Windsurfing Lake Garda
There are a couple of places where you can go windsurfing in Lake Garda. Going from east to west there are the Conca d’Oro beach, Circolo Surf Torbole beach, the Foce Sarca beach and the Pier Windsurf beach.
Conca d’Oro Beach
A nice family friendly beach where you have a lawn to assemble your kit, a bar and a parking place nearby. The beach is a pebble stone beach but they have a rubber mat there to stop your kit from getting damaged. If you sail far enough from the shore (50-70 metres) the wind is nice and stable as you will be sailing between the beach and the central part of the village.
Starting from this beach you have 3km of pure planing until you get to the Ponale.
Fabio, from waterwind.it, explains that the best wind of all is between the Conca d’Oro and Pier windsurf. You basically have to throw yourself into the water from the rocky coast next to the road.
Circolo Surf Torbole Beach
This place is Fabio’s favourite. Here you also have a nice grassy area to rig your equipment as well as a bar and restaurant for the after-session coffee/beer/lunch. Parking is available nearby so carrying your kit to this point is not too cumbersome. The same as at Conca d’Oro, there is a rubber mat to protect your kit when going into the water which the Circolo Surf Torbole have placed for everyone (when you are not using the beach to get in and out, make sure you put your kit on the racks provided and not on the beach so as not to disturb the other sailors).
If you manage to get over the small beach break you can have some nice rides up to Ponale from here as well.
Foce Sarca Beach
There are a couple of beaches between the Circolo Surf Torbole beach and the Foce Sarca beach but swimmers (from the camping areas) have priority here which is marked by buoys. At the end of the beach is the mouth of the river Sarca where you can find the Segana Surf Centre. Here you also have a grassy area for rigging and some places to get food and drinks as well as racks for the equipment.
If you go to the west end of the beach you have a beach for chilling of for getting started with windsurfing as it is sheltered.
Should you start from here you will have to sail towards the west due to the wind direction and the current of the Sarca river mouth. One thing you should watch out for is to turn around early enough so that you don’t get caught in the windless area close to the shore.
Prevalent wind direction and sources
In the mornings the most prevalent wind is from the north. They call it the “Peler”, which blows all year round due to the cold air from the mountains moving to the warm air on the lake. In the south of the lake, intermediate sailors will have a great place to practice due to the wind being around 15 knots and the water being flat.
The most common wind is the “Ora” which blows from the south from March to October. The pressure difference in cold air on the lake and the warm air in the mountains to the north is what makes this reliable wind build up around mid-day and last until the late afternoon. On a good day it can blow at up to 20 knots. Just make sure that you keep a distance to the shore so that the wind bouncing off the mountain doesn’t bounce back and eliminate the wind.
The water is generally flat near the shore where the wind blows off shore and the deeper you head onto the middle of the lake, the more choppy the water is going to get. On the onshore-wind locations you will have a little beach break which requires a little technique to overcome.
Rules and Regulations
Bear in mind that it is obligatory on the whole lake to wear a life vest. The police will fish you out of the water and fine you if you are sailing without one.
Surf Centers at Lake Garda
Circolo Surf Torbole
A private windsurf club which aside from offering lessons and storage facilities also organise various competitions and regattas. You can check out their website below.
They are located at the Foca Sarca beach. They offer rental (Fanatic boards and North Sails), lessons, kitesurfing, catamaran and dinghys as well as mountain biking rental and tours. Here is their website:
Shaka Surf Center
Located and the Conca d’Oro beach, they offer lessons, rental (JP boards and Naish sails). Here you can check out their website.
Vasco Renna Surf Center
These guys are located directly behind the Circolo Surf Torbole. Their rental quiver is made up of Fanatic boards and Gaastra sails. The same as the rest, they also give lessons. Here is their website.
The only surf centre (as far as I know) on the west shore of Lake Garda. Aside from windsurf rental (RRD boards and Simmer sails) and kitesurfing, they also offer accommodation which is quite practical considering that they are quite far from the town of Torbole. Here is their website for info and booking.
Shaka Surf Shop
Not to be confused with the Shaka Surf Centre, these guys are located in the centre of Torbole and offer windsurfing equipment as well as clothing. To check them out you can go here.
I can’t say much about this shop other than that it exists… Also, their website seems to only be in Italian. Anyways, here is their website.
Torbole, the town
In Torbole there are heaps of places for accommodation. Here is a list of hotels taken from trip advisor.
Restaurants, bars, cafés, etc.
As for places for eating out, here is another list, also from trip advisor.
Alternatives to windsurfing
Being such a touristic spot you have the advantage that you also have quite a few alternatives to windsurfing should your hands be full of windsurf blisters, your body tired, your family asking for some of your time or simply no wind. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Mountain biking
I personally have never been to Lake Garda but have heard great things about it. This spot guide is a condensed version of the full article by Fabio Muriano over at waterwind.it. Go check out the complete article here.
I want to make this article as complete and helpful as possible so I would be really grateful for any recommendations, suggestions and feedback with regards to any of the sections (spots/beaches, surf centers, shops, accommodation, restaurants, etc.) in the comments below.