Windsurfing in Jericoacoara

Photos & Text by Silvan Wick

Fast forwarding 8 years to 2006 for my second trip to Jericoacoara. This time photographing for a Canadian and a German Windsurfing Magazine. The last hour driving across the dunes was just as spectacular as the first time.

Windsurfing in Jericoacoara

The wind built throughout the morning like clockwork and sometime in the afternoon I got to sample the sailing, strong winds and a bit of a swell wrapping around the point .

There was no moon this time, but the headlights lead the way shining on a fenced dirt road, followed by deep ruts in a sandy pathway, that caused us to bounce around terribly, to a smoother section along the beaches of Prea and more deep ruts until we got to the outskirts of Jericoacoara.

Arriving late at night just like the first time but now the pousadas would have a light or two to help us find our way. As I walked trough town the next morning towards the beach I noticed some changes, more shops, and pousadas, the place seemed bigger and at the waterfront, looking at the same sweeping bay I noticed a number of windsurfing rental centers.

Windsurfing in Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara had grown from a small fishing village to a larger one, hosting now hundreds of windsurfers and kite surfers. The first time I visited I encountered as many as five people on the water, now there were easily a hundred or more sailors on the water during the peak hours of the afternoon and right up until sunset that comes early here, a few degrees south of the equator. At 6.30 pm the town is dark, the lights come on, to be turned off again around midnight.

Best Hotels in Jericoacoara

I did bring my own kit this time since I intended to spend a month here. After a bit of trial and error I figured out that I would only rig two sails; a 5.3 and a 4.7. I brought one board; a 80L Acid from Starboard. I would start to explore a bit of coast up and downwind, sail below the large dune, but also frequent a place called "La Maleada", just a few tacks upwind and around the far side of town. This particular beach was best sailed on an incoming tide, but before high tide since the water came all the way up to the rocky coast, covering the beach completely. It is a great place to jump in slightly side-on conditions.

Windsurfing in Jericoacoara

The main launch is on the beach just below the point, in a bit of a wind shadow and therefore gusty for the first 100 yards. Once the tide comes in a small wave wraps around the point into the bay providing some nice wave sailing conditions for beginner and intermediate sailors.

There is not a whole lot of punch to the wave so it's a forgiving site. I would get in a routine related to the tide and sail usually a few hours after the tide started to come back in. It would help the waves to shape up a bit more and provide just a bit more push.

Discovering Jericoacoara

We would soon discover that Jericoacoara is built on sand dune with streets of sand to where the beach merges seamlessly with the village. Photos & Text by Silvan Wick.

I was also here to take actions photographs so I planed and organized myself around some of the best windsurfing sailors and their sailing schedule. Late afternoon made for some of the most dramatic shots, although the sun is heading to the far horizon causing normal shooting angles to be of the backlight kind. It took a bit of experimenting and scouting all locations and setting up accordingly but I loved the challenge.

Windsurfing in Jericoacoara

Shortly before sundown many people track to the top of the great sand dune to watch the sun setting from there. It is a spectacular sight, often the sun sets as a fiery ball in the west, dips straight in the ocean, casting blue shadows first, followed by the darkness. At the same time the people from the village join the fishermen on the beach who sort the nets for the next day.

It's time for sundowner drinks, while others start with their daily capoeira dancing routines. Barbecues are fired up, it's the start of an other fun filled evening, good food and a hot night. Who knows, your imaginations may come to life too.

silvan wick jericoacoara

Jeri is still a town for girlfriends, spouses and even kids, it's got a bit of everything in a neat package. There are enough activities to keep everyone happy. Although, did I mention that Jeri is just south of the equator and everyone except the sailors on the water keep to the shade in the middle of the day. It is hot at this hour, but the natural cooling of the trades make this area livable. So except of course for mad dogs, English men and sailors, staying in the shade is key and feels wonderful.

Silvan Wick's travel photographs have been published in a variety of international publications. All the images on this page are courtesy of Silvan Wick with all rights reserved.

For more on Silvan Wick at Silvan

Ministry of Tourism. Certification. No. 06.026202.10.0001-7.

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