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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sailing the Spring Winds on Padre Island

I know I'm coming out of my winter hibernation when I head down to Padre to sail Bird Island Basin.

Bird Island Basin, a mecca for both the beginner and the serious windsurfer, is only 230 miles south of Austin. What I love about the Bird is the warm water, strong winds, and chest-deep water that goes on forever. The flat water and lack of boats sure add to good days on the water. Check out this satellite map.

Last weekend, the water temperature was a perfect 72 degrees. The air temp was about the same. The wind was 15-20 mph on Saturday, puffing up to 15-25 mph on Sunday. That meant the 5.0 sail had me blasting across the laguna. Bird Island Basin is part of a body of water between Padre and the mainland known as Laguna Madre.

On Saturday, I met Brian (the Good One) and his Laura from Austin. They had done an amazing packing job in their Prius. They had 2 boards, sails, and all their gear inside the car. So if you say you can't get to Corpus because you don't want to strap stuff on top of the car, let them be your inspiration to play tetris with the inside of your car.

Laura and Brian were showing their chops with some freestyle moves. Laura was excited about pulling off some Helicopter Tacks and Duck Gybes.

Other tidbits about sailing down at the coast:
  • Bump and jump fans love to head into Corpus Christi Bay
  • Wave sailing seems to be the most popular from Port Aransas
  • Rental gear and lessons are available at Worldwinds right on the Bird
  • Tons more info from the local club, Corpus Christi Windsurfing Association
As a parting shot, my favorite route is to avoid the traffic and road rage of I-35. Instead I start island time all the way up in Austin by taking US-183 South to US-77 to FM 2678 to FM 136 to the Crosstown Expressway in Corpus to Hwy 358 to the island.


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