Words: Kai-Nicolas Steimer
Kai Nicolas Steimer is a Fanatic sponsored paddler who visited Fuerteventura to check out the SUP potential there. A long standing location for the Euro surfing community here’s Kai’s take on the ‘windy isle‘.
At first glance Fuerteventura doesn’t appear to offer much for the traveller – a sparse and desolate island. But if you get yourself into it you’ll come to appreciate if not even love it. One of its many names is island of luck. This name seems to fit especially in regard to surfers and stand up paddlers – no other offers so many surf spots as the second largest: Fuerteventura. This is due to the latest volcanic activity 50.000 years ago. The island grew bigger in the north resulting in the popular surf spots of the north shore.
There are three villages in the north in which the surfers take up residence. Cotillo has a long stretched beach with a beach break that is popular and notorious all at once. Though stand up paddlers aren’t very welcome there. A little further lies the village Lajares. A former hippie stronghold it still emits an alternative lifestyle. Life is a little slower and besides a supermarket and some restaurants there’s not much more to discover.
Fuerteventura is an island full of options, you just need to look for them. For every barrelling break there is usually a more forgiving one 100 metres away. For SUP there is Majanicho, a progressive playground blending cruising and shredding conditions in one space, as well as Waikiki and Rocky Point.
And then there’s Corralejo, the biggest town in the north. It’s the tourist centre and offers everything one can wish for. It also has a booming nightlife with surfer bars like the Banana close to the quay.
The bay of Corralejo is ideal for paddling and on days with good wave conditions there are two wave spots directly in town. Waikiki is a great wave for beginners which breaks in the bay when there’s low water. A little further lies Rocky Point, probably the most well-known spot of the island. On good days you can catch quite big waves there. With light wind there’s the possibility of paddling to the close by island of Lobos. It’s a 3.5km distance which only skilled paddlers should attempt. Everyone else can take the ferry which runs several times daily.
On days without waves it’s worthwhile checking out the rest of the island. You can discover great places like Los Molinos. The tiny fishermen’s village at the western cliff coast provides breathtaking scenery. In the town’s small fish restaurant you can enjoy authentic Spanish food in an indigenous atmosphere. The paella they serve is probably the best you can get on the whole island. Also try one of the typical Tapas Bars – you’ll love it!
When the first inhabitants from North Africa came to the island in 500BC they found about 60.000 wild goats – the trademark of the island still today. As is the cheese which is made of goat milk.
Close to Corralejo, on the island’s east coast, Parque Naturel spreads out. A unique dunescape that stretches along the coast. Taking a hike up Red Mountain is well worth the effort – up there you can enjoy incredible views across the parque and over to Lanzarote. The mountain lies between Corralejo and Parque Holandés.
The best time to make a SUP trip to Fuerteventura is during the winter months. During that time the probability for swell is high and the wind doesn’t blow as strong as in summer. Due to SUP being a relatively young sport it is not as recognised yet and stand up paddlers often aren’t welcome at every spot. Still, there’s a lot of potential along the north coast and some of the spots will develop as SUP spots.
Searching for a good location on your own requires good information about the island and the conditions. Rule number one is never go out when you don’t see any locals surfing. The spots in the north shouldn’t be underestimated – they can surprise the surfer with sharp reefs, strong currents and giant waves that often look much smaller when you’re stood on the beach.
Fuerteventura Spot guide
This is one of the best SUP spots of the island as it’s a little off the beaten track and less surfers go there. It’s mainly a righthand wave but also offers a left on small days. From really big to small waves the spot can deliver everything. Due to its exposed location on the north shore it gets a lot of wind and can become pretty choppy. The wave breaks along a reef with a good exit out of the wave to the right. This spot can only be recommended to paddlers who already have some wave experience and know the rules. The outside wave works at almost all water levels.
The spot also offers a small wave in the bay which, similar to the outside, breaks along the shore and can easily be exited on the right. This wave can pull a lot depending on the water level and becomes pretty steep before it breaks. For beginners it is better to not get too close to the peak. On good days there are lots of surfers and paddlers should be careful to not interfere with them. The inside works best at low tide.
This wave breaks in the middle of Corralejo’s bay and certainly is the best spot for beginners. Thanks to the deep location inside the bay the waves aren’t that strong and break relatively soft. It’s a great spot for the first steps in stand up surfing. During low tide watch out for the rocks that poke out of the water. When there’s a large swell big waves can break here which aren’t recommended for beginners.
Probably the best known spot on the island is Rocky Point, which more and more is becoming the centre of Fuerte’s SUP community. This spot offers everything from big to hip high waves. Mainly it’s a right which builds a nice peak thanks to the reef below. This spot is great for advanced paddlers who can handle strong waves and on good days are used to sharing the wave with others. Depending on the water level the wave breaks pretty far out in deep water.