El Medano is already a well-known name in the windsurfing community. So, just what is it about this small but growing fishing village that attracts thousands of windsurfers and kiteboarders from around the globe each year? This El Medano windsurfing spot guide will hopefully shed some light on exactly why it’s such a popular destination.
Once named the Mecca of windsurfing, due to its reliable trade winds which drew sailors from all corners of Europe (and further afield), El Medano encapsulates everything that you might expect from a windsurfing holiday. The PWA has held a number of wave-riding competitions here and pro sailors such as Danny Bruch, Adam Lewis and Alex Mussolini spend most of the year here in training. In recent years the elite of slalom racing has also been spending the winters in El Medano. For someone who has never been to El Medano, it might all sound just a little bit too perfect. That’s why we’ll take you by the hand and show you around each corner of this village.
Gone with the wind
Wind? What wind? Oh, you mean the constant 25-30 knots blowing in the summer and 18-25 in the winter? We’re so used to it that we barely notice it. What has made this town so popular in the windsurfing community is the predictable nature of the trade winds blowing from the north east nearly all year round.
Coincidentally the best wind period is during the summer months when nearly everyone is on holiday. This means that in July and August El Medano is packed. So, if you are looking for good wind and not that many people, try to make your visit around the end of June.
Sail here, not there
The beach is divided into three areas – swimmers, windsurfers and kitesurfers. The windsurf/kitesurf boundary is a little bit blurred to be honest but there are rarely any issues. On the water it’s a big free for all and the rule basically goes: don’t be arrogant or disrespectful and sail keeping safety in mind. There are three main areas on the water:
This is where nearly everyone sails. This is the place if you are practicing staying upwind, working on your gybes or simply enjoying sailing on ocean swell. Recommended for intermediate level windsurfers (and supervised beginners).
The transition from intermediate to advanced windsurfing goes past the harbour wall. There are some nice waves, which make a great initiation to wave riding. It does require sailing upwind for 15-20 minutes to get here though.
This is where the pro’s train. On a regular day you might find Danny Bruch or Alex Mussolini working on their massive back loops and shredding waves like there’s no tomorrow. Kitesurfers are not liked here at all because it is a small area and people want to jump pretty high.
El Medanano windsurfing centres
As tourists gradually discovered there was more to Tenerife than the Ibiza replicas of Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos, El Medano’s popularity grew. Where originally there was only one surf centre (established in 1985), now there are four. And this El Medano windsurfing spot guide wouldn’t be complete unless we told you about them all.
Surf Centre Playa Sur
Opened back in 1985, it’s grown into a family business. They offer lessons and rental with Naish boards and sails, as well as kitesurfing lessons. You can find out more by visiting: www.surfcenter.eu
The centre used to be a branch of the OTC from Weymouth, close to the end of the wooden promenade, right after the Flashpoint cafe. They follow the same model of having a test centre to try out different brands.
They are at the end of the wooden promenade, where the Surf Center Playa Sur used to be. They use Flikka, Novenove and RRD boards; and MauiSails, RRD and Point7 for the sails.
These guys are mainly dedicated to kitesurfing but they also rent windsurf (Gaastra) equipment. They can be found right before the Flashpoint cafe when walking down the wooden promenade.
El Medano the town
Food for all
Pretty much every one of the big culinary nationalities has a restaurant here. From Italian to Chinese through German, Canarian, Spanish, Mexican, French, Argentinian and even British. Take that Dakhla. From beach cafes to fancy nights out, it’s all available.
From tents to spas
One of the things that makes the visitors of El Medano so diverse is that there are accommodation options for every budget. For the penny-pinching students there is a camping area 20 minutes walk away and a hostel in the centre of the town. For those who enjoy a spa after a whole day on the water there is also a more upscale option in El Cabezo. And naturally everything in between – apartments which you can rent for months at a time, to Airbnb, to average hotels.
A night on the town
As sports oriented as El Medano is, it also provides a chilled out nightlife. You won’t find any big night clubs, only bars and pubs which get pretty full with wind-sport chasers who are not planning on getting up before noon the next day. It is fun to observe how suddenly people go to bed early again if Windguru says that there will be 20 knots tomorrow after a week of no wind.
Alternatives to the perfect day
How frustrating is it to go somewhere for windsurfing or kitesurfing only to find yourself sitting on the beach on six out of seven days because there’s no wind? Luckily Tenerife offers more than just beaches with wind. You won’t have just paid for a week drinking beer on the sand. Since windsurfers are a pretty active bunch, they will get the chance to do heaps of other activities such as diving, surfing, hiking, rock-climbing, paragliding… the list goes on. This might be an El Medano windsurfing spot guide but we have to mention the other activities.
This is also good news for those with families who are not yet indoctrinated into the windsurfers chase for wind. There are plenty of people who spend one day windsurfing and the next hiking in the volcano landscape of the island.
If there is one thing to take form this, admittedly, slightly biased El Medano windsurfing spot guide it’s this: this is the best windsurfing holiday destination ever. In recent years El Medano has exploded in size and versatility. More apartments, more restaurants, more shops and more available activities have turned this sleepy fishing village into a water-sports enthusiasts wet dream (pun intended).
This article was written by Arne Gahmig. He grew up in El Medano and has been windsurfing since the age of five – so he knows the spot better than most. After starting to teach windsurfing at his parents’ surf center he created an online resource for people around the world to learn how to windsurf which can be found at howtowindsurf101.com