Hermine winds reached into the Piedmont of SC and I had some free time, so I headed down to check out some lakes and possible windsurfing hidden gems.
I had 3 lakes on the list to check out and with winds forecast to reach 30mph was excited to get on the water.
I pulled up to Lake Robinson and was stoked to see that conditions were perfect. Wide stretches of open lake water, small chop with some whitecaps. I read all the signs and went to check in with the ranger. He told me that paddle boards are not allowed on the lake. I told him that this was not a paddle board, but classified as a sailing vessel. He wasn't buying it, telling me that "they" were really picky about people being in the water, seeing as how it is a reservoir for the city of Greenville. (odd because outboard motors are permitted on the lake).
After a bit of friendly discussion, I asked who "they" were and could I call them to clarify the rule? He said that would be his supervisor, and before we called, we should read through the hand book.
We went to the office and started reading. Then my fate was sealed as I read page 8 under section 5, Boating, rule number 4..... "There shall be no use of ........ and any wind surfing craft".
So much for Lake Robinson. And lake #2 on the list was run under the same rules. The ranger was super nice and felt bad. I asked him about Lake Saluda, he told me that is was a mud hole and to watch out for the shallows that were not marked.
Desperate for a ride, I headed over to Lake Saluda. I found the Lake Saluda Boat Ramp, the place was deserted. It would be tricky getting out into the main channel where the wind was blowing, but I was game. I paid the parking fee, rigged up and headed out onto the water.
Once I got out there, it was on. 20mph wind with gusts up around 30mph, I was flying. The lake is small, so it didn't take me long to cross, about the length of 3 soccer fields. I sailed back and forth, getting a feel for the area. After about 30 minutes, I sailed a little too close to a log that was floating just under water, gently bobbing to the surface every now and then. That spooked me a little bit. I definitely did not want to wipe out in epic fashion, on a strange lake with no one else around to see it!
I stayed out for about an hour total before packing it in.
Lake Saluda lived up to the reviews and I won't be coming back unless there is nowhere else to go!
But, I did get to ride some great wind and I'm thankful for that experience!