Isidoro, The Arguineguin Surfing Legend
By Daniel Alcock
In every surf spot in the world there are ‘local' surfers, those who have surfed there all their lives and have lived through all the experiences the surf spot has had to offer. Here in Arguineguin, the undisputed local is Isidoro.
Synonymous with the surf scene in Arguineguin and famous right around the island, Isidoro has surfed here since the age of 7 and has lived through all the changes in Arguineguin, on and off the water. On top of this, he is by far the most talented surfer in the region, participating in competitions around the Canaries and travelling around the world.
Speaking with Isidoro, he is a humble, kind man who lives for surf. His enthusiasm shows clearly; he truly lights up when talking about surf and the waves at his beloved ‘Callao' (the beach stretching from the restaurant ‘Fusion' up to the cement factory).
Asking Isi about the differences he sees today, he indicates that a major issue is fewer and fewer waves. Be it climatic change or due to the sea defences built nearby, the beach doesn't provide waves with the frequency of the old days. It is true, however, that the man made ‘corner' toward the harbour has shortened the length of the waves by a third.
An increasing issue is pollution here on the beach in Arguineguin. There has been a steady increase in contamination and he and many others have suffered from skin irritations from surfing there. All Callao surfers believe that authorities should really take more responsibility for their beach management policies and not just the popular tourist beaches.
Surfboards Made in the Forest...
One of the most interesting things to note about the early years of surfing in Arguineguin was the surfer settlements. The campsite next to the football stadium was once forested and had become home to hippies and surfers alike. Surfers from all around the world (Hawaii, California, England and Australia) lived here - as well as in settlements in Tauro and Aldea. They fished, surfed the waves and enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle and fantastic Arguineguin sunsets. Isi explains they were real influences on the Arguineguin children; he recalls they weren't just average surfers, these were very high standard, well respected surfers of the era and taught him and the others to surf well. So extensive was the surf community here, guys were even building surfboards from their forest hippy commune!
Times changed and these people moved on. The kids of this era were growing up and Isidoro, now a standout surfer on the island, was entering competitions all around the island, in Lloret (Las Palmas) Los Henanos (Arucas), Playa Del Hombre (Telde), Maspalomas (San Bartolome) and even a European contest in Tenerife. During this time, he was sponsored by the surf companies Creatures of Leisure, Nev, Ocean Earth, Moss, and Gordon Smith. The other surfer kids are still here, surfing regularly and following more conventional lives. Some fell victim to drugs and are now not surfing, a constant reminder to the children, Isi says, to stay away from drugs.
Isidoro continued to live his life closely related to the sea and worked for many years fishing off the coast all around the Canary Islands. He has also worked in the construction industry but has now returned to fishing, feeling his life is naturally tied to the sea.
He is a real inspiration to the children in the area, helping them to surf better and supporting them in and out of the water and all of us at Surf Experience club really appreciate his time and advice in the water. He is truly a charismatic, living legend in the town. Isi constantly reminds the kids that although it is important to be focused on surfing, it should be at all times fun and, above all, the importance of studying - he says if he had spent more time studying he would be able to surf a lot more often now.
Isidoro, at 32 years old, is now enjoying the best level of performance in his life and has a beautiful daughter - and future surf world champion, he adds! Maika, 3 years old, already shows that she has her father's energy levels and simulates on dry land paddling and standing on a surfboard! Isidoro, his supportive girlfriend Anita and Maika live next to his favourite surf spot in a quiet area of Arguineguin. He is currently sponsored by Tropical Brasil Surfboards and Ocean Earth Surf Company. He would like to thank all of his sponsors over the years, particularly Oscar at Tropical Brasil, who has given him so much support during his recent career.
The next time you are in Arguineguin, head to Callao Beach and have a look. If there are waves, Isidoro and friends will be in the water for sure!