Have you ever walked your dogs on the beaches of the Costa de la Luz and noticed people bobbing up and down in the water on large planks? Well, I'm here to tell you all about it. Surfing is a popular sport on the pristine beaches of the Costa de la Luz. If there are surfable waves you will see surfers out there.
What's the surf like?
Well it's not Hawaii but there is enough to keep the active surf population happy. We receive powerful waves which break close to the shore, especially in winter.
The dominant wind is offshore (which means blowing from the land to the sea). This will organise the waves and gives much better surfing conditions than onshore and 'choppy'. The weather year round is mostly sunny, the sea temp mild and relatively uncrowded waves unless you surf por la tarde at places like El Palmar.
What beaches do people surf at?
The most popular & most reliable for waves is El Palmar. There are a couple of reefs around Caños de Meca which need a bigger swell but are well worth it.
Other spots of merit are Conil, Roche,La Barrosa, Cadiz (La Caleta, Sta Maria, La Victoria, La Cortadura), Costa Ballena, Costa Ballena, Bolonia, Chipiona (Cruz Mar, Regla, Tres Piedras), Tarifa (Los Lances, Valdevaqueros). Beaches are clean, facilities are good usually including lifeguards, beach cafes & showers in summer.
Other similar sports include Kitesurfing and windsurfing which have grown up around Tarifa where the levante blows strongest.
Where can I hire boards & wetsuits?
Surf lessons are aplenty at El Palmar, just head down to the beach road and you will see the surf schools and board hire shops. There are surf shops in most coastal towns such as El Palmar, Conil, La Barrosa and Cadiz. Even in winter the sea isn't cold and you only need a 3 x 2mm wetsuit. If you want to get a custom board try Nexo opposite Eroski in Chiclana.
It sounds like a lot of fun, are there any downsides?
In summer there are surfboard (but not bodyboard) restrictions from 10am-8pm on lifeguarded beaches such as Conil & La Barrosa. Summer is mostly flat for surf and hence the worst season so head for the Portuguese Algarve west coast to score a few waves. Don't forget that the sun is really strong here and the water increases the potency so do not forget your strong sunblock.
I took up surfing as a teenager and have surfed in the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, South Eastern USA and Australia. Nowadays I surf mainly at Roche & La Barrosa.