AIR TIME in Pissouri!
Columbia Water Sports operate in an enclosed bay (see below), offering flat water and chop to play with but that doesn't mean you can't have fun - take some air off the ramps.
The south coast of Cyprus has it all.... if you know where to look.
Nearest airport: Paphos International Airport. Paphos town and harbour are nice, bustling tourist centres but the main windsurfing/kite surfing centres are 15-25 kms along the coast to the east so we'd recommend windsurfers-kite surfers staying either in Pissouri or Limassol by the old port.
Using the map, click on the minus button a couple of times to show you the top wind and kite surfing spots, running from west to east:
August is usually one of the windiest months in Pissouri because of the thermal winds coupled with high temperatures causing a blasting wind from the cliffs to the right of Pissouri Bay. You can check out the wind stats by clicking HERE but the nearest stats are for Paramali and that's some way down the coast.
Pissouri Bay - half way between Limassol and Paphos, this is a beautiful location with a sheltered bay, perfect for family holidays, improvers and experts who can jump the ramps out of the bay. Tip: Paphos is 15kms away, and it's easier to stay in Pissouri.
The windsurfing is on your doorstep with a five-star hotel, villas and apartments to rent. See the info/accommodation tab for suggestions and ways to explore the two Pissouris, the bay and the wonderful, traditional village on the hill, where you will find a warm welcome at the many tavernas surrounding a square with banks, pubs and a church. Kite surfing is not ideal in Pissouri apart from the eastern corner of the bay because of the obstacles on the beach - sun umbrellas and beach beds - and in the water, with jet skis and power boats.
Kourion Wave Beach
About 10kms to the east of Pissouri. You will need a car to get there. Spectacular wave sailing location below a Roman villa and ampthitheatre (the Romans knew the best windsurfing places!), gets cross onshore winds that, combined with shallow water, create metre-high waves most of the year. Kourion is near Limassol, a great town to explore with little lanes near the old port and new marina. Limassol has loads of hotels. It's more of a city, but it is very quaint by the old port, with cheaper hotels, loads of traditional Cyprus character, bars, clubs, and tavernas. There are also big resort hotels to the east of Limassol with all the usual trappings, including pools and small beaches, but they are further from the windsurfing. Our tip: if you are here for the windsurfing, book a budget hotel near the old port. It may be basic but you'll have a shorter ride to the windsurfing, and plenty of night life. Note: there are no hotels on Kourion beach though there are three high grade tavernas for meals and drinks and plenty of beach beds. The main sailing location is off to the east side, well away from the swimming area which is buoyed off. There is nowhere to rent kit on Kourion beach so you will have to ship your own kit out from the UK and rent a car. Warning - rental cars don't usually come with a roof rack.
Ladies Mile is a great freeride location with uba flat water and an unbelievably long sandy beach stretching from Limassol harbour along the east side of the peninsular to RAF Akrotiri - the landscape is so bare with salt flats and a salt lake, at first glance it looks like a desert. This location is completely undiscovered and one of the great secrets of Cyprus windsurfing (keep it to yourself). It has high winds which whip off an amazing salt flats but be warned - the wind is dead offshore!
You can rent boards at "Windymile" station by the Oceana taverna in the middle of Ladies Mile, a fantastic location for flat water blasting, Dahab-style, in shallow water. See below for more details!
Note: There are no hotels on Ladies Mile, just tavernas where you can enjoy Cyprus food and drink and relax on beach beds by the ultra-flat and shallow water. Accommodation: our tip is just the same for going to Ancient Kourion wave beach, book a hotel near the old port in Limassol and rent a car to drive to Ladies Mile Each day. See more details below.
Huge windy bay near Larnaca international airport. There are several windsurfing stations where you can rent kit at Larnaca via a Google search and plenty of hotels nearby.
Most of the windsurfing centres are good for kite surfing except for Pissouri Bay where kite surfing is restricted to the eastern corner of the bay because of the sun beds on the rest of the beach.
Main summer season is from Easter to November. You will need a shorty wet suit or neoprene rash vest in the Spring to early summer; after June you will be ok with a rash vest. Bring your own harness. The sea temperature from May onwards is over 20C. Check out the wind stats above - there are usually higher winds in May caused by Spring storms, and then thermal winds caused by higher temperatures through the summer, making August one of the windiest months. The wind is generally westerly, blowing from Paphos to Limassol and Larnaca, but the direction is reversed in winter. It gets really spectacular in winter months, when it's still warm enough to sail in a wet suit.
Now take The Tour:
Use the inter-active Google map to explore the south coast with us...we are going on tour from west to east (left to right), starting at Pissouri Bay.
Pissouri Bay is one of the best places on the stretch of south coast to windsurf.
It's usually very windy especially in the afternoons.
Columbia Water Sports is based on the beach at the fabulous Columbia Beach Resort Hotel over to the right. The winds blow right to left in the picture. It's usually light winds in the morning, but around 3 pm the thermal wind kicks in. So it's good for beginners and improvers in the morning, and great for experts late in the day when HERO the thermal wind blows!
It's important to note that it's not big like Dahab or Vassiliki. It's small but it has everything you'll need. Bring a harness and a rash vest. It's also not a wave beach. There are big sets out of the bay when the the wind blows.
