Windsurfing has been available in Croatia since the 1970’s, when tourists from elsewhere in Europe brought their equipment to Croatia’s relatively still and calm sea to take advantage of windy days.
Windsurfing is a sport where athletes ride a surfboard with a sail attached and use the wind to propel their boards around the water. Hugely popular among surfers and extreme athletes, the sport grew in popularity and slowly got a foothold in the local population over the next two decades, and has recently taken off among travelers as Croatia’s tourism boom peaks.
There are now nearly a dozen windsurfing clubs up and down Croatia’s coast and most resorts on the water provide instructors and equipment for hire for their guests. Windsurfing, although it may look easy, requires you to learn how to harness the wind and use it for your own purposes instead of dumping you when you try to stand up.
You can devote as little as an hour to windsurfing or organize your vacation around the sport. Just be sure to take some lessons if it’s your first time on the board or the frustrating process of getting up on the board, falling off, getting up, and falling off, may sour the sport for you permanently.
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For lessons, there are many great options and your choice will largely be dictated by your location in the country. The best windsurfing to be had in Croatia is on Korcula, an island a few hours from Split by ferry. Unfortunately the island is too far away to really be a day trip from the mainland, but if you have accommodations on Korcula this, or the Peljesac peninsula just across the way near Orebic, will be the best spots to windsurf.
If you’re staying in Split, the X-shop windsurfing club is on the southern end of the peninsula, or if you make a day-trip to Zlatni Rat on Hvar, there are several nearby resorts within easy walking distance that provide windsurfing rentals for beginners by the day, half-day or hour.
Windsurfing’s younger, sexier cousin kitesurfing is just blooming into its own industry as windsurfing shops and resorts begin to carry all of the specialty equipment that kitesurfing requires and providing lessons on how to get started.
Kitesurfing involves riding a lightweight board behind a kite that pulls the rider over the top of the water. Kitesurfing is also considered a highly skilled activity and requires lessons for first timers.
The best kitesurfing is found at the same spots that windsurfing is popular. Korcula, the Peljesac peninsula, Hvar, and other plaecs. Most shops that rent equipment provide lessons and safety instruction, most require that you complete one of their classes before you take their equipment out.