'There is quite a large sailing community sailing out of Gnotuk Ave. It's great for any wind except an Easterly... no rocks, clean water, good rigging and parking. I'm not sure I would reccommend the spot for learners on a SE or NE wind (off shore winds at Gnotuk) but those conditions are radical if you know what you're doing.'
And here is a copy of an article written by Lyle Thompson on the Gnotuk site, Thanks Lyle!
Gnotuk Avenue is located on the Aspendale beach, Melways reference 92 J 7. The beach faces almost directly south west and works best in winds from the north west through to south-south east. Winds from the north and east are off-shore and there tends to be a big wind shadow up to about 100m off shore in these conditions, caused by the buildings on the beachfront.
This beach has a designated area for windsurfing, so as you enter the carpark, turn left and travel about 100m to the end of the carpark where the rigging area is. The rigging area is being "restored" by the local council: this means that until new vegetation takes hold, we have to rig in a natural vegetation area adjacent to the car park. This is not a big deal, but it is tedious if you have to wander back and forth to your car several times during the rigging process. Prior to the revegetation, it was simply a matter of rigging on grass directly behind your car.
The local council has a designated area for swimmers only and this extends north from the rigging area, up to the Life Saving Club, a distance of about 250 metres. This area is well-marked by two yellow poles about 75 m offshore. In winter this area is not enforced, but in summer (with a lot of swimmers in the area), it pays to stay well away. Unfortunately, the swimming area is positioned such that it is hard for windsurfers to launch on a southerly wind, so in summer, we have to walk the board well into the water in order to clear the swimming area.
Local council officers, contract "grey ghosts" and passing marine police tend to keep us on our toes in terms of loose dogs, parking violations and safety equipment. Never a dull moment at Gnotuk!
Water conditions vary according to the direction and strength of the wind:
Northerly, fairly flat, usually wave board use.
North westerly, waves up to 1/2m, wave board use.
Westerly, fairly flat to swells, slalom and wave board.
South westerly, dead on shore and we run parallel to the beach, sometimes up to the Mordy pier and back to the Edithvale Life Saving Club.
Southerly (the direction we love!), fairly flat (to about 20 knots), slalom board. Over 20 knots, 2 m waves and wave gear. Over 30 knots, go somewhere else.
SSE, fairly flat, slalom and wave boards.
Gnotuk can change from "easily handled" to "a real bitch" in less than 2 hours, if the wind picks up strongly from the south and there is also a rising tide. The water changes from excellent slalom conditions to challenging wave conditions combined with wind "dead spots" as you're trying to get out.
In these southerlies, near the north end of the car park, we have noticed that there can be a 2 m wave and of course, that's where we want to be when we're going out on our wave gear. Unfortunately, we have also noticed that there is a wind flat spot in this area, so if you're going out and you miss a jump and fall in, suddenly the wind drops 4 or 5 knots, but the 2m waves just keep on coming AND, as they have a period of about 5 seconds, you tend to get well and truly done in the "washing machine". Under these conditions, you tend to perfect your fast water starts very quickly!
The other thing that is a real challenge at Gnotuk, is the very choppy water in southerly winds above 20 knots. There have been times when we've been heading into shore with swells coming from out in the Bay, when suddenly a another swell will come on you that is running parallel to the beach! This can get mighty interesting when the two swells meet. If you see it in time, it affords a tremendous opportunity to jump the board right in front of your friends. Mind you, if you fudge the jump, you can be greeted by howls of laughter from your ex-friends.
The choppy water is a real challenge when gybing. Not only are you trying to carve the board, flip the sail, and move your feet at the right time etc., you have the added complication that the board may be going UP on chop, or it might be going DOWN off chop. If you can gybe successfully in a 20 knot sou'-wester at Gnotuk, you can gybe anywhere in the world!
Unfortunately, facilities at Gnotuk are poor: there is a toilet block located in the life-saving club, about 300m from the rigging area. There is no fresh water in the rigging area. There are plenty of car parking spaces, but in summer, it pays to get there early because of the number of swimmers who like to go there (a wide beach, clear water and gentle waves attract many families to this area). Four dollars is the current all-day car-parking fee and in summer, you can expect the grey ghosts to hit the car park about 4 times each day, booking evil-doers.
The regular sailors include Pommy Mick (very shy and difficult to talk to - NOT!), Tingles (who, if you are quiet when you sail up on him from behind, can often be heard singing to himself), Teabags (a hard charger on both slalom and wave gear), Markus (a real wave head, who won't go out unless it's really crankin'), The Brothers (who only have wave boards, so if they turn up, big things are expected) and Adrian (who, at 67 is slowing down a bit, but who can generally sail past you on his BiC Rap/KA sail combination). The members of the group tend to watch out for the learners who sometimes get into trouble and this scribe has been pulled in at least twice by various group members (thanks guys!).
Gnotuk is a challenge to master on a big day, but at the same time, it often provides wonderful slalom sailing in winds up to 20 knots.
Closest shops are Mordy Surf and Sail and Sailboard
Click here for a map of the area