Surfing in the mountains? Kiting in Tirol? What may sound more than a little strange is, in fact, a passion for many watersports enthusiasts in the region. Thermal winds provide excellent surfing conditions on many lakes in Tirol, where beginners and advanced surfers can polish their technique with the help of local instructors.
When it comes to windsurfing and kitesurfing, most people think of sea, sand and maybe a few palm trees. But such exotic locations are by no means the only places to offer excellent conditions for these thrilling watersports. Indeed, more and more people are travelling to the mountains rather than to the shore to hit the waves – and anyone who has experienced the full force of the Föhn wind or the "Boarischen" blowing from Bavaria to the north over Lake Achensee will know why. The latter is a thermal wind which occurs in fine weather between the Karwendel Mountains and the Rofan Mountains. Lake Achensee, the largest lake in Tirol, is the ideal place to make the most of these conditions. There are several windsurfing and kitesurfing schools along the shoreline where friendly instructors will be happy to show beginners the basics and help experienced surfers perfect their technique.
Tirol is also home to a number of other lakes with good windsurfing conditions in the summer months. The Durlaßbodenspeicher in Gerlos at 1400 metres above sea level has the highest surf school in Austria, while the Reschensee lake just over the Italian border draws kitesurfers from around Europe. Those who want to try wakeboarding – the closest thing to snowboarding on water – can do so at the Area 47 outdoor adventure park at the start of the Ötztal Valley. Below you will find information on the most important windsurfing, kitesurfing and wakeboarding spots in Tirol.