Friday, 04 May 2018 18:54

The Ultimate Guide To Gran Canaria Surf Spots

Guide to the best surf spots in Gran Canaria Guide to the best surf spots in Gran Canaria

There is good surf all around Gran Canaria but where to go on the day? Here’s the Gran Canaria Info guide to all of the best Gran Canaria surf spots with lots of useful tips about swells and tides.

Surf spots in Gran Canaria

Most of the best Gran Canaria surfing spots are along the north coast because it gets NW to NE oceanic swells straight from the Atlantic Ocean.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city has some excellent surf breaks for beginners and experienced surfers.

 The east coast fires when the island gets swell from the NE through to SE.

The south, sheltered from most Atlantic swells, needs south swell or really big NE swell to work.

The west is remote and a long way away from anywhere but the few accessible breaks are at their best with NE to SW swell.

Surf spots in and around Las Palmas city

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a surf city with a long history of surfing and bodyboarding. It has a good selection breaks along its west and east coasts, including the reliable La Cicer and the world-class El Confital. 

Las Palmas surfing: The La Cicer break

La Cicer is actually a set of beach breaks at the south end of Las Canteras beach where the offshore reef drops away and the swell reaches the shore.

The shore waves at La Cicer are rarely epic but are so reliable that they are perfect for beginners. In fact, the small inshore waves at La Cicer are thick with groms streaming into the water from the many Las Palmas surf schools.

Unless you go at dawn, the sheer number of beginners can be frustrating for experienced surfers and bodyboarders. Waves break left and right but are prone to close-outs.

More experienced surfers tend to head out to the main break just north of the tip of the Los Muellitos jetty. The left-hander here is much bigger than it looks from the shore. There are a couple of headstrong locals still clinging to the past but they are toothless. Access to Los Muellitos is from the southern tip of Las Canteras (stay right as you paddle out) or from the tip of the Los Muellitos jetty (where the grumpy locals hang out). 

There’s also a decent wave in the middle of La Cicer, called El Piti, that is popular with local bodyboarders.

Spring, winter and autumn are remarkably consistent and there are surfable waves almost every day. Summer can have flat periods but there is enough action for beginners almost every day. 

Las Palmas surfing: El Lloret

This long right-handed point-break works best at low and mid tide with a NW or N swell. When it's good it gets crowded with good local surfers.

Not a wave for beginners as the bottom is rocky, entry tricky and the sets roll in hard. Take care at high tide as the wave rebounds off the rocks. 

You also need to be careful on small days as there are rocks that stick up in the water.

Located behind the Las Arenas shopping centre and the Auditorium at the south end of Las Canteras beach. Parking is in the park and ride car park just by the shore. 

Las Palmas surfing: La Barra

The La Barra reef shelters the northern two-thirds of Las Canteras beach from the Atlantic swells. At high to mid-water it is submerged and produces several short, playful waves that are excellent for bodyboarders and short boards. 

The exact location of the best break depends on the swell so walk along the beach and have a look where the locals are surfing. Hotspots are behind the Peña de la Vieja rock where Franch y Roca street meets the beach, and further south in front of Luis Morote street.

Las Palmas surfing: El Confital

A world-class right-handed wave that is fast, hollow and barrelling, El Confi Europe’s is not a beginners wave and the locals won't put up with guiris getting in the way. 

The wave breaks over a shallow shelf so really it can only be surfed at high tide. It is best with N and NW swells and is the only wave in north Gran Canaria with offshore winds when the Trades Winds blow from the north. 

Entry is via the rocks in front of the break and parking is free (access via a track in La Isleta barrio at the north end of Las Palmas). 

Las Palmas surfing: La Laja beach

East coast La Laja is a good option when the Las Canteras breaks are flat. The locals here can be conflictive, especially if you aren't up to their standard.

Las Palmas Surfing: La Laja

A hollow left-hander breaking over a really shallow volcanic reef in the north corner of the beach. High tide only. Access from the rocks or from the beach. Mostly frequented by bodyboarders.

Parking at both ends of the beach along the GC1 road. 

Gran Canaria Surfing: La Laja (playa)

A short and fun beach-break at the south tip of La Laja beach. Only surfable at low tide. 

Park by the big Triton sculpture at the south end of La Laja (access from the northbound lane of the GC1). 

Gran Canaria Surf Spots: The North Coast

The whole north coast of Gran Canaria receives uninterrupted swell from the Atlantic and holds some fantastic bodyboard and surf waves. Access is via the GC 2 which goes along the north coast and many entry points are just a few yards from the road. Parking is free and by the roadside. Most of the waves are offshore and entry tends to be off the rocks. 

The waves along Gran Canaria's North Shore are biggest during the winter months and tend to be powerful and hollow on days with an E swell. 

Gran Canaria surfing: Quintanilla

Quintanilla is the first decent break you reach as you drive west from Las Palmas along the north coast. It's just past El Puertillo village and natural pools. 

