Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cartagena, A great Windsurfing Destination

***All pictures by Michael Rossmeier***

Cartagena really is a hidden gem in the windsurfing world.

The Caribbean city which is a UNESCO Heritage to Humanity site and a frequent Cruise ship stop, gets consistent wind from December to April and sometimes even some very decent wave action…. which makes the Colombian windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing community very happy!

Waves (sometimes even reaching mast high) hit Cartagena due to the "Mar de Leva" effect.

The "Mar de Leva" effect is a weather phenomenon affecting the Caribbean coasts of Colombia and Venezuela, which consists of an abnormal increase in wave height caused by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean over long distances. It occurs when bad weather patterns in the Caribbean (low pressure) push the ocean waters towards the coast, creating strong waves and shorepound.

The size of the waves depends on how far, how fast and how long the winds blow. In essence, The "Mar de Leva" effect is the end-result of bad-weather systems created when Polar Fronts hit the Caribbean and make their way through it. The initial movement of the Polar Fronts is toward the southeast, eventually reaching northern latitudes of 15 ° or less. As the Polar Fronts enter the Caribbean, they bring strong winds and waves, which end up making their way through the Caribbean area. The conclusion to these Polar Fronts, is the "Mar de Leva" (or wind-generated waves, fetch) hitting the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela.

In Colombia, the "Mar de Leva" effect occurs during the dry or windy season of December to April, although statistics show that it almost always happens in January and February, and sometimes also in March. The "Mar de Leva" usually lasts 48 hours, with it's beginning usually being more intense than it's end, and it's force can be double-enhanced by the North / Northeast trade winds that are already prevalent in Colombia during these winter / dry months. It is calculated that the "Mar de Leva" effect can happen up to 4 times in only one month.

Here is an example from February 5th 2009, when a "Mar de Leva" effect hit the Colombian Caribbean coast, bringing in mast high waves coupled with 4.7 (25 to 35 knot) winds.

Austrian windsurfer Michael Rossmeier happened to be in Cartagena doing some winter freestyle training and working on his "Tricktionary" DVD, which can be obtained at http://www.tricktionary.net/

Here are some pictures of Michael and other Colombian windsurfers enjoying the wind and waves off the MOKANA windsurfing club beach.

If you are interested in windsurfing rentals, lessons or even adventure trips, get in contact with the guys at the MOKANA Club:

This main site gives rental / lesson prices for windsurfing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayak: MOKANA Club

Here is the other blog site to organize adventure trips with them: MOKANA VENTURA

Rossi doing some nice cutbacks:

A view of Cartagena:

Rossi in front of a mast high wave:

Nice jump:

Rossi throwing a "Ponch" off the wave:

Coming in on the wave:

Here is a video of windsurfing and kitesurfing during the Mar de Leva, in front of the
Mokana Beach in Cartagena, Colombia:


  1. Great pics from Cartagena's big days this year. I was there windsurfing, just awesome. Side on, 25-35 kt, big ridable waves...

  2. What about real surfing without a sail? Is it possible in Cartagena?

  3. Where can I rent windsurf equipment in Cartagena? And where is the best place to windsurf with the family. Not looking for super high waves, just some smooth and constant sailing. thank you