Windsurfing Holidays in Belize
Windsurfing Lessons on our Private Island
Belize’s greatest attraction to board sailors is that nobody sails here! Belize enjoys ideal conditions for wind sports. We have steady winds, warm water, and a variety of accesses to the sea. Eric Sanford, writing in Windsurf magazine remarked that it reminds him of Baja, Mexico in the early 1980’s.
Windsurfing is Part of the Package
Windsurfing at our island is not available without purchasing one of our adventure vacation packages. Our island is located far out to sea, which is one of the reasons it is such a fabulous place; we experience none of the crowding found in other parts of Belize. There is no way to visit our island only for the day, a 5-night package (3 nights on the island) is our minimum as our private boat charter only goes to and from the island two days a week. Packages include hotels and meals in Belize City before and after the trip, transport to and from the island, accommodations and meals on the island, soda and beer on the island, and windsurf and other sports gear and instruction. We specialize in Belize adventure vacations; we aren’t just a windsurf resort! For a complete summary of all the sea sports we offer, visit our adventure sports page.
Each sport has a mandatory orientation session where we introduce our gear to you. Once you have had the orientation session, you are free to use the gear anytime you like, as long as you have a buddy. The buddy system is different for each sport, and that’s explained during the orientation. For example, a buddy while snorkeling is someone snorkeling with you, but a buddy while windsurfing is a person on shore paying attention to your location and notifying us if you need assistance. During scheduled activities, guides are on hand monitoring your progress and a buddy may not be necessary, since the guide is effectively your buddy.
[photo credit at top of page: Wil Thijssen]
Free Belize Map
“Anyone can go to a place like Maui or Aruba, where the conditions are always perfect, but traveling to a place with an unknown breeze is like investing in Amazon.com rather than IBM. If you go to Aruba and the wind doesn’t blow, you’re bummed. You go to Belize and it blows; you’re stoked. And guess what, it blows there. Amazon just tripled!… if it doesn’t blow, the snorkeling, diving, fishing and kayak tours are world class.”
Windsurfing at Glover’s Reef
Perfect for Beginners and Experts
Our island sits astride the ring reef of Glover’s Reef, allowing easy access to both the waves and swells of the open sea and a launch from our Belizean beach into the sheltered waters just off our shore. The average wind speed is 10-20 mph nearly every day, so although some days will be spent on light-wind gear skimming across the flats of the lagoon, others will find you on a 4.5 sail or smaller blasting on the swells or trying your luck in the surf. The warm air and water temps mean you don’t need a wetsuit!
Our location on Long Caye at Glover’s Reef offers exceptional opportunities for windsurfing for both novices and experts (best high-wind season: Jan – Mar). We offer basic windsurfing instruction on a daily basis anytime the wind is right, and we employ a land trainer and a fleet of modern, wide beginner boards that allow anyone a rapid advancement in learning how to sail. Combined with the flat water conditions inside the lagoon, we have the perfect set-up to learn this exciting sport.
Conditions for Beginners
Although advanced sailors are on their own, our guides are proficient windsurfers and can assist novices on our land trainer and beginner boards. The calm waters of the lagoon are perfect for practicing first moves, and there is always enough wind for novices, making Long Caye an ideal location to learn the sport.
Conditions for Experts
Sailing inside the atoll is ideal for long, extended reaches, and it is easy to dodge the many patch reefs which are visible in the clear water. On a north wind (our strongest, commonly 4.0 conditions), it is possible to do a 6-mile reach encompassing all the islands of the atoll, while sailing over the turquoise sand bars behind the ring reef. There are no obstructions within the atoll, and the protected waters cut out the swell and chop so it is usually smooth water sailing.
Outside the atoll, open sea conditions can be found, with large swells and choppy surfaces. And, for those looking for surf action, we do have an excellent point break which is perfect for surf sailing when the wind is right.
Best Months for Windsurfing in Belize
The island commonly sees wind in the 10 -15 mph range (80% of the time), and 20 mph winds or better are seen about 30% of the time. Unlike other more accessible islands in Belize (Ambergris, Caye Caulker) there is very little boat traffic. And don’t forget, the water is 80 degrees!
Please remember, there is no way to predict the wind conditions for a specific date!
We have equipment from beginner to advanced. If you have extensive windsurfing experience, your level will be evaluated once you arrive on the island. All qualified windsurfing guests will be able to use the advanced equipment.
Our equipment consists of a core of late model gear with set-ups for light-wind cruising, mid-range screaming, and high-wind blasting; we have boards from 170 L to 80 L, and sails from 3.0 to 7.5.
