In line with our first event of the season, the Surf Opening in Austria, this month’s spot guide is all about Neusiedlersee! We have special insight into the legendary spot from Max Matissek (Duotone/Fanatic), who grew up in this diverse freestyle windsurfing location. Read on to learn all about how to find your way around the spots so you can catch the Lake Neusiedl ramps as expertly as possible. And if this spot guide makes you excited, you can still make it to our 2022 opening event!
The chocolate-coloured Neusiedlersee is a classic windsurfing location, donning different spots for different kinds of windy days. You might start at Neusiedl in the north, then go south from there to Weiden am See or to Podersdorf. The lake has hosted the Surf World Cup for more than 20 years now, and is still a hotspot for the vibrant Austrian water sport community. If you go freestyling here, you will absolutely enjoy some great ramps to fly off of, and you can go for a sunset drink on the beach after as well!
Lake Neusiedl is not too far from Vienna, the capital of Austria. You might fly to Vienna and rent a car from there to get to Neusiedl in just under half an hour! In regards to camping, the regulations might change year-to-year, but in general there are a lot of spots where you might set up your van. Getting from the various villages to the lake itself is usually super easy. To access the windsurfing spots, it’s always the same in each village; there’s a long pier to access the water. It should be easy to find and will get you freestyling quickly! Podersdorf is the only place where they historically did not have to build a way through the reed to get to the water, as the water is very shallow there. This year specifically the lake has very little water, likely due to the warm weather and lack of rain.
Action in Neusiedl during the 2021 EFPT Surf Opening
In regards to the wind, there are no significant thermal effects (like for example at lake Garda), so you are reliant on regular forecasted wind. On very hot summer days thunderstorms can appear, and then you can have an unexpected really cool session, even if there is no wind forecasted. Sometimes the session may only last 10 minutes, sometimes it can be 2 hours. Therefore, you should always look out for dark clouds on those hot days, but remember to stay safe with thunderstorms!
About 100 years ago the lake got completely dry. This could happen again because of the lack of rain in the future. The lake does not have a big river that leads water into it, leaving it reliant on rain and groundwater only. The summers are also exceptionally hot now, which means the water is evaporating quicker than ever before. A scorching hot summer day can now evaporate up to 1cm of the water level!
Depending on the wind conditions you would either go to Weiden am See with Southern winds, or to Podersdorf with North-Wests to North winds. You have the best ramps on the lake in Weiden when the winds are South-East. To enter the spot, you just have to go straight to the lake access point, which, as mentioned before, is the only way to enter the water through the reed.
When winds are from the other side (North-Wests to North) you would always want to go to Podersdorf. It has 1-2 bft more than in the northern corner of the lake (Weiden/Neusiedl) and you would surf where the Surf Worldcup used to be!
If you want to be a little bit more experimental, and the crowds get too much, you can go further south to Illmitz. Especially straight North (but also South) winds can work very well there. With North winds in Illmitz, the lake will be deeper and the wind makes bigger ramps. However, I personally almost never go there because it’s not really worth derigging and doing the whole mission for me.
The whole area around the lake has developed quite a lot in the last few years, and there are some great places for food and drinks. In Neusiedl there’s the “Mole West ” directly on the water next to the competition area. There is also a really good high end burger place in town that’s called “Neusiedler”. Other than in Neusiedl, there are of course many more restaurants around that you can discover. I would also recommend trying any of the “heuriger” in any of the towns. They’re places where you get traditional stuff like several kinds of bread and local wine. Especially in Gols you can get some good wine!
When it’s not windy I normally go “Spazieren”- just walking. You could also play beach soccer in Podersdorf, go road biking, or go fishing. The plants and the animals around are pretty amazing. Believe it or not, there are plenty of nice fish in the lake as well! Huge catfish up to 2 meters can swim around, so watch your step! This lake has one of the best sunsets in the world. In the end, I love this place. It can be pretty magical.
Check out the magic of a sunrise and sunset session at the lake in this video by Merlin Libicky & Alexis Vangelis Heidinger
We would like to thank Max for his insights! Stay tuned for the event in Austria starting on the 27th of April!