Access is easy as it is via a sandy beach and there are no waves breaking on the shore. The fast, left-handed waves break around 100 metres offshore over rocks; take care at low tide. 

The waves at Quintanilla tend to be the biggest along the north coast on a given day and also come in as big sets. If there isn't much happening here it rarely worth continuing along the coast to see if other spots are firing.

Gran Canaria surfing: Los Enanos

An accessible and fun beach break at Playa de San Andrés on Gran Canaria's north coast and a good option when the waves are small, especially at low tide. 

Expect to do a lot of paddling to catch the waves at Los Enanos as the white water rolls a long way. 

Parking is in a vacant lot at the east end of San Andrés and is accessible from the road. 

Gran Canaria Surfing: Molokai

Just west of Los Enanos, the Molokai wave is similar in style and you can even paddle between them. 

Molokai is right in front of Bañaderos town and parking is usually easy enough. It can get crowded at the weekends, especially if the Las Palmas beaks are flat. 

Gran Canaria surfing: Boquines

A consistent right pointbreak that really fires (and get's crowded) with some eastern swell.

Access is easiest at low tide but the wave is better at mid- to high tide. There is a lot of white water so take care with the rocks and urchins. 

Access is via the GC 2 coast road; pull in to the big BP petrol station, drive straight through and then take the road that forks right down towards the shore. 

Gran Canaria surfing: El Picacho

This point-break has a long right with a big tube and a shorter left. It's around the point (west of Boquines).

El Picacho is at its best at low tide. 

There is plenty of offroad parking just past a small roundabout at the west end of San Andrés. 

Gran Canaria surfing: San Andrés to El Roque

La Derecha de El Roque is right-hand point break that holds its shape when other north coast waves are too big. Good throughout the tide except at high tide. 

La Izquierda del Paso is a left point-break that can be a long ride on days when all the sections join up (mid tide is best and not with an east swell). 

El Paso is a big right just west of El Roque village that most people won't tackle. It is at its best when large and is a gun wave in anything but a small swell.

Gran Canaria surfing: San Felipe

San Felipe is the last village along the north coast before the coast get rugged and the road goes inland over the bridges. Access is via the El Roque turnoff of the GC 2 and there is a quiet road that hugs the shore. 

The breaks are off the stony beach at the mouth of the rugged Barranco de Moya. 

El Circo is actually two waves; a left-hander which works at mid- to low-tide and a right-hander that is better at mid- to high-tide. Both are short, hollow and powerful and popular with bodyboarders.

Vagabundos is at the end of the road in San Felipe and is a rare (the only) sandy beach break along the north coast. There is a right at one end of the beach and a left at the far west end. Both are best in summer when the swell is small. 

Gran Canaria surfing: Galdar

The Galdar coast has three excellent, powerful waves, including the legendary El Frontón.

Don't surf the beach break at Bocabarranco beach because there is still a sewage pipe here.

Gran Canaria surf: El Frontón

Known as The Beast, El Frontón is a seriously powerful wave that only locals and experienced bodyboarders should surf. The locals can be territorial, especially if you are out of your depth. 

Even if you don't dare surf here, it's well worth going to have a look at.

El Frontón builds fast out of deep water and breaks over a shallow reef with a huge tube. It goes both ways but the right break is more reliable. The take-off is radical and good bodyboarders will find air. 

Access is via La Caleta de Arriba or El Agujero village along a track. Get into the water from the rocks in front of the wave.

Mid- to high-tide only as the reef is shallow.

For more on how and when to tackle El Frontón, read this Surfer Today article

Gran Canaria surf: La Guancha

This wave is in front of El Agujero town which also has a natural swimming pool. Lefts and rights over a shallow rocky bottom with the right more regular and powerful. 

Access via the rocks by the natural pool. Take care of the urchins!

Gran Canaria surf: El Agujero

Just west of La Guancha. A really good right-hander barrel that needs a good swell to rise above average. Shallow reef break with access off the rocks. Best at low- to mid-tide with a decent swell.

Gran Canaria Surf Spots: The East Coast

East Gran Canaria gets decent swells in the winter when the onshore winds die down. However, the east coast waves in Gran Canaria are not comparable to the north coast. Playa del Hombre is a good beginner's beach thanks to its small and regular waves on a sandy beach. 

Gran Canaria surf: Playa del Hombre

The most regular of the east coast breaks. Can occasionally be excellent but is often crowded with beginners even on poor days because south Gran Canaria surf schools use it for their groms. 

Keep clear of the jagged rocks at the south end of the beach. 

Gran Canaria surf: Mosca Point

A long, left-handed point break that fires in big swells. Shorter right on big days. Best in winter when the wind is calmer. 

Access is just south of Pozo Izquierdo.

The rocks here are sharp at the end of the wave. 

