Tenerife seems to get less coverage as a windsurfing destination than the other Canarian islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote but it has some excellent and varied conditions to offer and very good wind stats. It also has a reputation as a mass tourist destination but it has more to offer than that label suggests. With cheap and easy access from all over the UK, it is a great choice for anyone of intermediate standard or better. All of the windsurfing action is concentrated at El Medano in the South of the island, whereas the mass tourism is miles away at the other end of the island.
How to get there
Tenerife is extremely easy to get to with frequent flights from most UK airports. We flew from Bristol and had a choice from BA, Excel, Thomas Cook, Thomson, etc. The charter flights vary hugely in price from about £60 to over £340 depending on the holiday season. BA’s scheduled flight can work out cheaper in busy periods. George’s BA ticket for a flight in the week before Easter was considerably cheaper (at £260) than any of the charter flights when booked two months before. Graham’s ticket leaving a week earlier however was just £60, so pick your dates carefully! BA’s new baggage restrictions (23kg per bag) make it difficult to take your own kit, so bear that in mind when choosing a flight.
You arrive at Reina Sofia (TFS) airport which is a short ride to El Medano.
How the Wind Works
Tenerife’s awesome reputation has come about from an extremely consistent North-east trade wind which allows all year round cross-onshore wave riding. When checking forecasts for the area, a key tip is to double whatever Windguru is predicting when in a north easterly direction, as the wind accelerates around the huge volcano of Mount Tiede. However, as we found out, the entire bay can be transformed into a freestyle paradise with the arrival of southerly winds. Southerly winds can also be a lot stronger than what is forecasted.
Unlike many other places in the world, Tenerife is lucky enough to boast excellent conditions in all disciplines from super-flat freestyle territory to world class wave sailing locations, all located relatively close to each other in four main sailing areas.
This is the largest of the four playgrounds and offers excellent bump and jump conditions with everyone from intermediates to experts enjoying the friendly atmosphere while they blast endlessly back and forth through playful chop and rolling swell. A huge positive for this area is that the trade winds allow almost completely undisturbed wind right to the inside of the bay onto a vast sandy beach making for ideal landing and launching. Although you do see beginners in South Bay, it is not ideal for learning because of the chop and sometimes tricky shore dump when the wind is in the prevailing North-east.
Muelle (Harbour Wall)
The harbour wall marks the upwind edge and windiest part of the bay and in just a few tacks you could be enjoying an extremely playful wave (with cross-onshore winds) which breaks onto the reef on the outer edge of the wall. Do not fear: due to a sharp drop off, the reef is relatively deep, meaning wipe-outs rarely result in an encounter with the reef and if you do make a wrong turn a strong current, which runs along the edge of the wall, will ensure that you will be taken out of harm’s way and into deeper water. This perfect combination produces conditions that all can enjoy from entry-level wave sailing to hot shots.
Those experts among you - listen up! Cabezo is in theory the next bay round but can easily be accessed by taking a few more tacks past the harbour wall. Once there, you have entered a professionals’ playground with the highest local standard I have seen; forward loops are basic and manoeuvres seen on the PWA are common place. Everyone gives 110% as this is what Cabezo requires, otherwise Mother Nature punishes you and your kit on the various reefs and rocks. However, when it is going off you can be blessed with the moments that stay in your minds eye forever. In fact it has even held various PWA events in years gone by.
La Tajita (la - ta - heater)
The fourth and final area is just around the corner from El Medano and takes a maximum of 2 minutes by car to get to. It is a freestyle paradise, offering perfectly flat water and a slightly stronger wind than South Bay. Whereas it might be 5.2 weather in South Bay, La Tajita will be 4.7 or smaller. It can provide absolute perfection when cracking those first carve gybes or nailing the latest mind-boggling freestyle trick.