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El Médano, Tenerife, Canary islands (Spain), is a world wide famous spot for windsurfing. We were there in April 2016, and, with this review we want to give some tips to those going there for windsurfing (but not only).

 

Windsurf spot reviews: El Medano (Tenerife, Canary)

 

El Medano windsurf spot: the bay

At Tenerife, you can do windsurfing almost exclusively at El Medano, which has two bays suitable for this purpose: that one to the west of the village (Playa Sur), and El Cabezo, to the East.

 

ElMedano lungomare

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The two bays are divided by a rocky and flat cape. The spots work fundamentally with winds from the northeast, that is, with the Trade Winds, more frequent and likely when sunny and stable conditions prevail on the Canary Islands. But sometimes, they can also blow with partially covered skies. If there are low pressures around the islands, these conditions disturb the flow of air which generates the Trade Winds, and winds can blow from the other quadrants. In this case, the spot can also work with winds from the South-East and South-West (on-shore), or from the west (side), generally less strong than the Trade Winds (we enjoyed a West wind at about 20 knots). The westerly wind is partially disturbed in the Medano Bay (Playa Sur) by Montana Roja, and generally does not enter at Cabezo Playa (too sheltered by the village buildings). With West Wind, at Playa Sur you have flat water conditions. With winds from the South, you can have a bit of shore-break and Waves, of variable height,  depending on the intensity of the wind and swell, possibly coming from offshore. If the wind comes from the North, both the bays are sheltered, and there is calm.

 

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With South West, you can also surf at the beach of La Tejita (west of Montana Roja), where, however, there are no rental facilities. Finally, we point out that we've seen wind at 25-30 knots from the north/north-west direction at Las Americas (West coast), where, usually, people go only for wave surfing. There was no one out doing windsurfing, on that occasion. There are no windsurfing rental centers here (some only for wave surfing). Conditions there did not appear prohibitive, even if the shore in several places, is full of rocky plateaus and breakwaters, so that you can not do mistakes. But it is better to ask information to the expert riders at El Medano (also with regard to possible strong currents), before going out here, and have problems. That day, in El Medano, no wind at all ...

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But to El Medano, you go to catch the Trade Winds. July and August are the most reliable months for these winds, although, they tell us that occasionaly even in these months there are days with no wind, or light wind. During the rest of the year, you can have a few days, one, or two consecutive weeks, with beautiful Trade Winds, and others with scarce or absent wind. So, except for July and August, it would be better to move on predicitions, although, in case of absence of wind the island allows you to do some very nice trips (read this article). 

 

 

For those who want to evaluate alternatives to Tenerife, they tell us that Fuerteventura is a bit more windy. In particular, Sotavento, not being sheltered at North, also works with the winds coming from the north direction, which, as mentioned, in El Medano, can not enter. However, it should be clear that if the Aliseo is disturbed by weather conditions around the archipelago of the Canary Islands, you won't take much of the wind also at Fuerteventura.

The websites most consulted  by local riders to verify wind predictions for El Medano are:

- muchoviento.net

- surfmedano.com

- windguru.cz

As regards windmeters, you have a very good one at El Cabezo, the data of which are available here

Here below, you have a real time webcam which shows El Cabezo bay.

 

 

EL Cabezo

 

 

At Playa Sur at El Medano, you, generally, enter into water to begin your session in the South West part of the bay, at the end of the seafront, where there are all the windsurfing rental centers, and where there is the Hotel Playa Sur.

 

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This bay provides quieter conditions than El Cabezo, both because the coast is mostly sandy, and because you have less wave here. With Trade Winds, waves that you can surf side rise near the dam facing the village. In the bay, instead, choppy conditions prevail. Note that the part of the bay in front of the village would be reserved for bathing, while further west, toward the Montana Roja  (and downwind with Trade Winds), to Kitesurfing. But, in fact, anarchy reigns: swimmers and kiters invade the central portion of the bay that would be reserved for windsurfing. Conditions with more significant waves, and shore-break, appear if Trade Winds blow strong for several days, or as a result of swell coming from offshore, because of far away storms (we are in ocean). With winds up to 20 knots, however, the bay appeared suitable for everyone, and we met lots of beginners practicing.

 

We have to underline the fact that all (local riders), and persons engaged in the rental centers,  advised us not to go out from the bay, both with North East (passing the promontory of Montana Roja), and with West wind (passing the cape in fronto of El Medano), because winds and currents (the say that they may be very strong, even at 6-7 knots), push hopelessly offshore, and there is no good swimmer that can counteract them. So, it is better to adhere to this advice.

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El Cabezo, instead, is the spot reserved for more experienced riders, at least with strong Trade Winds and rough seas. If, however, the wind does not exceed 20-25 knots and the sea is not very big, even the intermediate surfers can try the spot (bump and jump conditions, with some nice waves that you can begin to surf). The value of this spot is that you can surf side. You can enter into water from two sandy beaches: the first one next to the hotel Arenas del Mar (further east), where there is a beach bar (chiringuito), or the beach just close to the area for campers (autocaravan). Surfing front side, you end up in front of the rocky point facing the village. Here is a rocky plateau, and especially the submerged rock named Godzilla, which, in case of wipe out, are ready to eat your equipment....


In the google map, at end of article, you will find the various places listed above.

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In the South part of Tenerife, the temperature is fairly constant throughout the year (around 20-25 Celsius degrees, regulated by the Ocean), with low moisture. However, there is some seasonal excursion, with warmer in summer and less in winter. When we were there in April, the air temperature ranged between a high of 28 degrees (sunny days with little wind), and a minimum in the evening, or at dawn, of 18-20 degrees. The water temperature was 20 °C (we went out with long wetsuit 3/2 mm, and barefoot).

 

 

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As for the rental business, there is plenty of choice. We have visited the Surf Center Medano Playa Sur managed by the Gahmig family. We met Arne, one of the instructors, who is very kind and friendly. The center has excellent Naish equipment of the current year (see movie).
We also visited the Tenerife Windsurf Solutions, which has windsurfing equipment of the main brands of the current year

 

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Our piece of advice, frankly, is to book your equipment rental only in July and August, if you do not go there with your equipment. In April, when we went there, there are no big crowds, so you can reserve day by day, depending on conditions.

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Finally, with regard to the shops selling windsurfing equipment, we have not seen particularly large businesses. The most significant shop appeared Cabezo Surf shop in Calle La Graciosa. Others predominantly sell Surf Wear.

  

Cabezo surf shop

 

 

Arne Gahmig, of Surf Center Medano (but also Howtowindsurf101.com webmaster), has published a very detailed guide on its website. El Medano is his homespot, and, for that, Arne is able to really provide many useful tips.

Arne provides guidance about dangerous or restricted areas in the bay of the spots, about the typical winds that blow, the waves conditions, schools and windsurfing rentals, as well as on stores selling equipment.


Finally, he also gives many helpful tips on El Medano village, with proposals for accommodation, bars, restaurants, and alternative to windsurfing.

So, if you want to read all his precious suggestings, click here. 

 

See at the bottom of this article to find the spot on google maps.

Enjoy. Fabio

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Walter Scotto at El Medano

 

Here below, some video filmed on the spot

 

 

 

 

 

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