I wanted to try a spot with ocean waves and side wind. That's why I accepted Roberto's proposal to go to El Medano, Tenerife. We were not lucky as far as the wind concerns, but our holiday was interesting, anyway, because Tenerife is an island that offers much to see.
Windsurf holiday: El Medano (Tenerife, Canary)
There were 4 of us who took part to the holiday, which started on 16th of april 2016, with a flight from North Italy. The week had been chosen in adavance, about at Christmas; so, we could not check for wind forecast. Booking so early, clearly, we could save money for the flight (Ryanair), and for apartment rental (booking.com).
When holiday was approaching, we began to understand that the week would not have been the best, as far as the wind concerns. Locals riders explained the matter, saying that it was due to the "Ninjo", that is disturbing general atmospheric circulation. Some low pressures passing at North of Canary islands, altered tipical air flow, that you have with stable meteo conditions, which is responsible for wind from North-East (Aliseo or Trade Winds). The best period for those wind is summer, even if they have told us that even the summer 2015 was abnormal. In the light of my experience, the advice is to go to Tenerife on prediction (of course, with higher expenses), except in July and August, when the Trade Winds should be secured.
In few words, we had wind good to get planing with large sails 3 days out of 8: two days with 7 meters sails, and one day with 5.8 - 6 meters sails, for me (70 kg). We maily use freeride boards about 110-120 liters (RRD firemove, Tabou Rocket Wide, and Angulo boards, which I have always combined with a valid Ezzy Cheetah of 7 meters); only one day I could, at least, try a Fanatic freewave 106 liters (with Ezzy Elite 6.1)..
We rented from Tenerife Windsurf Solution, fully stocked of the best brands equipment of the current year. I wanted also to rent wave boards, to try with appropriate conditions, to clear to me some doubts on the performance of this shape, but there was not a chance.
In any case, there are plenty of rental centers, at El Medano beach, and you have only to choose one. The last one, at the west side beach, is the Surf Center Medano, of Arne Gahmig, who I had already knew on web (he is the webmaster of Howtowindsurf101.com, and the producer of the magazine Windsurfwarriors). Finally, I met him in person.
Arne's Center has Naish equipment (very good stuff), and Arne is so friendly and kind (watch here a video of the center).
During the first two sessions, to tell the truth, we did not surf with Aliseo, but with an abnormal wind from the West / North-West, which, here, does not enter at the best, because of the presence of the Montana Roja, to the west, which disturbs. This kind of wind blows side, slightly offshore, and the conditions are absolutely of flat water. In the moment of greatest wind intensity (18-20 knots), the spot was immediately full of riders, evidently, hidden among the tourists in the rest of the time.
The third session (finally, a full day of surfing!) was held on Saturday 23, with the wind from the east/northeast, varying between 10-12 knots (in the morning), and 15-17 in the afternoon: a hint of Aliseo. In these conditions, we were surprised of how quickly the waves rose, also with little wind. In reality, however, they were modest waves, within a meter and a half "offshore" (but, in any case, within the bay), and 50 -100 cm, close to the shore. With Trade Wind at 20-40 knots, especially, if blowing from several days, significant waves must rise in El Médano Bay (accent on the E, and not on the A!). However, the real radical wave spot, here, is El Cabezo, immediately to the east of the village, where, if the wind is strong and the wave is formed, it is better to go out only if experts, as to shore there is a plateau of rocks, and especially the rock called Godzilla, ready .... to gobble up your equipment.
The waves that we encountered on the last day, anyway, were not good for waveriding, but only in descent on the way back to the beach, to facilitate the priming of planing, and, some jump hint, when going out.
The sea water was clear and transparent (friends have spotted a sea turtle, and an harmless shark during the rides), and already with a good temperature in April (around 20 ° C: I would say cool, not yet warm), I wore a 3/2 mm wetsuit. The air temperature was wonderful: 24-28 ° C during the day, dry, and 18-20 ° C, the minimum night.
For further information, you can read the spot review in the proper waterwind section.
Wind lacking pushed us to go exploring the island, and, also, to take a dangerous road.... (wine and food directed...).
From the first point of view, the island offers plenty of nice places for those who intend to go to its discovery. To be honest, however, I did not like the south coast. The Trade Winds discharge their moisture on the north side, and the south is much more arid, and desert like, with very sparse vegetation at low altitudes. Some stretches of the coast, however, are striking, with coves, rocks and cliffs overlooking the sea, which offer beautiful glances (in particular, at San Miguel de Tajao).
But the worst damage, as usual, has been made by men....
Property speculation is a matter here, and the South Coast, and especially the South-West one, is dotted with huge tourist complexes, not suited to the natural landscape, in my opinion.
El Medano is a small village after all, but with lots of cube like buildings. Only few residential complexes are architecturally more pleasant. However, the promenade and the main square are nice, with some bars / restaurants where you can take a drink, and have breakfast or dinner. Even El Medano beach is suggestive (dark sand), with Montana Roja in the background, but, personally, in Greece, Sardinia, France and even Spain (Menorca), I think I have seen much more spectacular beaches.
