Sailing, Windsurfing and Kite surfing at Serre Ponçon
The lake that was formed by damning the Durance below its confluence with the Ubaye to generate electricity and irrigate Provence has now become one of France ‘s most popular tourist sites. The lake which spreads over 2800 hectares has excellent conditions for all water sports with its unique microclimate and excellent thermal winds.
The main lake has several spots the favourite with kiters and windsurfers is Boscodon. You can check current conditions here on www.windguru.cz or phone windreal on 0897651012, this gives a continuous automatic reading of current wind speeds. The wind speeds normally reach force 3-4 in the afternoon with the thermal but can easily pick up to force 5-6 when the mistral kicks in, in which case the wind can be blowing all day. . Boscodon beach is past Embrun before Savines, with windsurfer and catamaran hire and lessons in the summer holidays and a kite school. There is even a London double decker bus converted to provide tasty snacks, ice-cream and drinks!
Although kite boarding lessons are offered by Serial Kiter at the site at Boscodon, we would recommend kiting here only for the more experienced kiters as the water is deep and the beach is relatively small during the summer months.
Plan d’eau, Embrun.
There is a smaller ‘Plan d’eau’ at Embrun which gives a more sheltered environment and warmer water for children and beginners of all ages, as well as grass fringed gravel beaches and a tree lined dyke path for evening strolls around the lake or kids first intro to velo tout terrain on stabilizers!! The main grassy area can be reached from the main road from Embrun and that has lots of slides and fun things for the children – see Children’s Activities. The sailing base is at the far end of the lake; it looks like a private club but is in fact open to the public.
Dinghy and windsurfer hire
For boat and windsurfer hire the Club Nautique Embrun, (CNA), http://cnasp.free.fr +33(0)492430002 has bases on both the plan d’eau and the main lake at Embrun open early May to the end of September, and a smaller summer holiday base at Boscodon, +33(0)684679140.
They also offer lessons and courses for everyone from a 5 year old potential pirate to a thrill seeker on a 15 ft catamaran or fun board. Disabled sailing is also possible with a specially trained instructor and access dinghies and mini Gs. For a family trip or a friendly cruise there is a Goellette for hire on the main lake for day cruises on the main lake or even an overnight bivouac. Most of the instructors have some English and spend their winters teaching skiing to the tourists in the local resorts.
Waterskiing and buoy riding
They are offered by a few operators around the lake such as l’Ancre Bleu at Savine, 0492442057. Water skiing is normally available in the calm morning waters with buoys and fly-fish in the afternoon when the wind and waves give them a much more bouncy ride.
In the autumn and in the spring the level of the lake drops a lot and during that time you can go mountain boarding with the kites or kite buggying at the CNA site at Chadenas or at Boscodon.