Stand Up Paddle Guide to Fuerteventura by Sonni Hönscheid

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the second largest island (after Tenerife) making up the archipelago of the Canary Islands located just off the coast of Africa. Fuerteventura is the closest of the islands to the nearby continent, situated just 80km off the African coastline. A region of Spain, the Canary Islands (sometimes referred to as “Europe’s Hawaii”) offer great conditions for stand up paddle boarding and watersports all year long. The winter seasons is characterised by challenging swells, while in the summer time, the trade winds blow in from the Atlantic Ocean, which makes for great waves. As the closest of the islands to Africa, Fuerteventura both benefits and suffers from an especially dry heat. There isn’t much green to be found on the island, but there are plenty of dreamlike beaches and crystal clear waters to explore. A lesser known fact about Fuerteventura: it is home to the best goat’s cheese in the world… well, at least according to Sonni Hönscheid in any case. We get the German Starboard SUP rider’s view on just what makes Fuerteventura so special for those in search of the swell.

Barlovento Beach in Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain

Sonni Hönscheid’s link to Fuerteventura

My father was a professional windsurfer. We travelled around the world with him so that he could take part in competitions, spending most of the time of the year on Maui. At some point, he was looking for a place to train all year round, but at the beginning, much closer to home, so we lived in Sylt, Germany.

Then, when I was just 5 years old, we all moved to Fuerteventura as a family. I attended a local Spanish school, and when school was out we would spend the rest of the day playing in the water. I consider Fuerteventura to be one of my 3 homes. I learned to surf my first wave here, I first took up windsurfing here, and crucially, this is where I learned to stand up paddle. My dad taught me everything I needed to know about the ocean.

Throughout the years, the Canarian locals have always supported me and pushed me to become a better surfer. Fuerteventura is a great place for me to train. Nowadays, we live in a small beach house just 5 steps from the ocean. It’s our own little playground!

View from Corralejo Beach, Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain

Local SUP riders and SUP community

We have quite a few stand up paddle surfers here on the island, so the scene is rather rich. In addition, increasing numbers of surfers and windsurfers are getting into paddling because they like the fitness aspect of SUP. The Onexe SUP Club train groups of kids and they are putting a lot of effort into educating the youth on the ocean and its ways.

They are setting a really positive precedent and a great example for other budding paddlers to follow. They are also putting a lot of effort into promoting the sport on the island by organising all manner of inclusive events.

In the winter time, because of its unseasonably warm weather, people flock to Fuerteventura from all over Europe to spend a couple of months on the island perfecting their stand up paddle surf, paddling and training for races.

Waves crash against the shore at Corralejo Beach, the Canary Islands, Spain

Renting SUP boards and SUP gear in Fuerteventura

To be honest, as the choice is relatively limited, the best option is to bring your own gear. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have exactly what is needed, you can always contact Oxene or swing by Line Up, which is a local board rental place with a fairly decent selection.

View from Corralejo Beach, Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain

SUP schools in Fuerteventura

There are a couple of schools like Natural Sense Kitesurf and SUP School, Line Up and we have the Onexe Surf Club.

Barlovento Beach, Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain

Best SUP spots in Fuerteventura

For me, Majanicho Beach is the best SUP surf spot on the entire island, as there are not too many surfers out there and the conditions are often perfect. It’s an easy wave too, and there is a big channel to paddle out into.

Starboard rider Sonni Hönscheid practises her SUP technique aboard her Starboard All Star

Best spots to train in Fuerteventura

In order to train for beach races, I like to go to the east side of the island. A good surf spot is Punta Elena, as it is home to great waves. El Burro is a well-renowned beach when it comes to good beach starts and it also lays claim to a nice beach break.

Otherwise, you can go to Corralejo, where there are often great flatwater conditions. It’s also a great place to catch some waves or go on a few downwinds. An all-round paddling playground. Important advice if you do go paddling in Corralejo though: remember to respect the ferry crossings.

There are two ferries running regularly, and for your own safety, if you’re planning to go surfing on your raceboard, you need to remain mindful of other surfers in the water and keep a safe distance on the surf, especially if you’re inexperienced, as things can get messy out there.

A view of the beach in Lanzarote, the Canary Islands, Spain

Best downwind runs in Fuerteventura

In the summer, with the trade winds blowing to the north-northeast, Lanzarote to Fuerteventura is great for a downwind run. You can get a ride to Lanzarote on the ferry, which will set you back around €15. Then, you can paddleboard back to Fuerteventura from there. It’s about 15 km in length, so the distance itself is reasonable.

But one mustn’t forget that is an open ocean downwind, with strong currents and a big surf, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. Ideally, you should make sure you go in a group and you should try to keep an eye on each other at all times. Safety measures are of course recommended as well. Wear a bright shirt, take a phone, wear a leash, a PFD and stay out of the ferry line.

There’s another similar and very enjoyable run from Corralejo to the east side of the island. It’s quite far out, so you better make sure you have a driving partner who wants to make the trip over to get you once you’ve finished. No small feat!

View of neighbouring Lobos from Corralejo Beach, Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain

And as a tourist…

Without a shadow of a doubt, a trip to Lobos should be on the cards. It’s the little island next to Fuerteventura, located about 6km away. I personally love to paddle around the island. It’s around a 17km circumference I would say, depending on whether there’s a swell or not.

Again, it is advisable to do this in a group and to remain vigilant, with all the requisite security equipment. If you want something at a bit more of a relaxed pace, you can paddle towards the harbour in Lobos and paddle around it into the lagoon (better on mid to high tide), as it’s really beautiful there.

If you want to take a break and have lunch, you can go to one of the two restaurants on the island, and if you need some tips or advice about the different spots around the place, you are very welcome to come by our shop, North Shore, in Lajares.

For healthy food and nice smoothies, don’t forget to check out Baobab in Corralejo, and if you want to treat yourself to an ice cream, Secreto del Sur has the best ice cream in the world, as far as I’m concerned. But then, perhaps I’m biased!

Starboard SUP rider Sonni Hönscheid poses on the beach in Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands, Spain, where she resides

Photo credits: Mauro Ladu / Jürgen Hönscheid / Shutterstock

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