Los Cristianos and Las Americas are icons of property speculation. They are entertainment factories, where, walking during night in certain streets, you'll be continuosly be invited to enter night clubs and pubs, by some strange guys, and where you'll notice some drunk guys on sidewalks.
Anyway, at Las Americas you can enjoy some swell, good for wave surfing (some rental centers on the beach), during no wind days.
But if you get away from South Coast, and head North, or up towards Pico del Teide (the only active volcano left of more than 400 you have on the island), you'll discover a fascinating island (totally different from the one you can see at South).
Driving up to Pico del Teide is a must! We went there driving from El Medano, passing through Granadilla de Abona, and Villaflor. From 500-600 meters above sea level, vegetation becomes bushier. From 1500 up to 2000 meters, you meet wonderful Canary Pine woods.
Then, at 2000 metri, you get into volcano caldera. Striking! At the center, Pico del Teide rises up to 3718 meters. On winter time, it is covered with snow (in spring and summer, only some spots).
You can get a cableway to go up, or go trekking, if you prefer (but it's not so easy, so think well of what you're doing). From the top, you can enjoy a great landscape.
On the top, it may be very cold (also in summer time). So, get properly dressed! The very top of the moutain is reachable only on foot, asking a licence to the natural Park. We suggest to buy cableway tickets online, to avoid standing in a queue for a long time; in summer time, it is compulsory, otherwise.... you won't get up...
The island is covered by a good roads web, with the "autopista" TF-1 (an highway) which almost run all around (except a brief stretch in the North). We also visited Santa Cruz, the main town of the Island, which I found pretty nice.
There, you have a worth of note modern library/cultural center, and the "Mercado Nuestra Señora de Africa", a stable market, mainly for food, and flowers, and where you'll find some exceptional fish shops, at the underground floor.
At North of Santa Cruz, you find Playa de Las Teresitas, which is very nice (typical tropical beach, with white sand, and palm tree near the shore), and the village of Igueste de San Andres, with some small white or coloured houses, more typical in such a place.
But, above all, you will find Anaga peninsula, with its steep and inaccessible mountains, covered with a luxuriant vegetation. Landscape reminds of Central America mountains (Andes). Some narrow and winding roads drive you down to villages and beaches on the coast.
To drive around the peninsula, you have to take the TF-12 at San Andres. This road is winding; so, weak people could suffer stomach ache. Be also careful to teenagers going down the road at full speed with their skateboards.....
We did not visit the rest of the North coast, but we think that it should be worth of doing. We only stopped to Acantilados des los Gigantes, where some spectacular cliffs begin (in the Teno Park). They are impressive. The best way to visit them is by boat (with possible sightings of whales), or on foot, doing a trekking tour. In particular, they told us that it is a must to trek in the barranco of Masca (700 meters downhill to the sea, reaching a beach where you can swim). What a pity that even Acantilados shines for building speculation.
I wrote above that in the first days we took a dangerous food and wine road.....
Well, the second evening of our holiday, by chance, we discovered the fishermen village of San Miguel de Tajao, about 10 km from El Medano, in the East direction. There, you have lots of simple restaurant , where you can eat the very good fresh fish of Tenerife sea (pescado). Well, that evening we tried the restaurant "Delicias del Mar", and we came there 5 times, in the following days (with two days of pause at home with a simple salad...)!
Deus ex machina of the restaurant, is Efrain Rodriguez Molina, Spanish from Córdoba, who serves you very warmly during you dinner. He is the son-in-low of the Cuban cook. The restaurant is very simple, but pleasant. You sit down to occupy a table (if you have not booked), and then you immediately get up to go in front of the fish counter to choose your meal: sea bream, sea bass, barracuda, alfonsini, boca negra, squids, cuttlefish, mussels, mantis, limpets, shrimps and prawns, ciupitos (fried little octopus: phenomenal). You can have the fish cooked according to some simple recipes suggested by Efrain (mostly grilled, anyway). Excellent desserts too. On reservation, even paella de mariscos, zasuela, and arroz caldoso.
Well, I realize that this report has a little gone out of the usual surfing track. But I think that it has provided useful insights to those who want to go to Tenerife, and not only do windsurfing, or should find little wind, as happened to us.
Of course, needless to say, the Aliseo came good on Sunday of our departure, and from the airplane I could film the bays of El Medano and El Cabezo, covered with the wakes of dozens of windsurfers (see video start)! Nice joke..... And to make matters worse, on Monday, the day after our return, I went out in Valmadrera (Lake Como - 30 minutes drive from where I live), with 25-30 knots Foehn wind, and with my 86 liters board, and 4.7 sail. What a laugh .... But so it is, and you have to take it philosophically.
Hang loose. Fabio
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To enjoy the whole slidegallery of our holiday, click here.
Below you have the videos of our windsurfing sessions (the second one with Go Pro).