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Northcore

Stormrider Guide to surfing Fuerteventura

Canary Islands, EUROPE


Fuerteventura surf at Las Salinas, Jose Gonzalez

Summary

+ Powerful lava reefbreaks - Sharp, shallow reefs
+ North track spot density - Strong winds
+ Great weather and water temps - Dangerous roads
+ Good resturants and nightlife - Wavesailing crowds

The best Fuerteventura surf spots are found between Corralejo and Cotillo, around a dirt road known as the 'North Track'. Most surfers stay in Corralejo because of the plentiful amenities.

The Canary Islands consist of seven large islands and six smaller ones, stretching 500km (313mi) east to west and 200 km (125mi) north to south. While Lanzarote is undoubtedly the best bet for world class conditions, Fuerteventura conceals many short, sucky lava reefs alongside the long sandy beaches that attract so many windsurfers. The island’s name comes from Fuerte (strong) and viento (wind). Every year in August, the world speed windsurfing championships are held while the biggest surf contest was the 1998 longboard world championship. This volcanic island only recently emerged from the Atlantic, is the second largest of the Canary Islands and the least developed island accessible by plane. Tenerife and Gran Canaria were first surfed by US servicemen in 1970 and word quickly spread, leading explorers to the easterly islands and their powerful, Pacificesque reefbreaks. There are 152 beaches including those on Isla los Lobos, amounting to 50km (31mi) of white sand and 25km (16mi) of black sand and shingle, but this accounts for a mere 22% of the total coastline of Fuerteventura.


When to Go

Fuerteventura and Lanzarote claim the best consistency in the Canaries due to their superior exposure to the N-NW swells that churn the North Atlantic from October to March. Most exposed reefbreaks will average 4-12ft (1.2-4m), the major waves being produced by the deepest lows slamming into Western Europe. Even small systems off of the US East Coast can send some swell to the west coast. Summer trades can produce surprisingly big east coast surf but it is usually very disorganised and wind blown Rare south swells are pushed in by strong winds in the late summer. The best conditions occur when the NE trades activity is low (Nov-Jan). In the early surf season, winds tend to blow more E-NE than N-NE until the trades get strong and regular from March. April to September gets very windy and the surf is usually small and erratic, so look hard for the right wind/swell combination. The 15km (9mi) channel between both islands focuses the wind on the North Track spots. Tides matter over sharp, shallow reefs with spring tides up to 6ft (2m), so get a chart from one of the many shops in Corralejo.

Surf Spots



Statistics

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell W -N W -NE NW -NE NW -NE W -NE W -N
swell size (ft) 5-6 5 4 2 4-5 5-6
consistency (%) 80 70 40 20 80 70
dominant wind N -E N -NE N -NE N -NE N -NE N -E
average force F4 F4 F4 F4 F3-F4 F4
consistency (%) 73 68 81 91 72 74
water temp (C) 18 18 19 22 22 20
wetsuit 3/2 3/2 3/2 springsuit springsuit springsuit

Travel Information

Weather
Fuerteventura enjoys a semi-arid subtropical climate, temps rarely dip below 20ºC (68ºF) and it hardly ever rains. Fuerte has the best sunshine of all the Canary Islands with an average of 2,938 hours/yr. Being only 84km (53mi) from the African coast, most of the east coast of the island is covered by white sand, blown in on Saharan winds. The worst phenomenon is ‘La Calima’, a strong E wind bringing downpours and red dust all over. The high wind factor raises the wind chill probability, in and out of the water. Combined with the coldish Canarys current, this means most winter days require a light fullsuit with occasional springsuit sessions in windless periods.

Lodging and Food
Avoid all-inclusive deals in east coast resorts. Most new apartments in Corralejo are built on the eastern outskirts of the town, 3kms away from the 'North Track', camping there is not legal. Favour Dunas Club, Sol y Mar or Bristol Playa Apartments (4p/$60). Hotel Corralejo is $25. The seafood is good, imported food is costly ($12 for meal)

Nature and Culture
Enjoy the semi-desert environment, and quiet holiday vibe. Try the Glass Bottom Boat to Lobos, the Camel Safari based at Jandia or visit Fortaleza del TostÛn. Great pubs and clubs as well: Corkys Surf Bar, Waikiki Club and Oink surfbar show latest surf vids.