Here’s the Guru guide to all of the best Gran Canaria surf spots with lots of useful tips about swells and tides.
Courtesy of Cutre.com
The main areas are:
As a general rule, swell from NW to NE (the most common) means you should be on the North Coast/Las Palmas. The East Coast needs some East in the swell to work (anything from NE to SE) and the South Coast either needs a huge swell from the NE or swell from the South. Look out for: a big South Swell with Northerly winds – Arguineguin will be going off; Northerly Swell with East to SW winds – the North Coast will be offshore and barelling!
Click here to see all the spots on the same map.
Gran Canaria Surf Spots: Las Palmas
This city break is a beach break over a sandy bottom. The smaller waves close to the shore are almost always busy these days as it’s where Las Palmas’ surf schools train their grommets.
La Cicer is a great spot for beginners as there is plenty of whitewater to learn on and it’s got surfable waves most days. The best area for beginners is Los Muellitos at the south end of the beach, next to the Auditorium and under the protection or the small pier.
When the swell starts to get bigger you have to be careful with the shorebreak which gets more powerful at low tide.
More experienced surfers tend to head out to the main break just north of the tip of the Muellitos jetty. There’s also a decent wave in the middle of La Cicer that is popular with bodyboarders.
The best time of year is winter, but spring and autumn are good too. The bay receives several swell directions, so between September and April you can go surfing nearly every day; the waves are not always great, but at least you can go in the water.
When it’s small the tide is not a problem, but as it gets bigger low tide becomes useless because the wave tends to closeout.
It is easy to find and there’s parking in the big park and ride just next to Las Arenas shopping centre.. Do not leave anything valuable on the beach or in the car!
A really good wave for a city, so don’t expect to surf alone here. On the good days it’s hard to take the good ones – a lot of people in the water and the locals know where to be.
Locals here are some of the best surfers in the Canary Islands: Felix Ortega, Eduardo Acosta, Julián Cuello, Javi Medina, Jackie Hernandez, Adelina Taylor…
It’s one of the most consistent waves of the island, a righthander point-break over stone bottom which receives swell from W, NW, N and NE, mid-tide is best, low tide is not perfect but ok, and high tide is not recommended, a lot of rebound – dangerous.
The lower the tide the easiest to come in and out of the water and with high tide and big waves do not even bother.
When the swell is too small there are a couple of big stones in the middle of the bay, and when it’s big, look out for the sets – there’s nothing to stop them, so they arrive with full power and size.
It’s not a difficult wave, but not for beginners either. There is a strong current on the shore which helps you to come in and doesn’t help you at all to come back to the beach, watch how the locals do it first…
It’s easy to find the place, next to the last building in this side of the city, Alfredo Kraus auditorium. There is a free carpark next to the auditorium, in front of the break.
La Barra (the bar) is a natural lava reef, which protects Las Canteras Beach from the waves and goes all the way along the beach. The waves only reach around it at the south end (La Cicer)
At low tide, the bar is about a metre above sea level, so it’s not surfable till high tide, and even then is pretty shallow, but the rock is flat so doesn’t cut. Waves are short and it’s best when it’s small.
Easy to find but hard to park, probably best to pay in one of the car parks around Luis Morote.
Europe’s best righthander – full barrel, fast, difficult and hollow wave. If that isn’t enough, locals don’t make it easy for you. If you decide to surf here (don’t do that unless you’re an expert) be humble and respect priorities (you have to do this always, but here even more).
Best swells are W and NW, and only high tide – very shallow.
This is the only place on the North Coast that the trades are offshore.
Rock beach with some sand at the north end of the city, so you have to go through all the city and its traffic, but once you’re there you can leave the car next to the shore. Do not leave anything in the car.
Gran Canaria Surf Spots: The North Coast
This is maybe the easiest wave in the north to get in and out of the water – no shorebreak and sandy beach (with some stones, and rocks once you’re in the water). The wave breaks away offshore, so you have to paddle around 80-100m.
It is usually a little bit bigger than the rest of the north, this makes it a good option for the small days, but when it gets bigger you have to be careful of the sets – this is one of those places where nothing slows down the big sets!
It’s a left-hander which breaks over rocks – a fun wave with a couple of sections and a nice wall, works throughout tide states, but be careful in low tide – there are a couple of rocks, not out of the water but close.
With E swell the wave becomes more powerful and hollow.
It’s the first spot as you reach the “North” and as nearly every spot in this area, you see the wave from the road and you can park on the verge, but here you also have a small entrance with space for 8-10 cars.
This is one of the most accessible waves of the area – a good option when its small. It’s a stone beach but with some sand in low tide. It is a beach break with several peaks over a stone and sand bottom
When waves are really small, the lower the tide the better, and as it gets bigger it needs more water – it’s not a recommended place with much more than overhead. There is a strong current and a lot of whitewater, so you have to paddle a lot to catch a couple of waves.
Easy to find the place, look for a plot between houses with a wall painted blue and you can park on the verge.
This is next to Los Enanos. In fact you can paddle from one wave to the other, and waves are very similar.
