Lo Stagnone lagoon in Sicily – A freestyler’s wet dream. Kitesurf spot guide for September

Dates: 3 Sep – 11 Sep
Rideable days: 6 out of 9
Wind: 10 – 22 knots
Temp: 26 – 28˚C
Water temp: 30˚C

What I liked about Lo Stagnone

  • Massive flat water lagoon with perfect depth (crashable and walkable)
  • Perfect 12m freestyle conditions
  • Quite a few beautiful places to go and see on windless days
  • The ice cream, pastries, pizza, coffee…

What I didn’t like about Lo Stagnone

  • Limited launch space / Assisted water launch required (centre dependant)
  • Not much going on locally. A bit of a drive if you want nightlife

Lo Stagnone, on the South-Western tip of Sicily had been on my radar for a few years.

A shallow lagoon with flat water combined with a long, warm and reliable wind season sounds like the ideal kite trip destination to many, me included.

Kites riding in the sunset in Lo Stagnone lagoon.
Sunset riding, wine and mellow vibes. That’s the Lo Stagnone that awaits you.

My friend Chris, whom I met in Sardinia, is nowadays based in Sicily and Lo Stagnone. From here he runs Level Up kite school and centre from April to October.

When Chris asked me to come and check out his new place I didn’t have to think twice before I had a ticket booked for Palermo.

Kite teach and student in knee deep water, Lo Stagnone lagoon
Chris in his office. Bit of a pinniped after 15 years in the biz.

Getting to Lo Stagnone

Trapani Birgi airport, which is only minutes drive away from Lo Stagnone, has been closed for a few years. Because of refurbishment, or local politics, who knows.

The result is that your best option to fly into the island is Palermo. This isn’t too bad though, as it’s less than an hour away. The roads are of good quality and almost empty. I was already insured and paid only €35 for the whole period with Green Motion.

If you don’t pick up an rental car, which I’d recommend as it becomes very handy once in Lo Stagnone, you can take a bus that goes between Palermo ad Trapani Birgi airports. From Trapani airport you will then have to arrange local transportation by taxi or let your kite centre come and pick you up.

Wind & Weather

The season runs from March to the end of October. Wind can be found outside these months as well but it will be less reliable with more rain, and colder water.

August and September are already post-peak, which I suppose is reflected in my 6 out of 9 rideable days. That’s still a pretty decent ratio.

Kites causing on a sunny day in the lagoon of Stagnone, Sicily.
To have this reliable wind combined with a massive flat water lagoon is rare in Europe.

The weather system in Lo Stagnone is quite unique because of a combination of prevailing wind, thermal wind and venturi effect. The most common wind direction is Northerly, served by the Mistral. Sometimes it’s the Southerly Scirocco. Both works fine in the lagoon although when the wind is coming over land it can be a bit gusty nearest shore, so take caution getting in and out of the water.

On top of this, the lagoon heats up on sunny days and creates a Sea breeze which adds a few knots not visible on the forecasts. When this happens, which is almost daily during the season, expect 3 to 5 knots extra to arrive around midday and stay until late afternoon or even sunset.

Kites lined up at level Up kite centre, Lo Stagnone
Wind arrives sometime after lunch as per usual.

An interesting phenomenon is that some days can be too warm for the thermal to work. Sicily can be very hot in July and August, and if the temperature difference is too small between sea and land the thermal might not happen.

Generally it’s fairly light wind during the summer season. There are exceptions of course, but 12 to 20 knots seems to be the norm. I rode my 12m all week and others were out on anything between 10 and 17m.

This doesn’t appeal to everyone, but this light wind and Lo Stagnone’s shallow depth is the perfect combination for both beginners and freestylers.

Hammock chair with a view to the kitesurf lagoon.
Sit down and enjoy the view.

Lo Stagnone kite spot guide

It’s knee to chest deep across the whole lagoon. The bottom is either mud or mostly seagrass and it’s fine to walk around in. Wear booties just in case if you’re learning and will do a lot of walking, as you might step on something. Personally I only had a few tiny cuts at the end of the week.

This type of seagrass is also not a big deal for your kite lines. They do stuck to them, but are easy to shake off.

Where to launch

With a lagoon this size you’d think you can launch from a hundred different spots. But no. The access to the lagoon is actually quite limited and pretty much all possible launch areas are occupied by kite schools.