Gran Canaria surf: Pozo Izquierdo

This is Gran Canaria's windsurfing capital with roaring winds all summer long. Surfing is barely possible when the wind is up. 

However, in winter the wind drops and there is a passable right-handed point break at the south end of the beach (by the old military bunker). 

See our Pozo guide for more info about the area.

Gran Canaria surf: Juan Grande (Ketchup)

The long pebble beach at Juan Grande has several waves including Ketchup (named after the sauce factory by the shore). Most are best at low tide.

Access is via a track from the north.

Gran Canaria Surf Spots: South Coast

The island's south coast is sheltered in the lee of the island from the prevailing swells from the north so the breaks only fire when the swell comes in from the south, west and southeast. 

Gran Canaria surf: Playa del inglés

This sandy beach is best during summer thanks to the effect of the wind acceleration zone along the east coast. There are several small beach breaks along Playa del Inglés beach but you have to share them with tourists and nudists.  

Access from either end of the beach or by walking across the dunes. Arrive by car early or be prepared to pay for parking. 

Gran Canaria surf: La Punta (Maspalomas)

The point where Playa del Inglés beach becomes Maspalomas beach. Small, beach break waves that are best in summer. 

Access is on foot along the beach or across the dunes. 

Gran Canaria surf: El Faro de Maspalomas

El Faro's right-hand point break fires in winter and spring with south and westerly swells. 

The beach here is sandy but the waves break over a reef. On big days it can be a long ride but it is never that powerful.

This break is right in front of the main Maspalomas bus station and the lighthouse.

West of the lighthouse towards Meloneras beach there are a couple of small breaks that local bodyboarders use on big days.

Gran Canaria surf: Arguineguin

This is the area where surfing started in Gran Canaria thanks to a hippie community in the tamarisk forest behind the beach at Arguineguín. They were the first to bring and shape boards in the Canary Islands back in the 1960s.

The long right-hander point break at Arguineguín is superb on the days when it is running. It's not powerful but the first section is fast and tubes. This wave, known as the Mysterious Right because it only pops up on days with big south or western swell (and even then only when the west swell wraps around the island). 

It is popular with longboarders.

There is also a left-handed wave just south of the cement factory to the north of Arguineguín.

Gran Canaria surf: Tauro

Threatened by a plan to build a marina in front of Tauro beach, this short, barrelling wave is popular with bodyboarders when it fires due to heavy south and west swells. Take care as it spits you out onto a jagged reef. 

Gran Canaria surf spots: The West Coast

Most of Gran Canaria's west coast is inaccessible so apart from a couple of bodyboard waves at La Aldea town there isn't much else to say. 

Gran Canaria Surf: Gear Rental And Surf Shops

Most of the surf shops in Gran Canaria are in the capital Las Palmas in the streets just behind La Cicer. Surf tours leaving from the resorts either head to Playa del Hombre beach on the east coast or to Las Palmas. 

If you plan to learn to surf in Gran Canaria, stay in  Las Palmas at a hostel or private apartment and talk to a surf school by the beach. 


El Confital is one of Gran Canaria's top bodyboarding and surfing spots
Published in Surfing

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Tip of the day

  • Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?
    Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?

    Visitors to Gran Canaria often ask whether it is better to exchange their local currency for euros at home or in Gran Canaria. 

    The answer is that it is almost always better to buy your euros at home than it is to bring pounds to Gran Canaria and use local banks or currency exchanges. This rule of thumb applies all over the world. A currency is almost always cheaper the further away you are from the place you can spend it (because demand for it is lower). 

    Exchange rates are almost always better at home than in Gran Canaria

    You are very likely to get a better exchange rate using a British currency exchange specialist or local bank. Many of these companies will deliver your euros to your home.

    One of the best rates in the UK is often from the post office, especially if you do it well in advance.

    The only way you'll get a better rate in Gran Canaria than at home is if the exchange rate changes while you are travelling and this is rare. 

    You also have to bear in mind that currency exchanges in Gran Canaria are getting rarer and some local banks don't exchange money for non-clients. 

    To Transfer large amouynts of money to Gran Canaria, or to make regular transfers, always use a reputable currency broker such as Currencies Direct. This will save you money on exchange rates and bank charges and is highky secure. 

    The risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria

    Another important factor to consider is the risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria: If it is lost or stolen, there is no way of getting it back. 

    It is much safer to bring a debit or credit card and use local bank ATMs to take out money. These days, a good option is a pre-charged debit card. 

    Cards may be slightly more expensive that carrying cash, unless you seek out a bank card with low commissions, but it is much more secure. 

    Bank ATMs like Bankia, Santander and BBVA often charge lower rates than the ATMs in shopping centres and busy tourist areas.

    Alex Says: Always select the Euro option at ATMs in Gran Canaria because the exchange rate is much better than if you opt for the Local Currency option. The same applies when you pay by card in shops and restaurants.

    See our Gran Canaria Tips section for more nuggets of useful local information.

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