It’s the beach which is in front of the town (Bañaderos), and usually, you can park just there, harder on Sundays with nice weather though.
This is one of the most consistent waves in the island, a right-hander point-break available at nearly any tide.
At low tide it’s easier to get in and out of the water (there are urchins though). At higher tide, the wave gets better but breaks closer to the shore (really close if it’s small) and you have to be careful with the whitewash when you come in and even more going out. It’s a stone beach, but big stones which make it more difficult.
Easy to find, next to the petrol station. There is an exit out the back of the petrol station and you can park on the road next to it.
This is another point-break, it is on the other side of the same beach as Boquines so it’s a left-hander. Nice take-off but then a bit mushy, good for longboards and better at low tide.
The place is just in front of the first houses of the town (San Andres) and there’s a restaurant with views of the spot.
La Derecha del Roque
This is a right-hand point break, the bottom is a flat flagstone with a couple of rocks in the first section, turning to a combination of rock and stones in the second section.
This wave keeps on breaking properly when other spots are too big. You can surf throughout the tide but high tide is the worst option.
The wave is next to El Picacho, but to get there you have to park in the town, next to the bar and go trough a small pass between two houses. There is no beach there and you have to jump from the rocks, it’s not difficult to get out, but you have to look for a couple of rocks when paddling out if you don’t want to put a hole in your board! Coming in is easy in low tide and harder at high tide. With high tide and big waves, the best option is to use the next beach – El Roque.
Easy to walk over the rock, be careful of the urchins though.
In San Andres too, this wave needs a special tide to work – needs water, not full but high tide.
It’s easy to recognize the place, a stone beach between houses and around 50m from the shore, there’s a big rock, the wave is a lefthander and you take-off at the right side (looking from the beach) of the rock.
It is a right-hander over a rocky bottom which holds a big swell and few people surf.
You can surf there when is small but the wave gets better with size. It’s a good wave to paddle into when it’s big, so bring your gun if you come here in the winter.
There is a small bay with a stone beach which is the perfect place to come in and out. No shore break there.
La Izquierda del Paso
This is not the backdoor of El Paso as it’s at the other end of the beach, in front of the bunker.
A lefthander point-break with several sections. If you can connect them all, it’s a long wave, but usually, only one or two of them works properly.
This is the place to go if it’s too big everywhere else. The swells slow down a bit before they break and it’s a bit more manageable. It is not a spot to be with a big swell from the East, but that is rare.
Mid-tide is the best. At high tide, there is some rebound and at low tide some big rocks you have to avoid, and urchins on the shore.
This wave is in the next town, San Felipe. You park in the street (this small town has only one street) if you can find a place, and go trough a gap between the houses.
There are two waves on this stone beach, a left-hander which works at low tide (better if its no too low) and a right-hander at the other side of the beach which needs more water. Both waves are short, hollow and powerful. There are normally a lot of bodyboarders here.
The end of the road at the end of the town, a small black sand beach, and even though is a beach break, it has two waves pretty well defined: one right at the beach entrance and a lefthander under the cliff at the end of the beach.
Sometimes is a good wave, but I’ve never seen it. It’s an option if you want sand (one of the only places in the north).
These 3 waves are located in the north too but they deserve a separate section. Not only because they are further west on the north cost but also because of the power they have! Not for the feint-hearted…
This is the most powerful of the 3 and is known as The Beast.
To reach the place you have to go trough the town and follow a dirt road you will see in front of the last houses. At the end of this road which follows the shoreline you will see nothing, just the end of the road. Get out of the car and look down the cliff, if it’s a good W or NW swell, the beast you will see down there is El Fronton.
I recommend going there just to see the wave and don’t go in if you’re not a professional surfer.
The wave rises suddenly when coming from deep waters and reaches the shallow reef: really powerful, shallow and hollow. The take off is in the air and when you land you’re already in the barrel. If the wave is not difficult enough, its bodyboard territory, they are of a very high level – in this wave they could beat the best bodyboarders in the world.
No beach, just cliff and rocks, to get in and out watch the locals. If you go from the right place it’s not difficult. High tide is a must because it is very shallow.
This wave is in front of the town, no beach but a kind of natural swimming pool. There is a project underway to build another swimming pool which would destroy the wave. Rocky and shallow bottom, lefts and rights, but the right is better and a more regular, powerful wave which combined with the rocky shallow bottom makes a dangerous mix.
Getting in and out of the water is easy thanks to the natural pool. There are rocks and some urchins, so be careful and don’t enter if you are not an experienced surfer in these kind of waves.
A really good right-hander barrel, but needs a good swell, when it’s small it’s a fairly straightforward wave, but when is pumping it’s a different story – just for experienced surfers, as the others the bottom is shallow and of course rocky.
No beach – you jump from the rocks in front of the town and there are plenty of urchins there!
This is the town beach: a sandy beach with some rocks, an easy wave, nothing to do with the other three.
Sometimes the water is dirty due to a drainpipe over there.
The East Coast
A hollow left-hander breaking over a really shallow volcanic reef in the north corner of the beach. Sandy beach but where the wave breaks, no sand at all, very sharp reef with urchins and high tide only.
