Water, water everywhere?
Watersports are one of the great strengths of the Canary Islands. The north-easterly trade winds that once filled the sails of galleons from Portugal, France and Spain now propel windsurfers, tug at kites, and ruffle the hair of yachtsmen, sea kayakers and surf dudes. Scuba divers and snorkellers, too, have much to enjoy: this corner of the Atlantic is rich in marine life, including dolphins, turtles and a few species of (harmless) shark.
Conditions vary immensely from coast to coast. The more exposed shores of the archipelago are buffeted by gusts and swells, which is good news for expert kitesurfers and windsurfers. Elsewhere, you’ll find sheltered bays, lagoons and marinas that are perfect for learning the ropes, with experienced operators on hand to show you how it’s done.
I’ve never tried windsurfing before
If this is your chosen activity, you’ll be well looked after. Windsurfing is huge in the Canaries, and all the most visited islands in the archipelago (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) have training centres on their east and south-east coasts. Good spots for learners are the shallow tidal lagoon at Playa de Sotavento near Costa Calma, Fuerteventura, and the calm bay at Playa de las Cucharas in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote. Both are good places to tap in to the culture of the sport, as experts also base themselves here, skipping across the calmer water in search of the gnarly stuff further out. Sotavento’s Pro Center René Egli (00 34 928 547483; rene-egli.com ) is at the centre of Fuerteventura’s watersports scene, and offers 10-hour beginners’ courses from €183. Club Nathalie Simon (00 34 928 590731; sportaway-lanzarote.com ) in Costa Teguise offers lessons from €75 for a three-hour starter session. Gran Canaria’s best windsurfing beaches include Pozo Izquierdo and Playa del Inglés, which both host trials in the PWA World Windsurfing Championships. At Pozo Izquierdo, the International Windsurfing Centre (00 34 928 121400; pozo-ciw.com ) has hostel accommodation as well as a windsurfing and dive schools. Or try Club Mistral (00 34 928 157158; club-mistral.com ) in Bahía Feliz, Gran Canaria, where two-hour beginner lessons cost €50.