Los Barriles Road Trip & Demo – February 18, 2009
Windsurfing’s early days in southern Baja were centered in Los Barriles. Beginning in the mid 80’s windsurfers discovered that southern Baja was a warm and windy place in the winter months. It didn’t take long for sailors from southern California to British Columbia to discover that you could drive to great windsurfing rather than fly to Maui or the Caribbean. And a huge plus was that once you crossed the border, you could camp on the beach and sail from your front yard.
Ezzy Demos Baja Style
Today you’ll find sailors and kiters enjoying the sun and north winds of winter in Los Barriles, but La Ventana is where the majority of wind enthusiasts spend the winter. The area just north of town is called North Beach with plenty of room for both kiters and windsurfers to play in the swells of the Sea of Cortez. Los Barriles’s location on the East Cape of Baja provides it with consistent rolling swells generated by several hundred miles of open sea to the north. Arguably La Ventana has more consistent thermal winds, but the swells are seldom as good as Los Barriles. Another plus with Los Barriles is much smaller numbers of sailors and kiters, which is not the case in La Ventana as it has grown in popularity. During the recent KiteFest in La Ventana there were nearly 200 kites and sails on the water during peak windy periods.
Kay Tames the Panther
We were welcomed by a friendly group of Los Barriles sailors as we set up our demos at the south end of the beach near the campground. We quickly felt at home with several sailors from Hood River and Vancouver Canada, stopping by to check the new Ezzy sails. A little high overcast was holding the wind down, but most sailors were making it work on 5.2 to 5.5. Kay was eager to give the 5.2 Panther a workout, and compare it with her non-Ezzy sails. She lives in Los Barriles, but spends July and August sailing in the Gorge so she’s a serious windsurfer for most of the year. After a long session she returned to the beach and was eager to share her impression…“this sail is so fun; it’s just awesome! I usually don’t enjoy sailing anything over a 4.7, but the Panther feels so light compared anything I’ve sailed in this size range. It would definitely increase the fun factor for me in lighter winds. What I really noticed was how easily the sail powered up after a jibe…just sheet in and go.”
A Happy Test Sailor; Kay
Jeff from Vancouver also took out the Panther to compare it to his trustworthy vintage 1996 Ezzy 5.4. When I saw him come in on his 5.4, I thought it would be fun to get his impression of the Panther. His ’96 was in great shape which reflects the durability of Ezzy sails. It was late afternoon and the wind began to back off so his session didn’t last as long as I had hoped. He’s a good sailor so he made it work as long as he could. “I loved the sail…it definitely is lighter and feels faster than my 5.4. It feels different, and after more time on the water I’m sure it would get it dialed, but unfortunately the wind is backing down.” Maybe David will add his thoughts, but I would expect that there are major refinements in draft location, seam shape, aspect ratio, and materials from ’96 to 2009.
Jim Tests the Latest Generation Ezzy
It was a great road trip to a place I hadn’t sailed since 1991, and with the new paved road from Los Planes to San Antonio, Los Barriles is just an hour from La Ventana. If you are coming to La Ventana stop by the south end of the RV Park for a Panther test ride. Time to head to the beach for another day of full on 4.0 and big swells here in La Ventana; February has been WINDY, good sailing, Gary & Nancy