Airone, Sibari, Calabria, Italy.
Open water, Mediterranean locations exposed to the Mistral wind when it blows. Some chop later in the day (summer) but often flat and calm during the morning. Lots of sand and perfect for families.
In summer Airone mornings can be super flat, calm and glassy – perfect for fitness SUP, SUP Yoga or touring. Out of season, you may get some rolling swell, and in spots where the sand has piled up on the seabed, you may find small waves. As the days heat up the wind swings round to an onshore direction and it gets progressively choppier. Should the prevailing thermal Mistral breeze kick then it can reach force 5 and cause large onshore chop which can make paddling difficult. At this point, you may be better off windsurfing, kitesurfing or wing foiling.
This area of Calabria has massive expanses of sandy beaches. Other than being busy with tourists there aren’t too many hazards. Rocks can pop up in places, and currents can be a thing sometimes. The Mistral wind is a factor but its by and large a safe SUP location. As long as you use common sense and don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Getting to the beach in Airone requires trundling down narrow country lanes which can often be potholed. You should also watch out for kamikaze locals who tear around on motorbikes. Farmers and farm machinery should also be kept well clear of.
3-5 depending on time of year. Airone, Sibari is a pretty quiet place all in. In fact, the whole of Calabria isn’t ever as busy as its Northern Italy counterparts. Calabria is generally thought of as the more rustic side of Italy.
Neilson Active Holidays used to have a hotel right on site in Airone. This has now stopped, although the hotel itself is still open. There’s a super nice pizzeria and authentic Italian tavern just along the beach. This has a beach bar open in summer and can be great for an evening sundowner. Shops can be found in surrounding villages and hamlets. But you’ll need transport as they’re a little way away.
Airone is a very chilled out and relaxed place to visit. The SUP options err more towards the touring end of the spectrum. It’s possible to cover some decent paddle miles here. Calabria is generally quieter than other parts of Italy with a more rustic and rural feel. There are some heavy tourist spots around but not quite as many as you’d think.
Travelling here would now require bringing your own SUP gear. But that could be really worth it. Stand up paddling is a great way to investigate and discover a location. Occasionally you may find SUP friendly waves in Airone. If the Mistral’s been blowing strong some that chop cleans up and breaks on mini sand bars along the coast. These types of waves can be great on a touring SUP for instance.
If you’re a family looking for a chilled out Italian holiday experience then Sabari and Airone are great choices. The whole vibe is super mellow. And from a stand up paddle boarding point of view, you’d mostly have the place to yourself these days.
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