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The Stormrider Surf Guide: SpainThe Stormrider Surf Guide: Spain

The Stormrider Surf Guide: Spain

The Stormrider Surf Guide: Spain - Special

Spain has a huge variety of surf, including some of the biggest, longest and most perfect waves on the planet. Surfing in Spain has been growing exponentially in the last few years, with a new generation of toreadors taking on the raging waves. Despite the obvious bravado, locals tend to be friendly and sociable and still treat outsiders with respect and curiosity. Surfers tend to accumulate at the known breaks, leaving long, empty stretches of coastline to explore. All in all, Spain offers a tantalising taste of the true spirit of surfing continental Europe.

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access_time14 min.
the surf

The wave climate in Spain, like any northern-hemisphere location, tends to have a fairly large seasonal variation, with conditions quite a bit smaller in summer than in winter. Sea breezes, almost always from the NE, are a major factor in summer, which means either surfing before about midday or picking a west-facing beach. In the winter, the wave climate seems to be characterised by periods of two contrasting regimes. The first of these comprises of winds from a northerly quarter, continual passage of frontal systems, heavy rain, low temperatures and bad surfing conditions. The other includes winds from a southerly quarter, dry sunny weather, nice warm temperatures and a constant stream of large, clean swells. The tides on the north coast of Spain are semi-diurnal (two tides a day) and…

access_time7 min.
surf culture

Lolis, Cantabrian surf pioneer (WILLY URIBE)HistorySurfing in Spain is acknowledged to have begun around 1962 when Jesús Fiocchi from Santander obtained a surfboard from the Barland factory in France. The first beach to be surfed was probably El Sardinero in Santander, by a group of about twelve individuals, including Jesús. Between then and the early 1980s, surfing in Spain really didn’t make a great deal of progress. This was almost certainly due to the isolation imposed by the Franco dictatorship and to the financial difficulties experienced by the majority of the Spanish population. Around this time, most people were still struggling to feed their own families; they were in no position to afford the luxury of a surfboard or a car to get them to the beach.Throughout the 1960s, one…

access_time12 min.
the ocean environment

The Prestige sunk off the Costa da Morte in November 2002, resulting in the worst environmental disaster in Spanish history. (WILLY URIBE)PollutionUnfortunately, Spain is still quite a long way behind most of Europe when it comes to dealing with things like industrial contamination and raw sewage input to the sea. Apart from the Bilbao area, the most contaminated parts of the coast are those near the cities of Torrelavega, Gijón, Avilés, A Coruña and Vigo. Although Bilbao has seen a massive improvement over the last few decades, the water nearby is still very polluted. On the beaches of Getxo, for example, lifeguards stop people going in the water due to the pollution. Galicia’s stormy seas and treacherous rocks, next to a major shipping route have claimed many vessels leading to…

access_time8 min.
travel information

Getting ThereBy AirLonghaul flights arrive in Madrid. National carrier Iberia should be avoided – board charges can be as high as ⌥2000 for three boards return to London and the service is appalling. Arrivals from other European cities service airports in Bilbao, Santander, Asturias, Santiago de Compostela, Seville and many Mediterranean destinations. Cut-price airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir, HLX and others fly to many provincial airports. Flying and hiring a car is much cheaper than it used to be, and is now a viable option for shorter trips to Spain.Les vols internationaux arrivent à Madrid. Il faut éviter Iberia la compagnie aérienne nationale: pour 3 planches par exemple sur un vol aller-retour depuis Londres il vous sera facturé 2000 euros de surtaxe, et le service à bord est lamentable. Les…

access_time9 min.
pais vasco – east

1. La ZurriolaConsistent, medium-quality beachbreak that can have good peaks depending on the sandbars. A lefthander peels towards the pier at low tide. Best on small swells; anything over about 5ft closes out. Often crowded. Practically in the town centre of San Sebastián. City-type roadside parking with meters, or expensive underground car parks; practically impossible in the summer. Moderately polluted, mainly from residential and stormwater runoff. Beach facilities include toilets, showers, lifeguard and surf school.Beachbreak moyen, marche souvent, avec plusieurs pics selon les bancs. Une gauche déroule vers la digue à marée basse. Bonne option par petite houle, ferme au-dessus de 1m50. Souvent du monde, pratiquement au coeur de San Sebastián. Parcmètres, parkings de style urbain ou souterrains et chers, quasiment impraticables en été. Pollution moyenne, surtout à cause des…

access_time7 min.
pais vasco – west

1. PlentziaSandbar lefthander between a rivermouth and pier. Breaks on large swells only, low to mid tide. Sheltered from W and NW winds. Moderately consistent in the winter. Can be very crowded at weekends. Popular with longboarders. Parking not a problem in winter when the wave is likely to work. Good beach facilities and camping nearby at Gorliz. Estuarine, residential and stormwater pollution.Gauche sur un banc de sable entre l’embouchure d’une rivière et une digue. Par gros swell seulement. Meilleur de marée basse à mimarée. Protégé des vents d’O et NO. Fréquence moyenne en hiver. Peut être gavé de monde le we. Pas mal de longboarders. On se gare facilement en hiver (période où ça risque marcher le plus). Plage bien équipée. Camping à Gorliz. Pollution de l’estuaire, domestique et…