Girmantas | Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Travel, Spots | December 16, 2009
This incredible small village has a huge reputation. It’s called the wind capital of Europe. The wind season here is very long. It lasts from February to November almost with no exceptions. However, if you want to enjoy water sports, don’t forget to pack up your winter wetsuit on colder months. Almost all European capital cities have direct and quite cheap flights to Malaga. Then it’s only two hours drive and you’ll reach the top south point of Europe.
On Spring 2007 Girmantas and few friends didn’t resist the temptation to visit this spot. Later that autum Aiste went there also. Still we all went there with the similar goals – to extend short Lithuanian season, look for some waves, practise and, some of us, even to try themseves in EFPT tour stop at Tarifa. Great previous experiences of our fellow wind lovers, stories about Atlantic wave and of course low price inspired us to walk this road.
We daresay that probably whenever you fly to Tarifa, you’ll meet welcoming Lithuanian team. Someone is always there. Local surf climate makes everyone alike. Skin colour, smiles and of course the well known southern constant optimistic belief that only mañana (tomorow) will be good for work and other business questions You can’t miss the exceeding number of campers. Many of them belong to the travelers who forgot to leave Tarifa long time ago. Shortly, the atmosphere is enchanting from the very first moment you enter.
Still atmosphere is not enough while looking for wind and waves. There are two main wind directions in Tarifa – the West wind, called Poniente, comes from Atlantic ocean and brings the wave. And the East wind (Levante) which is trying to get out of the Mediterranean sea through the strait of Gibraltar. Poniente is created by the movement of the huge air masses in the North Atlantic. It is usually arround 10 m/s constant wind. Yet sometimes Atlantic ocean creates storms up to 30 m/s. Levante is formed by the temperature diferences in Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean. This wind might go up to 15 m/s or even 30-40 m/s. It is also good to know that Levante is usually much more gusty, blows best and reaches its peak from 2 to 6 PM.
Girmantas had no luck with the wind and waves through all his trip. While on the first days he still had some hope that the wind will start to blow. After scoring two days out of ten, he lost it and relaxed. Tarifa had no wish to pamper windsurfers this time. Locals laughed at strangers who were desperately looking for wind and waves that spring. Still the truth must be told, one day he had a strong Ponente storm when wind meter showed 24 m/s average. Still one good day in almost a month was not satisfying result, so they were glad to have Almeria region near by.
Aiste had much more luck with the wind. Almost 70% of all vacation time was windy. She didn’t get Ponente wind at all. Thus she didn’t had an opportunity to explore the Atlantic wave. However, Levante wasn’t disappointing at all. Almost every day she tried the new spot. Tarifa region is known for great number of different spots for every direction of the wind.
With the Ponente wind windsurfing and kitesurfing is possible in all the Atlantic coast spots: Playa Chica, Los Lances, Valedevaqueros, Las Dunas, Bolonia as well as further ones Canos De Meca and El Palmar. Oh! It is very important to have in mind that almost all the spots in Tarifa village are closed in the summertime due to the increased number of tourists.
With Levante wind many Atlantic coast spots are not reccomended for kiteboarding because of the off-shore conditions. Still further to the West the wind bends and for example Canos De Meca has a great side-shore conditions with Levante. There are few spots on the Mediterranean coast (also known as Costa Del Sol) where you can expect on-shore winds with Levante. Best known are Getares, Palmones and Sotogrande.
It is important to be flexible while staying in Tarifa. If some spot was very good for one day that doesn’t mean that it’ll be the same tomorow. Waves are influenced by the tides. And locals are very friendly and knowledgable about the conditions of every spot, so if you have any question about the specifics it is always better to talk to them.
Though enchating with its magical surf atmosphere, IX century narrow old town streets, ralaxed and smiley faces, Tarifa is not always gracious for the wind hunters. Thoug this little village is spelled with capital letters in every wind atlas as a place where you can always find wind. Still while planing the trip it is necessary to double check the season statistic and current weather data as well as forecasts keeping in mind not only the wind but also the temperature and its diferences.
http://www.tarifa.net – everything about Tarifa. Probably the best ever tourism informational website. Car rentals, hotels, apartmens, entertainment and etc.
http://maps.google.com - map with the Atlantic coast spot describtions in German.
http://www.extreme-sports.lt – our trip photo gallery.
http://www.windfinder.com – wind and weather statistics.