Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vietnam: A windsurfing/kitesurfing mecca?


The mere mention of Vietnam conjures negative images for many Americans. Ah, but the times have changed, my friends. Today, mention Vietnam to the world’s action-sports crowd and watch them drool.

Or at least watch the windsurfers and kitesurfers drool.

We’re not quite sure they’d call Vietnam a mecca for wind sports, but chances are pretty good that they are probably familiar with Mui Ne, a coastal resort town in Binh Thuan Province of Southeastern Vietnam.

It’s “Where the wind blows,” according to the website of the Jibe’s Beach Club, which boasts of being the first kitesurfing and windsurfing center in Vietnam.  It is one of four kitesurfing schools in Mui Ne.

Mui Ne Beach, as you might have gathered, is known for strong sea breezes, making it very popular for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The tourist season, according to Wikipedia, is December to May.

Interestingly, the area also offers two championship golf courses, Sea Links (at right) and Ocean Dunes Golf Club, the latter designed by Nick Faldo. Of course, wind and golf -- yes, well, maybe plan to play early in the morning.

In February, a Grand Slam event will be held in Mui Ne -- the windsurfing variety not golfing. The 2011 Vietnam PWA Grand Slam is Feb. 25-March 5. It is the first event of the season for the Professional Windsurfers Association.

From pwaworldtour.com:
Mui Ne is located in the south east of Vietnam, on the south China sea. The area has grown up around the fishing industry, but more recently has become a tourist hot spot thanks to the beaches, bars and restaurants.

The area is increasingly gaining notoriety within the windsurfing world as a result of the reliable seas breezes that blow for over 230 days of the year. Typically the water state is fairly flat, with wind blown chop, and other than some shore break there are rarely waves to be found.

No stranger to competition, Mui Ne has proven its self as a top rated race location, having hosted 11 Fun Cup slalom contests in the past, which frequently attract some of the biggest names in racing.
Clearly, Vietnam is not what it used to be.

Thanks to SurferToday.com for the tip!

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