To get there, you have to come from the South on the GC1 and take the exit which is just before the beach. There is a parking area there – leave nothing in the car. There’s also another exit with some parking places coming from Las Palmas, before the first tunnel, next to the pass under the highway, but I definitely wouldn’t leave the car there.
La Laja (playa)
In the south corner of the beach, during the low tide it’s a short and fun beach-break (not very easy). If the tide is too high it’s just a close out over the sand, not useful for surfing but ok for skimboarding.
To get there: same as the previous one, but this break is closer to the parking area.
Playa del Hombre
Beach-break which gets really good sometimes (not very often). It is one of the only waves on the east coast that works with any regularity.
Good place for beginners, the wave usually is small and mushy, and is sand everywhere, you just have to be careful with the current in front of the rocks on the south end of the beach. It get crowded easily.
Good wave – a left-hander point-break which is in danger due to the construction of a big harbour in Arinaga, just next to the wave in the swell direction. The harbour is already in construction so every time more swell is needed to have the wave breaking here.
Sometimes the right works too, shorter but faster.
The place is easy to find, you have to go to Pozo Izquierdo by the cemetery road (first exit to Pozo Izquierdo on the highway, if you come from the airport)and on the corner where you can see the ocean it’s just there. You will see the cars, it’s always crowded when it’s good waves here, sometimes staying in the second section instead of fighting in the main peak is a good option.
It’s not a difficult wave, but the volcanic rocks are sharp, so be careful getting in and out and be careful too when you take one of the long ones and reach the last section – very shallow there.
Of course, don’t forget the urchins.
Sometimes there are waves in the summer, but during this season there’s always a hurricane here, so it’s a winter place.
This place is known for the wind – during the summer it’s the strongest onshore wind you have ever seen, every day!
It’s onshore wind during the winter too, but not as strong and sometimes the wind stops and the waves come in. When that happens there’s a nice righthanded point-break in front of the bunker at the right end of the beach.
The wave used to be really good, but due to the construction of some piers in the area, now there’s a sandbar which doesn’t allow the wave to break properly all the way down to the beach as is used to.
It’s easy to find the place (signs on the GC1) parking is easy and you can see the wave from the car park. There’s a nice restaurant there with views of the wave.
Juan Grande (Ketchup)
A long stone beach with several waves, most of them work better at low tide, but high tide is ok on one of the peaks.
Not long but good waves, lefts and rights with a stone bottom. Be careful of the urchins in low tide.
This beach is 5 km south from Pozo Izquierdo, you have to take the old road and it’s the first town you see, but you have to take a dirt road you find before Castillo del Romeral.
It’s not difficult to find the place – it’s in front of a ketchup factory but you have to be careful with the car, there are some big stones on the dirt road.
Playa del inglés
This is a sandy beach with several beach-breaks, the best period is summer – the strong trade winds blowing up the east coast produce a small but fun wave in this area that has light offshore thermal winds during the summer. Being sand, it’s a good wave for beginners too, but you have to be careful with the swimmers – you are in the epicenter of the tourist area of the island.
Easy to find but difficult to find a parking space, unless you pay – it’s a private parking there.
La Punta (Maspalomas)
Very similar to Playa del Ingles, but to get there you have to walk for 15-20 minutes across the dunes much fewer people there, and in the nudist area even fewer!
You have to leave the car where the Riu Palace Maspalomas Hotel is – usually it’s not difficult to find a parking space over there, except Sundays in the summer, when you have to walk across the dunes. You don’t see the wave from the street, you have to take the small pedestrian street next to the hotel, and you can see it from there.
El faro de Maspalomas
Even though it’s close to La Punta and Playa del Ingles, conditions here are completely different. The best period is not the summer (wind swell from the trade wins doesn’t arrive here), it’s the winter, with W and S swells.
It’s a sandy beach, but the wave is a point-break – a right-hander breaking over a stone and sand bar. When it’s small, rides are short but become longer as the wave gets bigger. Not a powerful wave, but fun and long.
It’s easy to find, on the south tip of the island, but parking is not that easy.
From the Lighthouse and going along all the shopping and hotel area, there’s an avenue by the sea. From that avenue, you can see the waves on the stone beach. The waves are more than beach-breaks, kind of small, two exit point-breaks.
Waves here are easy and fun but you have to be careful with the stones and the urchins, especially during low tide.
This is a long right-hander point-break. The size doesn’t matter, from knee high to double overhead, it breaks perfectly. It’s not a powerful wave, but fun, long and easy, the first section is faster, but from the second section becomes slower and mushier.
It’s a stone beach, usually crowded, and sometimes with several longboards, which reduces which means you have to work hard to get a wave if you are on a shortboard!
To go there, take the GC500 to Arguineguin. Then at the first roundabout as soon as you enter the town, go to your left, and then left again. You will see some trees next to a corner and there is an exit there: take it and you will see the cars next to the beach. You can park there, even if it’s crowded (which it alway is!) it’s no problem finding a parking place.