Freestyle Spot Guide – Leucate by Sam Esteve

March 31st, 2022

The essence of our sport (or any for that matter) is practice. With freestyle windsurfing we as riders are in a peculiar position, because our practice is dependent on the weather and location we are at. Consequently, every freestyle windsurfer travels around the world to sail the best possible conditions. Don’t know where to go on your next trip and maybe you’re looking for something closer to home? In this month’s spot guide we’ve got you covered as one of our tour’s best will tell you all about Leucate. This spot on the southern French coast has great temperatures and many windy days, and could be the destination of your next windsurfing trip (especially if you like a good burger after your session). Donning both a lake and the sea, Leucate is very varied in windsurfing spots, and is therefore a great destination for anyone to train on flat water, chop, or even waves. Keep on reading to find out from local Sam Esteve (NP/JP) how to get the most out of your trip there!

REALIFE – Sam Esteve from Sam Esteve F-79  A fantastic action clip (winning Sam the Best Video Part of a rider at the 2021 EFPT Awards) showing you around some of the spots in this guide.

Leucate is a very special place for windsurfing because we have more than 300 windy days a year. What makes this place unique are the multitude of different spots; between flat, choppy bump & jump, and waves – every kind of windsurfer can enjoy sailing here. The freestylers come for the strong wind, the perfect temperatures and flat spots. It’s a special place for me specifically, because it’s where I started all my watersports. My first waves in surfing at 4 years old, my first windsurfing plannings at 6 years old and my first jumps in Kitesurfing at 10 years old. Every time I go to train I remember my first moments in the water at each of the spots. I’m always happy to come back home after competitions or trips, and I keep reminding myself that I’m extremely lucky to live here and be able to do all these watersports all year round.

Getting there and around

Leucate is located in the south of France on the Mediterranean coast. The easiest way to get there is to come by car (or van) if you are on the European continent. Otherwise, Barcelona airport is only 2 hours by car and allows you to come from anywhere on the planet. Once there, I recommend renting a car to discover the place and to get to the best spots whenever you want.

Spots and times

The best time to sail in Leucate is in the spring and autumn. The transitional seasons are perfect, as the wind is strongest and the temperatures are more moderate during these months. There are two possible wind directions, northwest with the Tramontana and southeast with the sailor. During Tramontana there are two types of spots; at sea or on the lake. I will tell you about my personal favourite spots to Freestyle:

A map of Leucate with all the spots Sam describes. Credits go to the Leucate Tourism Office.

At sea you can find the spot of Le Rouet in La Palme, which is the spot where I train. It has a long beach of 10km, offshore wind and flat water. The best conditions are when the wind blows west/north-west because the spot becomes incredibly flat and you can sail along the beach on both sides. Then there is La Franqui, a bump&jump spot with a side off wind. The best conditions are when the wind is north/north-west because you get the biggest chops for jumping.

We also have the spots on the lakes. I used to go to the Eole spot at Barcares, where I started windsurfing. The wind is generally 10 knots less strong there than at Le Rouet. There is a small pool ideal for freestyle or beginners, and there is a larger pool perfect for doing bump&jump sessions.

Sam Esteve going for an Air Skopu at Eole

As a windsurfer, my favorite spots are the Culs Nus in Leucate and the dam at St Marie. At the Cul Nus the wind is side on with a powered right side wave, it’s perfect for wave sailing. Then at St Marie the wind is from the same direction but the waves are flatter so ideal for freestyle.

Sam rotating through a Burner at St Marie. Picture by Eric Bretagnon

After sailing

A great place to sleep with or without your van is at Camping du Viglamo, it is directly located on the Franqui spot and you can have a good jacuzzi after the session. To eat the best burgers on the coast, you have to go to the Wesh Center Crew on the Goulet spot. I love to go there after a full day of sailing. There you can also park your van directly on the spot. There are many beach clubs around Leucate which are very nice for eating, relaxing and paddleboarding. When there is no wind, the wide open spaces are great for doing other outdoor activities, such as cycling, trail running, paddleboarding, surfing, fishing…

Conclusion

The area of Leucate offers so much variety, that it is no wonder that so many freestylers already chose to go there to train. Will we see you there at the enxt good forecast?

The Freestyle Pro Tour would like to thank Sam Esteve for his contribution to this guide! Stay tuned for the next spot guide in which we will be taking a look at Lake Neusiedl – the location of our first tour stop of 2022!

Tags