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Today I want to spend few words on a spot I love that in the 90s was called the Mecca of windsurfing. Every surfer, to feel a serious one, had to have been there, and have sailed on its waters with the famous Levantino (East wind): Tarifa (see map at end of article)

 

Windsurf spot reviews: Tarifa, Andalusia (Spain)

Tarifa

It can be a good destination for families as well as for surfers of all levels. On August, it is usually cooled by the West Wind blowing from the Atlantic sea, and strengthens during the hottest hours in the northwest part of the long sandy wide beach of approximately 12 km, where children can dig holes and wives can bask in the sun. Let's say that 10/12 knots are guaranteed, but sometimes at 17 o'clock it gets stronger for an hour and even with a 5.5 and a 90lt you can have a funny and relaxing ride with the lycra and the much-loved flowered swimsuits. But we are not windsurfers and not kiters and 12 knots do not satisfy us for anything! And as all the windsurfers who are worth of respect (bastards inside) we hope in the East (Levante)....

Here " His Majesty the East " , they predict it , and he always comes , comes suddenly, the fan turns on, and the east, in a while, gets stronger, and stronger .... and then blows more or less constant for days and nights without ever giving respite, so much that the palm trees of the city in his "honor" are all bent to the west.

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The East for a windsurfer has the same effect as the bull that enters the arena for a bullfighter! Hombre, esta es Andalucia! The East always shoots bombs, and with his 40/50 knots brings the scorching heat of the hottest inland of Europe. Granada and Seville with the Levante touch 40°C also at 11 o'clock in the night! You go to the beach and the wind sweeps it all, sand and pebbles flying into the water, the direction pointing straight toward Cuba, then you surf with a side-shore wind, with the aggravating circumstance that almost 500 m from the shore the wind sprawls, gaining even some knotes more that really makes you shake your teeth. Water becomes full of chops (short and steep waves), it boils, atomize! Your board slams as to explode, reaching absurd speed, you breath adrenaline as well as iodine!
So you understand why shops sell 3.3 square meters sails!

My first holiday there was in '97, My board was a red line slalom copello, bought used at few money. I left to Tarifa without being able to even make the waterstart. After 2 days of shy west  wind, barely good for a 6  m2 sail, His Majesty came for 20 days in a row ! I had a North Sails 4 m2 that I hold rigged for the whole holiday! I learned at once how to waterstart and stepped into a world from which I will never get out!

The nineties! What years! Cloth sails and long and narrow boards! The Kite did not exist at the time and at Tarifa there were perhaps more than twenty windsurf stores, sail makers and small manufacturers of custom boards! The evening in the city seemed to be in a paradise .... Within a few meters yoy passed from the courtyards with the typical Andalusian flamenco to the pub with the legendary Robby Naish's windsurfing movies and bar with reggae music with people who smoke very great joints....
But let's get back to Tarifa, founded by the Greeks, and the a Roman colony, conquered by the Arabs, with its pedestrianized historical center full of small shops and architectural views of value, it truly deserves all the nights of your holiday! There is everything you want, from restaurants for tourists, to the more refined or typical restaurants where you can taste the famous ham "patanegra" still hanging from the ceiling! You also have many clothing shops where the local brands sell their products, and each evening you can discover something new! There is also the plaza de toro.

At Tarifa you can find any type of accommodation, B&B, apartments , hotels and campings. I recommend the camping "Tarifa" the only one with plenty of shade, swimming pool, comfortable and sheltered when the wind gets stronger, bungalows , bar and restaurant open until midnight, mini-market. Moreover it is directly on the beach and so for the children there are no dangers. It is located exactly halfway between the Paloma head and the town. It takes well both the East that has lost some Knots and the West that is also less strong than at Paloma head where the large sand dune gives a thermal reinforcement! The only camping that I do not recommend is the Tor de La  Pena 1 because with high tide to enter into the water you have to use concrete ramp, and with low tide there are rocks everywhere (the only rocky point of the whole long beach), therefore unsuitable for swimmers, to sunbathe and to get in the water with the board! The Tor de La Pena 2 is rather far from the sea and it is separated from it by the national road, but the beach is very deep even at high tide, it has a subway to avoid unnecessary risks when crossing the road, and it has got the pool. 3rd camping, as choice, the Rio Jara, almost all at the sun, and crossed by a river/pond, that with high temperature definitely stinks.
Well, once you have arrived, you just have to relax and to surf. In the case of very strong East you just have to take your car, equipment and family and move a few miles to the west, at Bolonia a small village remained at the time of hippies, with their flowery wolksvagen: there, you have a wide beach of sand and a 10/15knt less; for those who do not surf, nice ciringuiti on the beach, a playground for children, and bar with music!


The strengths of Tarifa are:

- absolute guarantee of good weather! In Andalucia it never rains;
- in August, the sun sets at 21, and you have light until 22, so the days become long without being scanned by the hours!
- prices are considerably low, with some twenty euro three people can still dine in the typical bars, and 20 € per head are enough to have dinner in good restaurants, including the famous Paciamama where you eat the best meat in Tarifa!
- to visit in case of boredom or to make happy your wife, you have: Tangier at an hour or so by ferry; always almost an hour by car, along the national road, surrounded by wind and solar farms, you have Cadiz (very nice ), and, lengthening the route, Seville; those looking for the top, will book a visit to the Alhambra one of the most visited sites in Europe!

Norby

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