.
My buddy guarantees wind - surely the kiss of death Smile
Appreciate the quick replies. Cheers, rickp
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bobgatpdx1



Joined: 13 Oct 2002
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

markpaine's description is right on. I've been going there in April and Nov the last three years. A few additional comments:

- Booties are a really good idea. My friend got a nasty cut on his foot from an oyster shell. The water is shallow, but the bottom is on the mucky side.

- April/May are good months for wind, but in the spring they don't get the "northers" that they get in Oct/Nov. Winds in April/May are usually from the south - it has always been warm when I've been there in April. I've had more light wind days in the spring than in the fall.

- Folks generally use weed fins - mostly because it can be really shallow when the tide is out.
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aaron1234



Joined: 22 Jun 1998
Posts: 58
Location: Marin

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great info on SPI.
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dennis_c



Joined: 05 May 1998
Posts: 640
Location: Rio

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Aaron,

How about checking in on the Rio Viento webcam thread?
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