Kid’s windsurfing gear
board with 1.0, 1.5, and 1.8 sails by Ezzy
Start by Starboard
140 L & 180 L- JP Funster
150 L & 170 L- Go by Starboard
133 L Starboard
105 L Flow by Mistral
2012 120 L X-Cite Ride by JP
2012 140 L Fun Ride by JP
2012 85 L Freestyle Wave by JP
2012 102 L Freestyle Wave by JP
2010 105 L by Exocet
2010 84 L by Exocet
Full range from 3.0 to 7.0: Ezzy, Naish, Sailworks, Northsails
2016 Alpha 5.8 by Neil Pryde
2015 Fusion 6.1, 7.2 by Neil Pride
2015 Hellcat 6.2, 7.2 by Neil Pryde
2015 Fusion 6.7 by Neil Pryde
2010 Firefly 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 by Neil Pryde
2010 Zone 5.0 by Neil Pryde
Dry Land Trainer
Seat and Chest Harnesses:
Da Kine harnesses – Expert sailors should bring their own
Are there wave sailing options?
Although Long Caye has an excellent surf break that is ideal for paddleboards and surf kayaks, it is not usually optimal for wind sports, although on a rare day it has been known to happen. Both windsurfers and kitesurfers prefer a ‘side shore’ wind direction to surf waves, which is when the wind blows parallel, or nearly so, to the wave break. This allows wind powered boards to power up across the break, which is the direction a board naturally takes on a wave while surfing. Long Caye’s wave, however, usually experiences an onshore wind, blowing in the same direction as the wave break, or an off shore wind, which blows against the break. Either of these directions do not present favorable conditions for wind powered surfing.
A Windsurfer’s Dream
Another day on the island comes to a close, and I find myself alone on my cabana porch, looking out over the open Caribbean as the sky and sea merge into a dark blue. Cut off from the world on this isolated patch of sand and palms, I have only my own guess as to what the weather will bring tomorrow. As the darkness descends, the starlight illuminates the relentless surf pounding the reef a few yards away. I have been paddling and diving while exploring more of these endless reefs over the past few days, but what really has been on my mind is wind. It can blow hard for days on end out here, and I am anxious for the next big blow!
I didn’t even know I had fallen asleep in the hammock, but suddenly I am awakened by an even louder sound than the surf: a storm has blown in and the palms are straining under a stiff wind from the NW behind my cabana. I look over the railing and am greeted with a face-full of fresh water off the roof as a hard rain has also begun, its curtain hidden in the dark and wind. I stumble to bed with a grin, anticipating what this could mean for tomorrow.
I am up at sunrise, greeted by an angry sea. The wind is blowing a steady 25-30 mph, and foaming whitecaps stretch to the northern horizon. It doesn’t take me long to down a cup of coffee, and in nothing flat I have assembled my rig from the collection in the surf palapa and am stepping into the water. I quickly power up, shooting across the small bay of the island. After two tacks to clear a reef I am free of the shallows. Now I settle in and start ripping down the sand flats behind the atoll’s reef. My next stop is an island three miles away. Patch reefs shoot by, easily visible in the ultra-clear water along the flats. Startled stingrays dart from my path across the sand bottom, as I push forward for more speed. Dark and light patches of turquoise surround me and I look over the atoll’s ring reef at perfect lines of surf breaking on the coral, which shelters the sand flats I am hugging. The colors are too vivid to be real, highlighted by the sparkling reflections from the rising sun. I am into my dream! I am all alone in this vast water world, not a boat or sail to be seen.
At Long Caye you can windsurf right off our shoreSoon the details of the palms on the next island come into focus and I know it’s only a mile away. It is perfectly in alignment on a single reach from our island, so I sail right up to its beach for a visit and rest. “Just the loco windsurfer again, you know you’re crazy to be out there in this wind!” the local caretaker calls out. After a cold Coke and a stretch, I head back into the water and prepare myself for the next reach, a 4-mile run back to, and past, our island base. But 4 miles is only a matter of minutes at the speeds I can maintain in this wind.
Halfway along my new bearing I have to leave the glittering sand flats and head into the atoll’s lagoon, where I improvise a course through the numerous patch reefs. You never know if you’ll get cut off by a reef that is just a little too far upwind to pass by, and it keeps the excitement at a constant, high level as I have to make a continuous series of critical judgments. It’s similar to skiing the trees back in Utah, I think to myself; mistakes are not an option.
As I burst out into the sand flats behind the NE reef, another group of rays shoot away. One of them jumps out of the water, showing the clear black and white markings of a Manta Ray.
Returning from Middle Caye, BelizeI make a long, arcing jibe and start back to our island, my legs cramping after 4 miles of straining in the same position. Now I aim a bit downwind for the channel, which lies between the two islands at our base, breaking out to the sea. I have to spill some wind to slow down, but I know the reefs here and I cut through a small opening and into the surf zone. Here I take a few tacks along the edge of the break, then come screaming back up to our island, landing right at the dining palapa.
After stowing my gear I head into the kitchen where I join the others having breakfast. “Hey, wind looks awesome today, going out?’ somebody asks me. “How can I not?” I reply, thinking how could he not know where I had just been? Then I realized why, my hair wasn’t even wet! I had sailed half the atoll, with no wipe-outs. No one had missed me, no one knew about the ride I had just experienced. I guess it was just a windsurfer’s dream.
-Cully Erdman, Slickrock President