Surfing in Lanzarote
Greet the fiery heart of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote, a surfer’s paradise where waves are as hot as the volcanic landscape that envelopes the island. Lanzarote, often dubbed the “Hawaii of Europe,” is a magical mecca that’s teeming with surf spots for every kind of wave rider. The island’s dramatic landscape, sculpted by historical volcanic eruptions, mirrors into its surf with a blend of wild reef breaks, sandy beaches, and hollow tubes. Whether you’re a frothy beginner thirsty for that first green wave, or a seasoned surf warrior ready to charge the iconic waves at La Santa, Lanzarote has got your surf cravings covered. The island is steeped in surf culture, with surf schools, board rental shops, and a community of local and international surfers creating an electrifying surf vibe. From the buzzing surf town of Famara to the untouched surf spots in Orzola, the island will lure you into its volcanic charm and leave you stoked with unforgettable surf memories. So pack your wetsuit, wax up your board, and get ready to surf the volcanic waves of Lanzarote.
Where to Surf in Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s varied coastline serves up a multitude of surf spots for riders of all levels.
For beginners, Playa de Famara is a top choice. Situated on the northwest coast, this long sandy beach has consistent surf, warm waters, and a laid-back vibe. The beach breaks here produce gentle white water waves, ideal for learning and refining the basics.
Intermediate surfers have an array of options. Playa de San Juan in the north is known for its long peeling waves and a mix of sandy bottom and reef, offering a step-up from the beach breaks. Also, check out El Quemao, the “European Pipeline,” for a challenging ride when conditions are mellow.
For advanced surfers, Lanzarote offers several world-class reef breaks. El Quemao at its full power is a challenging, heavy wave, best left to experienced surfers. La Santa Right, also known as “The Slab,” is a powerful right-hander that breaks over a shallow lava reef, producing epic barrels.
On the east coast, you’ll find more sheltered spots like Costa Teguise and Arrieta, which can be great alternatives when the west coast is too wild.
Remember, many of the spots in Lanzarote are reef breaks, and some can be shallow and sharp. Booties can be a good idea, especially when surfing for the first time in a spot.
No matter your skill level, Lanzarote offers a spot to satisfy your surfing needs. With stunning landscapes as your backdrop and crystal clear Atlantic waters beneath your board, surfing in Lanzarote is an experience like no other. Dive in and discover the magic for yourself!
When to surf in Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s consistent swell, warm waters, and year-round surfable conditions make it a go-to surf destination, no matter the season.
For beginners, the summer months from May to August provide smaller, manageable waves, perfect for learning and mastering the basics. The water temperature is at its warmest during these months, hovering around a pleasant 22°C, meaning you can comfortably surf in boardshorts or a bikini.
Intermediates may find the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) more appealing. These periods offer a great balance of waves, not too intimidating, yet still powerful enough to push your skills to the next level.
The winter months from November to February are a magnet for advanced surfers. This period welcomes powerful Atlantic swells, turning Lanzarote’s breaks into world-class wave-riding venues. The water temperature can drop to around 17°C during these months, so a 3/2mm wetsuit is usually recommended.
Remember, Lanzarote, like the rest of the Canary Islands, is known as the “Islands of Eternal Spring,” with mild weather and plenty of sunshine throughout the year. This gives you plenty of opportunities to hit the waves and soak up the island’s natural beauty, both in and out of the water.
The island is exposed to a variety of swell directions, but the most common and best swells come from the northwest. Always remember to check the surf forecast before heading out, respect the local surfers and the power of the ocean, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!
Culture and Non-Surfing Activities in Lanzarote
Lanzarote’s vibrant culture and diverse landscapes make it a haven for more than just surf. When you’re not chasing the island’s epic waves, there’s a world of discovery awaiting you on this enchanting volcanic island.
Explore the unique volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National Park. It’s like stepping onto another planet, with its lunar-like terrain and smouldering volcanoes. You can tour the park on a camel or enjoy a guided bus tour to marvel at the dramatic lava fields and otherworldly rock formations.
For a cultural deep-dive, visit the house of the famous local artist and architect César Manrique. Manrique’s influence is seen across the island, with his harmonious blending of nature and architecture. The César Manrique Foundation, located in the artist’s former home, is a must-visit to understand his work and influence on Lanzarote.
Taste the island’s culinary delights, with its rich Spanish cuisine complemented by unique local dishes. The seafood here is exceptional, often caught fresh that morning. Don’t miss out on sampling some local wine either, grown in the island’s unique volcanic soil, providing it with a distinct flavor.
For those in search of a more active rest day, the island offers superb hiking, mountain biking, and even paragliding. You can also dive into the clear waters for snorkeling or diving to explore the vibrant marine life.
At the end of the day, head to the old town of Teguise or the stylish marina of Puerto Calero to soak up the local nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a quiet bar, a tasty tapas place, or a vibrant club to dance the night away, Lanzarote’s got you covered.
From the unique volcanic landscapes, rich culture, to the gastronomic delights, Lanzarote offers a wealth of non-surfing activities to make your surf trip an unforgettable all-around adventure.
“Know before you go” surfing in Lanzarote
Embarking on a surf trip to Lanzarote is sure to be an adventure, but there are some key things to know before you hit those volcanic waves.
One, remember that Lanzarote is part of Spain and the European Union. This means you should check for any visa requirements if you’re traveling from outside the EU.
Safety in the water is paramount. Many of the surf spots here are powerful reef breaks. Respect the local conditions and don’t paddle out if it’s beyond your skill level. Always check the surf forecast before you head out, and remember to wear a good reef bootie to protect against sharp volcanic reefs.
When it comes to equipment, there are plenty of surf shops around for hiring boards, wetsuits, and other gear. However, if you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer with a preferred board, it may be beneficial to bring your own.
Health insurance that covers surfing is a must. Keep in mind that healthcare in Spain is excellent, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Lastly, respect the local culture and environment. Lanzarote is a Biosphere Reserve with a unique natural heritage. Keep the beaches clean, respect local customs, and always follow the surf etiquette.
The volcanic island of Lanzarote is a paradise for surfers, with its consistent waves and beautiful landscapes. Knowing these tips and precautions will ensure that your trip is not just memorable, but also safe and respectful to this wonderful island. So wax up your board, slap on the sunblock, and get ready for a surf trip you’ll never forget!