Surfin' Gran Canaria, the Hawaii of the Atlantic
Undoubtedly, for the dedicated surfer, the most important similarity between Hawaii and Gran Canaria is excellent surf! Like Hawaii, Gran Canaria is recipient to waves (swell) from a long way away (fetch) which arrives with great quality and consistency. These waves roll in uninterrupted until they reach the steep volcanic shelf where they then form as surfable waves, breaking with maximum power over the lava reefs and beaches.
Where are the waves?
The most consistent swells come in from the north and north-west, so it is the north coast, (Las Palmas to Galdar) our 20 km north shore, which functions the most. Here lie world famous spots such as El Confital and El Fronton which are host to the ASP World Tour surf and bodyboard events every year, producing spectacular waves in the right conditions. Right over this north shore, there are various beaches and reefs which offer good waves depending on metrological conditions and tidal states. As Hawaii, with its 360 degree swell window, Gran Canaria also receives very good days in the east and south/southwest coasts.
Where did it all start?
Surfing started on the island in the 1970s when traveling British and American surfers started exploring the Canaries. From this moment, local surf communities began to arise and now the island has quite a large local surfer population. Talking with the old-timers is very interesting; it would seem that in the 1970s, there was a high number of foreign surfers here, and many lived in the then forested "El Callao" beach in Arguineguin. A seemingly idyllic existence, these surfers from the hippy age lived in the forest and surfed the occasionally perfect reefbreak.
These times passed and the Canarians started to make a mark on the surf scene, with increasingly outstanding performances in competions around the world.
What makes a surfer?
Now we are seeing a boom in the surf industry and a massive increase in surf awareness. Practically every youngster wants to try it, Canarian locals and visiting tourists alike. Gran Canaria offers a great place to begin with its wide variety of beginner to expert beaches. So what makes a surfer? Obviously the traditional surf dude/dudete always chasing the perfect wave is the stereotypical image, but arguably, any person in the water enjoying the waves is the "surfer". I am very lucky to be here on the island teaching surfing and watching the enjoyment of the beginners in the water. With the right attitude, the sport is as much fun on the first day as it is for the professional contests surfer, and these beginners are every much a surfer as the pro. I love surfing, but I also get great pleasure from working with the children in my club. It is amazing what a little water does to the child's esteem, physical form and mental outlook, and, oh yeah - they are becoming great little surfers too!
So don't miss out on this exciting sport. This island has a lot to offer the prospective surfer or mere spectator! Take a surf class, sign the kids up or just take a roadtrip to the north coast to see what it's all about, you don't even have to get into the water to enjoy the waves! Call Danny on 686 211 996 or 677 704 981 to find out more information about how to be a surfer for a day!