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kitesurfing on the bays of antibes

April arrives and the wind blows. It is the weekend. It is Easter. The Med Sea is nearby. And the lunch hour(s) in France can be two hours long. It is a perfect confluence of events for kitesurfing.

Antibes has three beaches, and two of them are wide and open and one in the middle is the most popular for kitesurfing. I believe there is a kitesurfing school and club in Antibes.

I have yet to see a woman kitesurfing in Antibes.

On a good day, the word has spread and dozens will be on the water at the same time. How they manage to avoid one another and not tangle their lines and chutes is unclear.

Crowds gather along the beach. Cameras are ready. Kids play in the sand and make sand castles. Some are there for the holiday weekend and want to catch as much sun as they can.

However, the stars of the day are the kitesurfers.

Because the surfers prefer the bays, croissant-shaped, and not the open water, spectators can watch from various points. They like to glide toward the shore, dramatically turn or launch into the air before circling around again and leaving. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The most dramatic moments happen when a surfer launches into the air. They soar up and the wind catches them and whisks them away, supporting them on their boards, until they drop with a splash and slither off, back and forth and back and forth.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The water looks cold, always, ice cold, iron hard and unforgiving. The kitesurfers know that in one moment they are slicing through the water with ease and in the next they can lose it and tumble.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The kitesurfers will often venture far from land, and one can see beyond them to the Alps in the distance and to Nice nestled below on the blue horizon. The water looks iron cold. They wear wet suits.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The kites dart and soar in the wind like birds. The surfers are sometimes difficult to see because of their distance from land, but the kites and their vivid colors can often be distinguished against the blue and white skies.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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