Silvaplana / Switzerland
I have been there several times in midsummer. This spot is a perfect place to combine Mountainbiking and Windsurfing. In the morning you can climb the hills with your bike, make a perfect downhill and if you arrive back at the lake around noon,you can jump on your board, grab your boom and enjoy perfect sailing conditions.
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From Munich over Austria, from Stuttgart to 'Bodensee' to Chur, over the 'Julierpass' to Silvaplana. Sizes of the lakes: Lake Sils 5000 meter long, up to 1500 meter large; Lake Silvaplana 3000 meter long, 1500 meter large; windsurfing is prohibited on the Lake Champfer because of protection of nature; Lake St. Moritz 1500 meter long, 500 meter large.
In the midsummer, this place has strong winds like Tarifa, River Gorge or the lake Garda. The difference in temperature between the flat and warm Northern Italy, and the cold nights in the Engadin mountains is the source for the thermal Maloja wind which gets additionally strengthed by the narrow valley. It starts at noon with about 8 knots( 3 bft.) up to 21 knots(5 bft.) and comes from the south-west through the valley. Therefore the low water temperatures - 15 degree Celsius is the maximum. Without a long wet-suit you are underdressed even in August which is the best wind month besides September.
Idyllic campground at the upper side of the Lake of Sils. Flat water and weaker Maloja wind are the features of this beginner and longboard spot. The few available parking places keep the daily tourists off this place. Police tip the wrong parked cars.
Just on the road from Maloja to Silvaplana. A stony path leads down to the lake, the wind is a little bit better than on the other side by the campground.
Every year, this is the regatta spot for the Engadin Surf Marathon, it offers lawn for rigging the sails and a comfortable entrance, however, at the same time it's in lee. Recommended only for longboarders.
Gourmet Tip: after surfing go to the fish restaurant Murtaol.
At the east end side of the lake in Sils are two bays with parking places. The descend over the steep bank is quite arduous. Slalom pilots, however, will find the best wind conditions and take off place here for flat water jibes.
The brothers Mechsner lead the comfortable and ideal surf center at the Lake of Silvaplana, which was built at the west bank of the lake near Sils. The small training bay is ideal for beginners and ascenders. Shortboard pilots have to cross against the wind to get back, but they will find absolutely flat water speed conditions. An easy and damage preserving entry.
Here is the crowd of regatta cracks and freaks to speed on the strip right in front of the funboard center. Arnaud Missiaen, once successfully in the regatta scene, leads the school, Conrad Curdin the surf center.
Only beginners still do windsurfing on the Lake St. Moritz at the surf school. Advantage: the wind is definitely weaker here, moreover, the beginners don't disturb any cracks here.
Each year about 500 long distance freaks come to attend the "Engadin Surf Marathon" which was first held in 1978. The premiere was won by a 15 years old boy from Hawaii. Robby Naish started his victorious career on his first Europe-Tour with the victory in the Engadin Surf Marathon. For the 20th Marathon, it will be in 1997, ex-champion Naish wants to come to the Engadin again. "Amazing country and good food" says Robby, "my wife Katie could like this too". "I have to go there every year" completes enthusiasticly regatta freak M. Auer from Augsburg (Germany), and his friend Aloisius agrees with him on this: "Since 1985 I travel to the Engadin in August. Always sunny and windy, just perfect".
Even the world-cup cracks realized it now. Just after the Marathon the pros will have a course race for the first time on the Lake Silvaplana, the Jet-Set Cup. A chance for Robby Naish to travel to Switzerland earlier than expected.
"Big sails may be reasonable there" supposes Bjoern Dunkerbeck. Dunki is right, because the air in this high altitude is thinner and demands a big sail surface. Even slalom freaks rigg 7m sails on their carbon masts. "There have been days you were too slow unrigging the big sails" jokes Andri Niggli, the Nitro-Cup organizer and hotel owner. "If south-west wind supports the Maloja wind you'll have enough at all with a 5.5 sail." Then, grand master Andri races with the sinker until the fin glows. Consequently, in the evening the speed records are celebrated in the comfortable bar of the Susom Surlei hotel.
Surf-Center Sils, CH-7514 Sils Maria, phone ++41 (0)
82/4 58 77
Courses: beginner 180.-, advanced 200.-; Rental: funboards 29.-/h
restaurant, restrooms, showers (1.-), children- and volleyball playgrounds, mountainbike rental, free parking.
Windsurfing Silvaplana, Funboard Center
CH-7514 Silvaplana, phone ++41 (0) 82/ 4 92 29 or 3 44 49
Courses: beginner 230.-, advanced 360.-; Rental: funboards 25.-/h
beginner courses on Lake St. Moritz and Lake Silvaplana, restaurant, surfshop 'Windsurfing Silvaplana', restrooms, changing room, video room, board and sail repair, mountainbike rental, pay-parking (1.-/h; 5.-/half day; 9.50/day).
In the Engadin the surfers can easily plan their day. Since the wind starts only from noon, the morning can be used for alternative sports. The possibilities are huge: mountainbiking, paragliding, gliding, hiking, skiing, tennis ... Sluggish people can take the ropeway to the Piz Corvatsch (3451m altitude) and the Piz Nair (3057m), or they can pass by train in an open car the beautiful Bernina Pass down to Tirano in Italy, passing also the glacer lake Lago Bianco where it is also very windy, but, the water temperature is just above the freezing mark.
The campground in Maloja has a perfect location (about 110
places for 300 people, reservations recommanded for July/August). Max Pittin who maintains
this campground is very open to the surfers. Attention: use of the driveway to the
campground is only allowed for campground guests and residents, the police checks often
and distributes tickets (50.-) for wild parking.
Phone: ++41 (0) 82/ 4 31 81
Prices: adults 5.-/day, tent 5.-/day
The campground Silvaplana connects seamlessly to the Surf
Center, the entrance however, although well signed, leads complicated through the village.
However, the best places entice with a direct access to the lake. Furthermore, the
campground offers all amenities with international standard.
Phone: ++41 (0) 82/ 4 84 92
Prices: adults 7.-/day, tent 3.-/day, caravan 6.- to 8.- /day
Not well suited for surfers is the campground Olympiaschanze in St. Moritz. It's located at the entrance to St. Moritz coming from Silvaplana but, it has no access to a lake. Phone: ++41 (0) 82/ 3 40 90
Hotels or apartments are highly available. Informations can
be obtained from the local tourist information offices.
Maloja: phone ++41 (0) 82/ 4 31 88, fax ++41 (0) 82/ 4 36 37
Sils: phone ++41 (0) 82/ 4 52 37
Silvaplana: phone ++41 (0) 82/ 4 81 51
St. Moritz: phone ++41 (0) 82/ 3 31 47