Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, Texas
The mere mention of the (sometimes) great state of Texas is enough to conjure up any number of mental images: ten-gallon cowboy hats, oil rigs, the esteemed Bush family… And it’s true. You will see all those things if you go to Texas. (OK, you might not actually see a member of the Bush family, but I can damn sure guarantee you’ll meet someone who voted for ‘em!) But all of this is of little concern to you. You’re there for wind, and don’t worry, like many things in Texas, there’s plenty of it –when the rest of the country is shovelling snow out of the driveway, you’ll be shovelling sand onto your sail to keep it from blowing away.
Corpus Christi, a coastal city about a three to four hour drive from the oil megalopolis of Houston, is the midwest’s wintertime wind spot, with scores of wind junkies making the long drive down for plenty of flat water fun. Just south of that is South Padre Island – infamous for its wild MTV-style parties during Spring Break. Just out of (or still in) Uni and want to score incredible sailing while consuming more liquor than the human liver was meant to process? Head on down during pretty much any week in March, and have it – and let us know whether or not it’s possible to puke while gybing!
Bird Island Basin
Party-central, it ain’t – but the windsurfing’s awesome. This flat water paradise – sometimes referred to as “hero-gybe heaven” – is about thirty minutes outside of Corpus Christi proper. There’s camping right on the beach (we suggest getting an RV) and prevailing southeasterly winds blow side-offshore. Rent rigged kit right on the beach from World Winds windsurfing (www.worldwinds.net), and go do lay-down gybes and carving 360’s until your arms can’t move.
South Padre Island
Whilst a bit more a kite hotspot these days, there’s still plenty of wind, and plenty of partying. We recommend paying the $15 to join the SPI Windsurfing Association (spiwindsurfing.com) so you can launch at the North Flats – an exclusive beach privately leased just for windsports.
Corpus Christi Bay
Right in town on Corpus Christi Bay, Formula and slalom sailors train with regularity(is there a reason why formula starts with a cap and slalom does not?). Home to years of high-end windsurf racing, Corpus Christi Bay still offers incredible slalom conditions on a regular basis – frequent enough that PWA slalom pro Enes Yilmazer decided that’s where he wanted to go to college. We’d recommended (recommend) Oleander Point at Cole Park – and a beer at the Executive Surf Club when you’re done.