Foiling Cabo Verde, West Africa

600km Nautical Miles west of Dakar in Western Africa lies the island group of Cabo Verde, a small Republic in the Atlantic Ocean. The locals speak Portuguese, and with several of the islands boasting impressive international airports (Boa Vista and São Vicente) there are two groups of tourists coming to the Republic. First, there is the all-inclusive crowd, sporting wristbands and perfectly happy within the confines of their resort. Second, there are the watermen looking for foiling, surfing and windsurfing, checking conditions until everything aligns after which they book a ticket and fly in from mainland Europe.

Once you arrive on any of the islands, there are countless spots to choose from, whether you want high winds and open ocean or reef breaks and monstrous waves. Franz Orsi (Instagram) traveled there with his family for some foiling in perfect conditions:

How good is Boa Vista?

Franz:
“I hardly can think of any place I’ve been which is more suited to wing foil blasting than Boa Vista. Seriously, the island has insane conditions for wing foiling and the big bay of Sal Rei is just a perfect playground for learning and improving your wing foil skills.”

“With perfect side shore winds and a constant 20-25 knots of wind, the sandy beaches and crystal blue water make for a jaw-dropping view with turtles swimming in the sea and humpback whales jumping on the horizon.”

“Out on the water, you will see flying fish trying to outrun their predators, breaching the surface and shooting hundreds of meters through the air, desperately trying to escape their predators. The first time you see them, dragging their tail fin over the surface at high-speed, the sunlight bouncing off their pectoral fins, the whole thing just looks alien. You can’t imagine how beautiful this place is until you see it.”

Run for your life!

Finally travel again

Franz:
“Not having been able to travel for more than two years, we finally had the opportunity to fly to Boa Vista with my wife and my one-and-a-half-year old daughter for a quick seven-day vacation. And once they chilled and played around on the beautiful beach, I scored great consistent conditions for seven days in a row. Truly epic.”

“The gear choice proved to be ideal. I was on my NSP Air Wing 6.0 all the time, although I could have used a 5.0 as well, and 6’2″ NSP SUP/Wing Foil Pro equipped with a NSP Airwave 1700 Foil set. The gear worked extremely well and I was impressed by the wind range it possesses.”

“I am still new to the wing foil world and definitely what I felt is that this gear makes everything super easy to learn how to wing foil  and improve your skills.”

“So all in all a great wing foil trip, in a nice and family-friendly destination that I can suggest to everyone looking for a warm and reliable training ground for progressing your winging technique.”

About traveling to Cabo Verde

Not well-known like for instance the Canaries, Cabo Verde is part of the Macaronesia Ecoregion, similar to the Azores, Madeira and the previously mentioned Canaries.

Depending on the time of the year there are plenty of Airlines and Airports in Europe flying into Cabo Verde and generally tickets are affordable when booked in advance. That may prove problematic for those frantically checking Windguru and Surfline, but sometimes you just “gotta bite the bullet” and go.

Traveling between the islands is possible but it it ill advised as the crossings can be rough and the ferries are slow. Nelson Mandela International Airport has flights going to all the other islands with Transportes Interilhas de Cabo Verde (TICV), the local airline and since Boa Vista (and Sal) are mostly wind-swept desert islands it can be interesting to fly out to one of the other islands like Santiago and see a completely different eco system if the wind drops off.

Keep in mind that Cape Verde is a year-round destination, with temperatures rarely dipping below 20°C, but that it is best to avoid the rainy season between July and October.