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WHY WINDSURFERS PREFER THAILAND
Windsurfing is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world. Furthermore, and appearances to the contrary, it is easy to learn. At least it can be easy to learn - it is worth asking an adept to give you a few tips. While trying to learn by trial and error may be frustrating, simple awareness of a few basic principles can make getting started quite simple. At the same time - and this is part of itsattraction - it is always possible to learn new tricks, to get better.
Conditions here are superb lots of clean beaches and clean water, with long stretches free of rocks or other hazards. Winds are predictable in season and conditions depending on the time of day and the season, oblige everyone from rank beginner to expert. Best of all, in the minds of many enthusiasts from colder climates, you don't need a wetsuit, what with water temperatures of between 26 and 28C all year around. In consequence, windsurf shacks have proliferated on local beaches, in recent years, and many resort hotels offer both equipment and instructors. Pattaya and Phuket have had turns at hosting the Siam World Cup championships, part of the Asian World Cup Series, which are held in January every year. Local enthusiasts agree that there would be lots of room for more international competition.
Windsurfing in the Andaman Sea
There follow a few areas which are especially recommended.
Phuket. On the island's westcoast beaches, adepts may prefer the peak offshore winds of the late November-February high season, especially in the mornings. (Twenty to twenty-five knot winds are common.) Novices, on the other hand, should note that during this period winds usually taper off to moderate breezes by early afternoon.
In the April-October season, winds tend to be consistently moderate, but windsurfing may sometimes be made hazardous by heavy seas rolling in from the Indian Ocean. Kata Beach and Karon Beach are among the best windsurfing beaches. Patong is also good, though it gets pretty busy in the high season.
Windsurfing in the Gulf of Thailand
Jomtien Beach. Close to Bangkok and just south of Pattaya, this several-kilometres-long beach sees good winds the whole year. There is little in the way of rocks or coral to watch out for. Jomtien has been host to several Siam World Cup championships. November to January frequently bring particularly strong winds, and sometimes the waves offshore reach a meter and a half or more. (Inshore, the water is calmer.)
Ko Samui. The east-coast beaches of Chaweng and Lamai offer seasonal windsurfing. The sport may be ill-advised from October till May, when that side of the island is exposed to the northwest monsoon. The north-coast beaches of Bophut and Maenam, on the other hand, are fine for windsurfing all year long.
Hua Hin. Real experts might like to try the winter storms off Hua Hin, a charming seaside resort town on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand.

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