The south coast from Pissouri to Limassol is amazingly unspoiled as most of the beaches are in a British sovereign base area and largely undeveloped so you go at your own risk!
Let's continue our journey east....next we come to
Avdimou Beach - it's in the next big bay along the coast from Pissouri and is popular with kite boarders too. There's the Kyrenia taverna on the beach too. You can windsurf here but there's no windsurfing centre. Bring your own kit if you want to sail here.
Avdimou in the distance. This view is from Melanda Beach, where there is the brilliant Melanda fish taverna and good swimming sheltered from wind by a small headland. The sailing area at Avdimou is over on the right, but there's no rescue boat! And look out for a small reef.
Paramali Beach is a kite surfing haven. It's along the coast from Avdimou. It's completely wild with nothing on the beach. You have to go on a track through the fields. It's usually got clean wind, and attracts kite surfers but be warned - there's no safety back up.
Pirate hut on Paramali...even that's gone now
Kourion - or Curium - wave beach in the elbow of the Akrotiri peninsula. Constant waves about 1m high especially when there's a west wind or southerly wind blowing along the shoreline. Very shallow and usually warm water. You have to sail and kitesurf from the eastern end of the beach, away from the 3 excellent tavernas. Check out the amazing Roman ampthitheatre while you are there.
Ladies Mile is a location that can challenge the world....at least we think so. Ideal for flat water blasting, and perfecting your helicopter tacks... occasionally with real helicopters overhead from RAF Akrotiri!!! The wind whips across the salt flats and goes flying out across the bay, giving you flat water and high winds. But be careful - it's straight offshore.
You can blast along parallel to three miles of sandy beach from near the port of Limassol to RAF Akrotiri (out of bounds).
Amazing landscape. The salt lake is also good for land buggies and power kiting on the salt flats, not to mention bird watching: flocks of flamingoes wade in the water in the Spring and Autumn. It's wild but there are several tavernas offering fresh kebabs.
Oceana Beach Taverna (about half-way along Ladies Mile) now boasts the Windymile windsurfing centre. Here you can rent kit. Give George or Marios a ring on +357 99318856 or +357 9966172 or check out their facebook page here
As a bonus in the Spring you may catch the Red Arrows practising their barrel roles from the nearby RAF Akrotiri or Chinooks flying overhead. But be careful - you are in a British sovereign base area and the police don't like you sailing through the swimming areas which are buoyed off. Anywhere else in the world, this would be full of sails. Perfect place to try out your carve gybes in the shallows.
Irene rigging rental kit at Windymile Club on Ladies Mile
Three guys heading towards RAF Akrotiri like Tornados
Faros Beach waves near Larnaca airport, many Kms away from Limassol along the east coast.
You'll need your own kit if you want to do this!
Pissouri's Columbia Water Sports was among the first to get serious about windsurfing in Cyprus, and it remains one of the best partly thanks to its location.
Valentino carving by Pissouri beach.
SAFETY FIRST - for most of the summer, there are red floats in Pissouri bay to mark the swimmers' only area. That's a no go area for all craft, including windsurfers.
WINDSURFING SEASON in Cyprus runs from April (Easter) to early Nov. Cyprus is one of the most southerly parts of the EU and one of the sunniest.
WIND - The windiest months are usually April, August and September when there's more than a 40 per cent chance of getting winds of Force 4 or more. But it's more complicated than that - if you look on the weekly forecast, you will see that the wind tends to increase in the afternoon. That is because thermals kick in around the Bay in the afternoons and usually blow at 3 pm to around 5.30 pm. Click on this link for annual wind stats measured from our nearest weather station, nearby Akrotiri. link
SHOULD I BRING A WET SUIT? In April you might need a shortie wet-suit but we do have some to use inclusive of our rental prices. By June it's warm enough just to sail in a rash vest and shorts. Our tip - bring your own rash vest to keep out the UV! The water temperature is usually over 23C in the summer.
Carving out of the bay, in the big blue and only a rash vest...
And look out for Green and Loggerhead Turtles in the Bay!
Turtle nesting site Pissouri Bay. They pop up in the bay all the time - and you may be lucky enough to see them hatching. More info from turtlewatch if you click on this link
FANCY A BREAK FROM WINDSURFING? TRY THIS
The hobie cat - not the tourist boat! Or we've got this:
or you could try this....
Kite surfing courses - contact: Christophe on (00357) 99604129 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his zone at www.cyprus-wind.com or hit this link
Pissouri Bay Divers offer try-dives in the bay and deep dives on the Zenobia wreck or elsewhere around Cyprus's coast. Phone: 00357 96530761 or website www.pissouribaydivers.com. You will find them in the row of shops around the corner from Artemis restaurant.
OTHER PLACES to rent windsurf boards and rigs:
Limassol - Crest Water Sports offer windsurfing at the St Raphael Hotel, east Limassol by the Raphael Marina. St. Raphael Marina - Main Center - Limassol - Cyprus Tel: 00 357 25 635101 - Mob: 00 357 99 302077
Shops: There are excellent water sports shops in Limassol - Makwind in the city centre http://makwind-cyprus.com/
and Force 8 near the port. With the pound strong against the euro, you might buy at bargain prices!
The Troodos Mountains are an hour's drive away. They are a biker's paradise. There are plenty of places you can rent mountain bikes from. Click on this link.