Picking up your board, plunging into the water, riding the waves and feeling the wind, water, salt and adrenaline. Once you have experienced it, there is no turning back: surfing is addictive. For this reason, surfers, whether keen amateurs or professionals, travel the world in search of the perfect wave. Some of the lucky ones find the paradise that is Lanzarote. Together with the other Canary Islands it is considered to be the Atlantic Ocean’s Hawaii.
The island offers an unsurpassed setting for devotees of the surfboard. Long sunny days, a stable climate, a powerful sea with strong winds and water at a constant 20 degrees. Furthermore, the island is a lure for surfers all year round. However the waves are best in winter, since from November to March they reach their highest, breaking at between 1.5 and 4 metres high.
One of the best sites (or spots, as surfers have it) to engage in this pursuit is the wonderful beach of Famara. Six kilometres long, it is a perpetual source of wind and waves. From the early morning, you can see wetsuited surfers bobbing around in the swell. One by one, new arrivals do a little stretching, jog down the beach and enter the water. From a distance, the surging waves appear dotted with colours as they rise and fall. And so on, again and again.
A little further out, almost where the sea touches the sky, kite surfers do their gymnastics. Here, it is the wind that takes the surfers skimming across the surface of the ocean at impressive speeds.
If you stand on the beach, on your right is the Risco de Famara, a giant cliff that towers 500 metres above the Atlantic. On clear days, from the top, the broad windows of the El Río viewpoint give views of La Graciosa and the other islands of the Chinijo archipelago.
This beach is a great spot for beginners. It is very spacious, so no surfer jams, and its range of breaks means if has various kinds of wave, offering aficionados different levels of difficulty. What is more, you can find a number of surf schools and huts that offer equipment hire for those looking to get into the sport.
One of the features that makes Lanzarote so attractive to visiting surfers is a wave called El Quemao, one of the most sought-after and dangerous waves in the world. The wave, which has even been compared to Hawaii’s legendary Pipeline, can be found at a spot in the north of the island opposite the port of La Santa. Here, when the south wind blows, waves of up to three metres with perfect tube formations appear. El Quemao is a mountain of fast moving water: only high level riders need apply. This is also the venue for Quemao Class, a surfing meet that attracts professionals from all over the world, ready to try their skills against this mighty wave.
Every visit to Lanzarote should include a least one days’ surfing. As a place to ride the waves it can hardly be beaten, and as an activity, surfing offers the chance to get in touch with the sea and enjoy the good atmosphere among the surfing community. Furthermore, while floating around several dozen metres from the shore, waiting for that perfect wave, it is a great opportunity to feast your eyes on the island’s landscape. Just one warning: try it once and you might be hooked forever.