Surfing Conditions in Fuerteventura
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. 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. This volcanic island only recently emerged from the Atlantic, is the second largest of the Canary Islands. The best surfing spots in the north are between Corralejo and Cotillo, around a dirt road known as the ‘North Track’. Most surfers stay in Corralejo because of the plentiful amenities.
Fuerteventura presents an arid, almost lunar landscape and is home to far more sandy beaches than the other islands. Strong winds are part of the deal, making this island a world-renowned windsurfing spot, but there are plenty of waves to be found in the calmer winter months. The north coast is packed with exposed reefs that pick up all the swells from W round to E and the waves range in intensity from the challenging tubes of Lobos to the mellow walls of Derecha de los Alemanes.
The long west coast offers open, rock-strewn beachbreak that is offshore in NE winds but anywhere south of Cotillo is isolated and currents can be extreme. The far south has a couple of quality set-ups waiting for the right conditions but it is a long drive down and the chance of getting skunked is high. The east coast is surfed up near Corralejo where bright white sands cover some nice little reefs and beginners can get some space but if the NEÕer is blowing then the wind and kite rigs will be flying all over the place.
Summer can get surprisingly big on the east coast and there is potential for exploration but it is usually onshore. The depths of winter are going to be the best bet when the wind is lighter and more E than N. Early starts are advisable to beat the wind and the crowds, while siesta time matches the strongest wind period of the day. Summer can still have some good waves at the west and east coast beachbreaks.
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.
Top Surf Spots
Rocky Point – Punta Helena – Corralejo
Right hand reef break.
One of the island’s most popular breaks. When the other breaks start to close out it can get a bit crowded.
El Muelle – Harbour Wall – Corralejo
Left hand reef that wraps around for a long fast ride, occassionally barrelling but beware – at certain times the barrel section is very powerful and shallow.
Bristol – Shooting Gallery – Corralejo
Left hand reef.
Fast and hollow.intense at low – a little more forgiving at high. Very popular local spot with a small take-off area so either come early or mind your manners.
Left hand reef with a long wall – not too intense unless it’s huge. At high tide there are occassional fun, fast rights to be had – Kick out before you hit the rocks.
A fickle and seldom surfed reef breaking in shallow water. Well named as mistakes can be costly. It’s to the right of Mejillonas.
Mejillonas – Mechihonas
Big wave spot with shifting peaks and heavy hold downs. Picks up more swell than most of the north and only shows its true colours on a decent swell.
At the end of the road from Lajares lies the small fishing village of Majanicho. To the right of the village lies a long righthander. Best at low to mid tide. Easier at high tide.
Also popular with windsurfers when the wind is up.
Divided into 3 wave spots :
1. El Hierro Derecha – The Bubble
Possibly the most well known and photographed of Fuerteventura’s waves.
An intense hollow right hander with excellent right hand barrels and short intense lefts. Powerful and shallow. A true board snapper.
2. El Hierro Izquierda – Hierro
A long powerful left with two peaks helpful in spreading the crowds. On the right swell and wind one of the finest fun waves to be had. Breaks in reasonably deep water. Good at all tides.
3. Derecha de Aleman – German Rights
So called because of the popularity of the german surf schools. another long right breaking in two spots which occassionally link up to give a long fast ride – excellent at low to mid tides – similar to Majanicho.
South of the village of Cotillo lies a long sandy beach, with many varying peaks. Typically with many beach breaks, the sandbars play a major role in the quality of the wave. Worth a look when there is no wind or its blowing an Easterly.
Further South from Cotillo lies a beach at the end of a gorge – quite difficult to find but worth a look. Works under similar conditions to Cotillo but has consistently better sandbars. Do not leave anything in your car.
Surf report, 5 days forecast
Puerto del Rosario
Punta del Tigre