Surfing in Tenerife
Welcome to Tenerife, one of the most vibrant and surf-rich islands in the Canary archipelago. This volcanic island is more than just the home of the awe-inspiring Mount Teide – it’s a surf haven endowed with quality waves, warm waters, and a diverse array of surf breaks to suit all levels. The coastline is a beautiful patchwork of black sand beaches, rocky points, and reef breaks, all bathed by the Atlantic swells. From the mellow beach breaks of Playa de Las Americas to the heavy tubes of Spanish Left, Tenerife offers a plethora of options that cater to beginners, cruisy longboarders, and adrenaline-seeking advanced surfers alike. Tenerife’s surf culture is vibrant and welcoming, and its surf scene isn’t just about the epic waves – it’s a whole lifestyle, where post-surf tapas, chill-out beach bars, and stunning sunsets are integral parts of the daily rhythm. Whether you’re a seasoned wave rider or a newbie looking to get your feet wet, Tenerife’s surf is sure to enchant you.
Where to Surf in Tenerife
Tenerife is a real playground for surfers, with a variety of surf spots scattered around the island. Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced surfer, you’ll find a wave that suits your skill level.
Starting with the north, El Socorro is a black-sand beach break known for its powerful, consistent waves that work best with a NW swell. This spot is suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers. Not too far away, Martiánez offers a right-hand point break that works beautifully in W-NW swells.
For beginners, Playa de las Americas on the southwestern coast is an excellent choice. It’s a sandy beach break offering manageable waves perfect for those learning to surf. Another spot suitable for beginners and intermediates is Playa de Alcalá, located in the western part of the island, boasting a mix of beach and reef breaks.
Advanced surfers should make a beeline for Spanish Left (also known as Izquierda Española or La Izquierda) near Playa de las Americas. This notorious left-hand reef break is one of Tenerife’s heaviest waves and can produce epic tubes on a good day.
Lastly, if you’re into big wave surfing, check out the infamous spot “El Bunker” near Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is a serious wave and requires expert skills and knowledge. It’s Tenerife’s big wave spot when swells roll in during winter months.
When to surf in Tenerife
Tenerife, often referred to as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” is a year-round surfing destination, thanks to its mild climate and consistent swells. However, depending on your skill level and what you’re looking for in a wave, certain times of the year might be more suitable than others.
Beginners will find the summer months (June to August) more welcoming. During this period, the waves are smaller and more manageable, perfect for those taking their first steps in the surfing world. You’ll also enjoy warm water temperatures around 22-24°C, so you’ll only need a light wetsuit or just a rash guard.
For intermediate and advanced surfers, the winter months (November to February) bring in larger swells from the North Atlantic, generating powerful waves perfect for those seeking a more thrilling experience. During this time, the water temperature drops a bit to around 19-21°C, so a 3/2mm wetsuit is recommended.
The shoulder seasons of Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to October) offer a balanced mix of conditions suitable for all levels. The crowds are fewer, and the conditions are a nice blend of the summer’s mellowness and the winter’s vigor.
Regardless of when you choose to surf in Tenerife, the island’s abundant sunshine, breathtaking landscapes, and reliable waves make it a delightful surf destination at any time of the year. As always, remember to respect the locals, the ocean, and the environment to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
Culture and Non-Surfing Activities in Tenerife
While Tenerife is a surfer’s paradise, it’s also brimming with cultural experiences, natural wonders, and non-surfing activities that can enrich your trip.
Tenerife’s culture is a vibrant mix of Spanish traditions and Canary Island uniqueness. You can taste this blend in the local cuisine – try Papas Arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with Mojo, or indulge in fresh seafood paired with local wines.
Historical towns like La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offer a peek into Tenerife’s past with its colonial architecture and beautiful old churches. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the local markets, like Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África in Santa Cruz, for a sensory feast of colors, scents, and flavors.
The island’s natural beauty is breathtaking. Mount Teide National Park, centered around the highest peak in Spain, is a must-visit. Hike or take a cable car to admire the stunning lunar landscapes and unique flora. If you’re into stargazing, Tenerife, recognized as a Starlight Tourist Destination, offers crystal clear night skies perfect for astronomy enthusiasts.
Water sports enthusiasts can also enjoy kite-surfing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, or scuba diving in Tenerife’s clear Atlantic waters. Whale and dolphin watching tours are popular too, with a chance to see these creatures in their natural habitat.
For those who love the night scene, the island comes alive with music, from traditional Spanish flamenco to modern jazz and electronic music. Check out the beachfront bars and clubs in Playa de Las Americas for a night to remember.
Tenerife’s blend of natural wonders, rich culture, and diverse activities complement its surf scene, making it a destination where every day offers a new adventure. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, a foodie, or just someone who loves to surf and chill, Tenerife will captivate your heart.
“Know before you go” surfing in Tenerife
Before heading to Tenerife for a surf trip, it’s essential to gather some key information that will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.
Firstly, Tenerife is part of Spain, which means that the currency used is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand, especially for small transactions or in more remote areas.
Secondly, although English is spoken in most tourist areas, the official language is Spanish. Learning a few basic phrases in Spanish can greatly enhance your interactions with locals and deepen your travel experience.
When it comes to surfing, remember that the ocean around Tenerife can be powerful and unpredictable. Check the surf forecast and understand your limits. Not all beaches are patrolled by lifeguards, so surf within your capabilities and always respect the local surf etiquette.
Be aware that the island can be quite busy, especially during peak holiday seasons. If you prefer a quieter surf experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.
Health and travel insurance that covers surfing is crucial. Medical facilities on the island are of a high standard, but it’s always best to be covered in case of accidents or unexpected illness.
If you’re not from the EU, check if you need a visa to enter Spain. Usually, a tourist visa allows for stays of up to 90 days.
Lastly, Tenerife is renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity. Please respect local laws and customs, protect the environment, and leave only footprints.
Armed with these tips and a healthy dose of excitement, you’re ready to embark on your surfing adventure in Tenerife. Enjoy the waves, the culture, and the stunning natural beauty that this incredible island has to offer!