Windsurfers Kiss The Sky In El Medano

It was not a day for hats, and wig wearers faced instant exposure, but it was a great day for the PWA Windsurf World Tour in El Medano. As I turned into the side street leading to Playa del Cabezo the wind and sand blew towards me in a frenzy but even that was no preparation for the open beach front, big foaming waves were rolling in and the wind was being recorded at 50 knots. Out in the sea the multi coloured masts of the windsurfers were playing hide and seek with waves and launching into the air and defying gravity – what a show.

Making my way to the start area it was clear that the organisation was even better than last year, sails and boards covered the sand in a special cordoned of padddock and on the other side people were defying nature by perching in good vantage points on the bank while photographers lined up along the top below the frantically flapping flags and banners. Down at the shore contestants wrestled with their equipment as they waded out into the sea, I don’t think I could have even stood up down there let alone soar out into the undulating blue and white battlefield.

A cabin at the front of the riders padddock housed the judges and the commentator who in Spanish and English guided the large crowd of spectators through the twists and turns on the water. Clearly it had been a lively first few days , a few plastered legs and arms were testament to the dangers of this sport even if the riders did make it look serene and effortless. At the back of the entry area there were bars and stalls selling food and surf gear and up above a large marquee was home to the presentations and part of the chill out zone for the evenings parties and live music.

Despite the wild wind it was still very hot, like being roasted by a Sir Alex Ferguson half time team talk. I found a nice spot at the shoreline just the other side of the riders enclosure, blimey I might have to fight to keep my camera from blowing away, on second thoughts I might have to dig my heels in to prevent me being blown away. Several snappers were hunkered down as best they could and many more were trying to hold protective waterproofs around their lenses as the spray whipped in.The riders were amazing, to the best of my feeble knowledge they had a short time zone to record the minimum of riding 2 waves and making a jump, many exceeded that with back flips, soaring leaps, and even a few bruising crashes.

During a food break I noticed that even in the normally calmer waters back by the fishing area there were enough rolling waves for people to practice surfing, and further along the kite surfers were reaching for the sky. The PWA is the Professional Windsurfers Association, the riders can win modest prize money as the tour moves around the world, Gran Canaria was the previous stop and Fuerteventura is the next port of call. For me it was an exhilerating day full of some great sporting treats, big respect to all the competitiors these are a talented and determined bunch of men and women.