If you want to ride here you have to join one, which includes paying for beach access and filling in a contact form. It allows them to know who’s in the water if something should go wrong. It’s a very controlled space and the schools are working with the local authorities to keep kitesurfing open and safe in the lagoon.

man helping to launch a kite in the Stagnone lagoon, Sicily.
Assisted water launch and landing is common around the lagoon.

All kite schools are located in a cluster around Birgi Vecchi. The rigging and launch area can be a bit small and a lot of centres practise assisted launch from the water. There is a beach which some schools operate from at the North of the lagoon. Depending on your needs and budget I recommend shopping around online before you head out as prices and facilities varies a lot among the centres.

Kite centres on the beach, North side of Lo Stagnone lagoon.
If you want more launch area you can join a centre at the Northern tip of the lagoon. Here the water is very shallow however.
Krisztián Olajos at his centre Level Up Kite in Lo Stagnone, Sicily.
The man himself. Chris moved Level Up Kite to Lo Stagnone from Sardinia in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Level Up Kite School

I stayed at my mate Chris’s center Level Up. His centre has a nice mellow vibe, perfectly positioned in the lagoon to easily reach all the fun areas and has clean wind from both North and South. He’s also a great host and looked after me and his other guests both on and off the water.

LevelUp kite centre with people resting in the shade.
Level Up kite centre benefits from some nice shade from the vegetation.
People drinking and dancing at Level Up kite centre.
The Thursday BBQ’s at Level Up has a tendency to carry on into the small hours.

The lagoon – a huge playground

This place is huge. Since all schools are clustered together you’ll notice that 90% of the riders tend to mow the lawn in the same area. It can be a bit busy with all the students close to shore, but there are no restrictions to where you can ride in the lagoon (except at the opening towards the sea) so do yourself a favour and explore the place and find a place just to yourself.

kitesurf map of Lo Stagnone

  1. Here you’ll find all the schools and most riders.
  2. One of the best areas for practising freestyle. Not so busy but easy to get to.
  3. The Salina wall. So flat you can see your reflection, but be careful as it can be very shallow too.
  4. The lagoon entrance. Pretty cool place with sandy bottom and turquoise water with small waves rolling in. I think this is a no-go area in the summer though.
  5. Village center with supermarket, cafes etc.

Because of the islands in and around the lagoon, some areas will be gusty and wind-shadowed for certain wind directions. It’s easy to figure out where this happens on the day – simply look where the wind is coming from and you’ll see where it’s blocked by land.

Where to stay around Lo Stagnone

The lagoon is right between Marsala to the South and Trapani to the North. They are great cities to visit but would require a daily 30 minute commute to the spot.

Instead everyone is staying in flats or shared accommodation in the small communities around the kite centres. Some flats and resorts are even right on the spot, for those who don’t have a car or want to be right next to the action. There are also parking for camper vans available.

I stayed in a shared flat with walking distance from Level Up. The host, Serenilla, was very friendly, and at €30 a night I think it was good value.

You can also stay closer to the village centre for quick access to cafes, pharmacy, ATM and the supermarket. Overall, distances are short with a car, but compared to many other kite spots it’s just a bit too spread out and quiet to score high on post-kite activities.

The sleepy town center.
The sleepy town center where you can get your supplies. Also good breakfast at Il Mulino.

Having said that, if you travel in a group or family, rent a villa and cook at home you’ll have a good time both on and off the water.

Other activities

On windless days you can choose from SUPing in the lagoon, chilling with a book at your centre or hop in a car and go to some of the local tourist attractions.

  • Wine tasting in the region
  • Date night in picturesque town Castellammare del Golfo
  • Coastal hike in the national reserve of Zingaro
  • Sunday sunset parties at the bar by the lagoon
Erpic scenery of mountains and sea in Zingaro natural reserve.
The Zingaro coastal hike offers great views (and can even be done in flip-flops but I wouldn’t recommend it).
Happy kitesurfers in a bar in Trapani.
Head to Trapani when you want some night life. It’s about 30 min drive.
Tequila being poured into a plastic cup.
It felt like a good idea at the time…

Summary

Easy to get to, budget-friendly, plenty of sunshine and great food. Lo Stagnone ticks so many boxes and then I haven’t even mentioned the consistent wind and flat water.

It could be one of the best spots I’ve been to. Probably the best spot in Europe in terms of riding. It’s not for the wave lovers, mega boosters or party people. But if you’re into progressing your riding as a beginner or freestyler, this is it.

Calm waters and dark clouds. Lo Stagnone, Sicily.
The only reason you’ll want to leave this place is so that you can come back.

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