Splish Splash,El Medano On The Crest Of Two Waves

I don’t like straight lines, they bore me, I need extremes, the downs make the ups even higher, supporting CD Tenerife certainly fits in with that outlook. Work is very like that too, sometimes it goes quiet and the stories are thin on the ground but then along comes a busy spell, last week was a little belter. The PWA World Cup of windsurfing had been penciled in my diary for a while and I planned to pop down to El Medano on Tuesday to catch the pre tournament build up, then the day before the PKRA – Professional Kite Riders Association dropped me an invite for a Tuesday morning press conference at Hotel Las Arenas, also in El Medano. The Master Cup, due from 8 to 14 August, had just leapfroged my plans.

The Titsa bus was pushing it for the 11 am gathering but after speed walking along the sea front to the 4 star hotel I arrived hot and sweaty to find they were nowhere near ready. Waiting nearly an hour for the Granadilla mayor to show up I had time to admire the Reina promotion girls and their large bowls ….of bottled beer packed in ice. The meeting was on the sun terrace where sun loungers were rapidly filling up as the sun swung out of the shadows to start grilling them, a small side opening led down onto the Playa de Los Balos where a few were taking an early dip as the JCB’s flattened and expanded the beach. After nearly an hour the mayor sneaked in, took his seat at the top table and with the three other officials rattled through the basics, at least the beer finally got popped open. Before I left I had a sneaky look around the hotel, very nice despite its car park like outer appearance, the large shells set off the smart but empty lobby and the restaurant looked nice as I pressed my nose against the glass.

Heading back to the centre of town I stopped at Playa El Cabezo, home for the windsurfing, the council were still paving the area in front of the mobile bar and up behind large vans were emptying out stacks of windsurf boards in protective covers that looked like body bags. Some surf dudes were relaxing and several more were out on the sea getting some early practice in, the keen locals were out in force in the strong wind and further to the west kiteboarders were strutting their stuff, the overlap was a wild exhilerating sporting venn diagram. A few more photos and a face full of pancake at La Boheme and I was heading back to Los Cristianos, sadly at home a schoolboy error saw me wipe my photos as I went to download them. The surf shots could be replaced and bettered but oh no those nicely posed pics of the Reina girls were also lost.

Back on Thursday for the start of the PWA World Cup and the wind had got even stronger, perfect for the surfers, the paving was finished, the railed off part of the beach was packed with boards and riders in a pits style and in small groups they dragged their boards into the sea and did 12 minutes of gravity defying action each. one of the most impressive aspects was the chilled atmosphere, no security pushing people around and families and even their dogs took vantage points up on a sandy ridge that was doused with a cooling spray evey few waves. I wandered through the pit area to the control hut to scribble down some details and several riders obligingly posed for photos, no one seemed worried that I was picking my way between boards worth around 1,500 euros each.

The action was amazing, fast, daring and acrobatic, flipping those boards and sails to hang upside down in the air for a few seconds must take great stamina. Even as riders defied the laws of gravity there were still local surfers whizzing around, well you can’t seal off part of the Atlantic. I came away with increased admiration for these talented sportsmen and women, not just for their skills but also their modest, friendly and approachable manner. For more photos and in depth report go to www.tenerifemagazine.com In mid afternoon I got an invite from the media agency handling the Peroni calendar shoot in Santa Cruz the next day – an offer I couldn’t refuse.